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379 There is Always Someone Better

 "I'm speaking the truth." Looking at Chu Xiao, Yuan Zhou frowned and said earnestly.

"Ho Ho." Without saying anything, Chu Xiao just humphed.

"Please judge it now." Yuan Zhou then left aside Chu Xiao and reminded the chairman faintly.

"Haw-haw-haw. Master Chu, you are wrong this time." The chairman of China Chef's Alliance stroked his beard and said happily.

In his opinion, Chu Xiao was way too conceited. It wouldn't be a bad thing for him to lose once. Therefore, he declared quite cleanly.

"It's really Sanyi Tribute Rice?" Chu Xiao raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Yes, it is. In order to get the rice from the original source area by Eya Lake, we had to negotiate with the old guys from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences for really a long time." The chairman appeared rather complacent while speaking of that.

"It's indeed from the original source area, but it's merely from the fringe of the Wanmu field. The color of the rice from this area is different." Yuan Zhou said earnestly while pointing at some rice particles in the middle of the container.

"These crafty old scoundrels." The chairman ran off the stage quickly.

"Look." Yuan Zhou pointed at the rice particles carefully and said.

The chairman wasn't dim-sighted from old age yet. After he observed carefully, he found that the color was really different. Then, the chairman got very angry. He gnashed his teeth and muttered, "Humph! Don't ever think of eating my dishes next time."

Yuan Zhou, that had a sharp hearing, didn't say anything, but just looked at the hands of the chairman. It was by then that he found the chairman's hands were solid and strong, different from that of the former royal chef whose hands were constantly trembling.

"He can at least showcase 70% of his craftsmanship at the moment." Yuan Zhou evaluated and then judged inwardly.

"You are doing really well." Watching the chairman make the judgement, Chu Xiao shrugged and said to Yuan Zhou.

"Thank you." Yuan Zhou nodded his head and received the compliments.

"You might not have such luck in the following procedures." Chu Xiao said confidently.

"Yes. Who knows about the luck?" Yuan Zhou nodded his head, indicating that he agreed to Chu Xiao.

Immediately, an invisible scent of gunpowder appeared around the two of them.

"Identification of the third precious ingredient begins now." This time, it was the Precious Ingredient Research PhD that declared.

The old chairman was still angry.

It was known that the yield of the Sanyi Tribute Rice was very low and hence people from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences only used it for planting research rather than selling it to others. Only very few were to be provided to some special people.

The chairman used much of his prestige and even cooked personally for them in exchange for the single glass container of the rice. Never had he expected that it wasn't the top-quality rice particles from the central of the field. How could he not be angry?

"This way, please. The precious food ingredients are over here." The serving girl came up and led them to a pillar at a corner of the banquet hall.

"It's a living creature this time. Please don't get too close to it to prevent it from being irritated." The serving girl reminded them warmly as usual.

If not for the serving girl saying that, no one would have really noticed there was something inside the pillar.

"Open it." Regardless of the reminder, Chu Xiao said. He was quite curious about what it was.

"One moment, please." After saying that, the ritual girl removed the cover slowly.

After a sound of "Hua", the serving girl removed the deep-color soft drape lightly.

"Oh, my god! Not bad. How do you manage to get this carp, especially one that is in the infant stage? If you want somebody to cook it, it must be me." Once Chu Xiao saw the fish, he immediately said that.

He walked around the water vat and looked at it again and again, appearing quite excited.

"Carp?" Yuan Zhou muttered with a low voice. Almost at the same time, he thought of the carp from the legend.

It was rumored that a tough Hezhe man hunted a very weird large fish in the reign of Qianlong . At that time, no one had ever seen such a large fish and all felt very surprised.

By convention, any precious goods found by the folk must be sent to the capital and dedicated to the emperor. Therefore, this "big monster" was sent to the capital from Heilongjiang Province by the local fishermen without any modern transportation, going through difficulties. None of the civil and military officials could name the big fish.

After all, none had seen it before. However, they judged it to be non-toxic according to test result and moreover was a superb delicacy. Then, the imperial kitchen cooked a plate of delicious fish meat right away and sent to Emperor Qianlong to taste. He tasted a little bit and then became so pleased that he immediately made a poem.

Instantly, a minister complimented him and pleaded the emperor to name it. Having thought for a while, Emperor Qianlong said, "Since it's the biggest freshwater fish found so far, it can be regarded as the king of fishes. From now on, it must be sent to the palace every year as the royal tribute. Now that it's the tribute for the imperial family, I name it as Beluga (a homophonic name of King's Fish)."

While Yuan Zhou was thinking of the rumor, the Precious Ingredient Research PhD pushed his glasses upward and said.

"It is borrowed and not to be used for eating." Even when he said it was borrowed, the PhD revealed an expression of pride alike to what the chairman showed when speaking of Sanyi Tribute Rice.

"Not for eating? Then what's the use of it? I have only cooked it once. It's really very rare." Chu Xiao frowned.

"Of course not. This is a genuine one from the wild and has just been found." The Precious Ingredient Research PhD said seriously with his eyes widely open.

"The wild ones are more precious. We really can't take some meat from it to cook, can we? Just a little piece is enough." Chu Xiao looked at the Beluga in the water tank with a fervent gaze.

"I know there's progress in cultivating the Beluga nowadays. And I think we can eat only a little bit of its meat." Chu Xiao brought out the latest information that he had mastered.

"No, never. Tell us the answer quickly." The Precious Ingredient Research PhD refused flatly and said seriously.

"Got it." Chu Xiao stared at the Beluga swimming leisurely in the water tank while he was saying that.

The Beluga looked to be about 15 or 20 kgs and was indeed in the infant period. The body surface of the fish was basically all black; its head was triangular and its mouth was long and sharp; the flesh at both sides of its mouth was a little bulging, which accidentally gave a cute feeling.

"Hua La", the Beluga swam to the side and then revealed its yellow side body and the ash grey fatty belly. It seemed to have eaten a lot.

"As it likes living where the water flow is slow, like the middle layer and intersections of a river or at the gravel water bottom where the water flow is fast and there is a whirlpool, its flesh is incomparably delicious and it also has the characteristic fresh and fragrant scent of fishes. Therefore, it's suitable for various cooking methods." When Chu Xiao spoke of the cooking method at the latter part, he almost wanted to scoop up the Beluga and start to cook it immediately.

This time, Yuan Zhou didn't say anything as he was indeed unfamiliar with the fish. Even if the system had supplemented more detailed information of the Beluga, he didn't mention anything. The increase in his craftsmanship also increased his confidence, therefore Yuan Zhou didn't think he would lose.

"Yes, you are right." The three judges nodded their head with one accord and affirmed Chu Xiao's explanation.

"Then let's continue."

The contest of the precious food ingredients was only one day. Therefore, there would be no time for breaks except for lunch. Right after that, the contest commenced again.

Master Fang was taking notes at the side while looking at the ingredients.

The diversified precious ingredients were carried to the stage one after another. During the process, Yuan Zhou and Chu Xiao competed heatedly while the masters and audiences off the stage watched happily.

It was also a torture. Every time an ingredient was carried to them, the two superb chefs started to describe the taste and appropriate cooking method, which made everybody off the stage feel hungry.

Fortunately, the contest finally ended.

"Now, let us declare the results. Shortly afterwards, the winner will be responsible for cooking these edible precious ingredients." The chairman stood up and said directly without any paper in his hand.

"This time, the ingredients will be cooked by Master Yuan." Luckily, the chairman didn't have the habit of letting people guess about. He straightforwardly announced the results.

Chu Xiao took a step forward aggressively and asked instantly even before Tang Xi, who was watching the contest off the stage, applauded.

"Sorry, but we have the same score. How could he win?" While speaking, Chu Xiao pointed at Yuan Zhou immodestly.

Nevertheless, Yuan Zhou just looked at Chu Xiao solemnly and said earnestly, "Please admit the defeat candidly."

The atmosphere immediately froze. Chu Xiao was definitely reluctant to admit defeat...