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644 Impossible Deboning

 While Yuan Zhou began to prepare the dish, the discussion also started at the other side.

The reporters consisted of on-site reporters and off-site reporters. The former one had invitation cards and they could go into the meeting place. Under the condition that they didn't affect the contestants, they could stay close and film the exchange meeting. There were five reporters from China and five from Japan as well as one from South Korea and Thailand, respectively. Frankly speaking, there weren't many on-site reporters.

Most of them waited for the news outside the meeting place; therefore, there were actually more people outside. Almost every domestic gourmet magazines had sent people there.

As for whose news they were waiting for, it depended on their own source of information.

"Old Li, look how happy you are. Did you receive some new information?"

Old Xu and Old Li were old acquaintances. They worked for different newspaper offices, but both newspaper offices were located in Chengdu. They often received the very same information. After all, the gourmet circle was neither small nor big.

Therefore, they had many chances to meet each other. Plus they shared the same taste and could be considered to be good friends.

As soon as he heard Old Xu, Old Li instantly gave a start. He immediately drooped his head and shook it hurriedly, "No, no. I just read a funny story."

A funny story? Even ghosts wouldn't believe these kinds of lies.

"Old Li, considering our relationship, whoever refuses to share will end up in illness," Old Xu touched Old Li's shoulder and said viciously.

Just when they were disputing, another news came from the reporters in the meeting place that a young chef called Yuan Zhou was going to challenge Tengyuan.

"That's too much. The Japanese side went so far as to invite this old guy here again. His taste buds are so sensitive that he's only a little better than those who pick at faults that do not exist." The middle-aged reporter muttered angrily by the side. He had been paying close attention to the Sino-Japan exchange meeting and hence knew something about Tengyuan's comments in the previous two exchange meetings.

"I think he deserves to be left there and isolated."

"Newborn calves are not afraid of tigers, but Tengyuan is a hungry tiger that eats humans without even spitting out the bones."

"The chef that can attend the exchange meeting on behalf of our country definitely has some real skills. I wish he won't be struck too badly."

None of the reporters had a good impression of Tengyuan. That was reasonable. Someone with such a poisonous tongue while acting like there was nobody respectable left in the gourmet circle really deserved a beating. But anyway, one could also infer from these reporters that Tengyuan was really a tough guy and he almost became the nightmare in people's eyes.

"What if Chef Yuan wins?"

Suddenly, disagreeing words interrupted the conversation. They raised their head and found it was Old Li.

Old Li was from Chengdu and had been to Yuan Zhou's restaurant once. A serving of Clear Broth Noodle Soup directly left a strong impression. Old Xu also added to that. Though he hadn't been there before, he heard from the chief editor of his newspaper office just how delicious the dishes were in that restaurant from time to time.

He added, "I think you guys definitely aren't clear about how Chef Yuan's craftsmanship is and thus can say so."

Immediately, a full-beard reporter answered, "I know about Chef Yuan Zhou. Didn't he attend the Folk Talent, a TV program about chefs among the people, before? He is quite famous in Chengdu and even in Sichuan province. However, I don't think you guys know much about that old guy, Tengyuan."

"That Tengyuan is a freak!"

In this Sino-Japan exchange meeting, Chu Xiao was originally the focus that these reporters pursued. After all, he was the youngest Michelin Three Star Chef ever and could arouse people's great curiosity.

However, Dashi Xiujie called in Tengyuan and went head-to-head with Yuan Zhou. Furthermore, neither parties gave way to each other.

As a result, the attention was mostly diverted to Yuan Zhou in this exchange meeting.

No matter if they were reporters or the guests invited.

If Yuan Zhou knew about this, he would have definitely boasted that the radiance of a prince charming could never be concealed. But now, he didn't show off too much as he was going to cook at once.

When he was cooking, he was absolutely focused on it.

Some of the ingredients prepared by the exchange meeting were kept in the preservation tank below the azure stone countertop while some others were left in the large preservation tank in the center of the circle.

This time, what Yuan Zhou opened was the preservation tank below his countertop. He straightforwardly took out a small aquarium inside with the oxygen still bubbling up.

Two fish, that slightly glowed with the silver light, were swimming quickly in the aquarium.

"It seems that Chef Yuan prepares to cook the Japanese grenadier anchovies, one of four most famous fishes from the Yangtze River." Tengyuan neither sounded contemptuous nor appeared expectant.

"Jiayuan, what does that mean?" Dashi Xiujie had a way with words, thus he began to ask.

"The fish is also known as coilia ectenes Jordan or Coilia nasus. The shape is rather flat and is as long and narrow as a knife, thus it's named so. The fish tastes fresh and delicious, but has lots of tiny fish bones. There're fish bones in almost every piece of the meat. And I don't like the fish with lots of tiny fish bones," said Tengyuan smilingly.

When he said he didn't like the fish, he didn't try to conceal his attitude. He was quite frank and he didn't look forward to what Yuan Zhou was cooking, either.

"Well, that's terrible. This fish isn't an eel where all the fish bones can be removed. Even if it's the eel, one has to practice for at least 8 years if he wants to remove all the fish bones at a time successfully," Dashi Xiujie said that in a loud voice, not knowing whether it was intentionally or unintentionally.

Nonetheless, Yuan Zhou just turned a deaf ear to that. He opened the aquarium and picked up a small scoop net before scooping the two fish out neatly and quickly.

After a sound of "Dong Dong", the fish lost consciousness due to Yuan Zhou's skills. Then, he put them on the chopping board.

"The fish are really small and exquisite," Dashi Xiujie couldn't help muttering.

"Dashi, the coilia ectenes are normally 18cm to 25cm long and weigh about 10g to 20g. Yet, these two fish in total weigh about 350g. They are not small." Tengyuan corrected Dashi Xiujie this time.

"You really have sharp eyes," When Yuan Zhou washed his hands, he suddenly said to Tengyuan in a complimentary tone.

"Ho Ho. That's for sure. This old man has nothing but sharp eyes. I just haven't figured out how you are going to process the fishbones," Tengyuan almost laughed out due to the compliments from a young man. He immediately pointed at the fish and asked with a fake smile.

"Just wait to eat it." Yuan Zhou's confident and affirmative voice came clearly from the face mask.

"Okay. I'll wait and see." Tengyuan didn't believe that Yuan Zhou could remove the fishbones at all.

Moreover, steaming was the cooking method that could best retain the freshness of the fish because due to the characteristics of the Japanese grenadier anchovy. Any other cooking method would give people a feeling of having the order reversed.

In this regard, almost all chefs would know about that as long as their craftsmanship wasn't too bad. Therefore, Tengyuan was quite sure that Yuan Zhou didn't have the method to remove all the fish bones, yet keep the fish intact before steaming it.

After Yuan Zhou washed his hands, he took out the steaming pot and began to prepare.

"As expected, he is prepared to steam the fish." Tengyuan appeared quite positive.

Having placed the steaming pot on the gas furnace, Yuan Zhou started to process the fish on the chopping board. At that time, the Japanese grenadier anchovies also regained consciousness.

"Shua", Yuan Zhou took out a sharp knife, which was long and narrow, glittering with a dazzling cold light. The blade looked quite sharp.

Yuan Zhou took the knife in his right hand and picked up the head of a fish with two fingers of his left hand. He made the fish stand up right in front of the water tap.

"Chi". Yuan Zhou rubbed the fish belly gently with the knife. Then, it was opened like the lotus flowers blossoming. After a slight movement with the knife edge, the internal organs were removed from the fish belly and the fish was cleaned.

"The actions are quite fancy." Looking at Yuan Zhou's knife techniques, Tengyuan wasn't really surprised.

The next moment, however, he was so surprised that his eyes opened wide.

Because Yuan Zhou directly put the knifepoint into the fish flesh. It was what one would usually do when one prepared to take out the entire fish bone.

"How is that possibly? The fish weighs no more than 150 grams. The fish flesh is too thin to be deboned, not to mention for those soft fish bones," Tengyuan said in disbelief instantly.

Just because Tengyuan knew culinary skills too well, he thought that Yuan Zhou was absolutely unable to take out the entire fish bone successfully.

The fish was small.

The fish bone was soft.

And there were many tiny fish bones.

There was definitely no way for him to succeed.

...