The competition had already begun, and everyone tensed up as they watched the contestants hurriedly cook.
As time passed by, the audience continued to discuss and observe the competitors.
"Heavens look at those knife cutting skills.... Senior Vegara is amazing"
"Just looking at senior Winston cook, makes me hungry"
"What kind of smell is this?... why is it so fragrant?... looking at them cook, has made me realise how far back my cooking skills are"
"Look!!!.. she's already placing her dessert in the kiln."
"Senior Yorick is extremely fast and well... just look at the way he's beating the eggs."
Dominic saw the signal from Landon, and knew that it was finally time to stop the contestants.
Time for the judges to give their reviews.
Up first was contestant Milton.
He placed his dishes on a metal wheeled trolley, and brought them closer to the judges.
Once he had placed all the dishes on their table, he immediately stood a little distance in front of them and waited nervously for their comments.
The judges had their own metal megaphones, so they began their assessments.
"Before we the judges eat, let's talk about your plate presentation and appearance.
The theme of the meal was, adventure.. And your dish screams hunting in the Forest... Am I correct?" Chef Benita asked
The place was dead silent.
The audience held their breaths as they listened to the judges...
'So far so good', they thought.
The judges on the panel smiled.
"And what would you call this dish?" Landon asked
"A hunter's victory" Milton said anxiously.
"It certainly does look like forest.
The rice was sculpted like a mountain and placed at the upper most corner of the plate.. I can also see that you added a yellow colored sauce around the mountains top as well." Landon said.
"Around your mountain of rice, you mixed that same sauce with your meat, and placed at the doorstep of the mountain... I'm guessing that this signifies the ground itself..." Chief Lyore commented.
"Your leafy vegetables were then placed between each meat stack, creating the illusion of trees." Chef Blake said.
"And finally, you rolled your brown fried eggs, cut them into several pieces and stationed them at different points on your plate.. which made them seem like large rocks or logs of wood placed around the forest." Chef Benita added as she used her fork to poke the eggs.
"And for your dessert, I see that you also neatly placed star shaped cakes on a different plate... which probably signifies the stars at night..
So your adventure happens at night time... interesting....." Landon said.
"And finally for your appetizer, I'm guessing the fish sticks in the sauce signified a water body and life somewhere in your forest" Chief Lyore concluded.
Everyone in the audience couldn't help but give 2 thumbs up to Milton... He had done so much preparation, and showed off his skills as a chef.
He was telling his own adventure story through his cooking.
Now, it was time for the judges to eat the meal.
As the judges ate, they all had different looks on their faces.
The audience couldn't help themselves from guessing what the final outcome would be.
"Do you think chef Blake is impressed?"
"Look!!!...Chef Benita is still continuing to eat the fish sticks."
The judges looked at each other and finally decided to give their review.
The audience quieted down and the air was filled with anxiety.
The people felt like they couldn't breathe.
"For your meat, you cut them up into rectangular pieces, spiced them up, covered the outer surfaces with flour and eggs, and later fried them..... making the exterior of the meat crispy, and the interior juicy and tender....It has great taste.." Chef Benita said.
'Meat could be cooked this way?', the people thought.
The people eased up when they heard the review.
The other judges went on to give their own comments as well.
"I can tell that the sauce that you made was made of milk, butter, salt, eggs and pepper.
The butter was heated up and mixed into the milk to make heavy cream... Then you added all the other ingredients, as well as curry to make the sauce look yellowish."
"Your vegetable pieces were fried and coated with spices, which also made them firm and crispy... And your cakes were soft and sweet as well"
As the judges kept giving positive reviews, everyone thought that Milton had done a marvelous job... But the next comments made them realise that life was really too unpredictable.
"Separately..... your dessert, entree and appetizers were Fantastic.. they were really great.... but together..... they were utter TRASH!!" Chef Blake commented.
Everyone gasped for air, as they heard what was said.
What was this situation?.... Did they just hear it right?
How brutal!!!.... but also somehow entertaining to watch.
Milton on the other hand, felt like someone had poured cold water on him.
"When I ate your appetizer, entree and dessert together, I felt like I was at the jungle loosing a fight against a wild boar." Chief Lyore said.
"I agree..... It feels like I'm being torn into shreds by dangerous animals." Landon added.
"Your meal's name is a 'Hunter's Victory Day'.... but it feels like a 'Hunter's Death Day..." Chef Benita stated.
The other contestants couldn't help but sweat as they looked at their own dishes in front of them.
They had completely lost their confidence as they listened to the judges.
Was it possible for them to have a do-over?
"The peppery taste on your food, clashes with your overly sweet cakes.... The combination is just awful."
"Also, the milk you had us drink as a beverage, didn't enhance the taste of your dish at all... Instead, drastically destroyed it."
After the judges had pinpointed all his errors, they ended their remarks with encouragement.
"But I must say, you've got what it takes to be a master chef."
"All you need is more time, experience and practice..... Never give up!!"
"Nothing in life comes easy.... .. Take all the criticisms we give you today, work on your skills and make us proud."
"Contestant Milton..... I await the day that you cook alongside me as a 3 star chef!!!"
Tears flowed from Milton's eyes as he heard the last comments.
The audience got emotional as well.
"We believe in you senior Milton"
"Never give up!!"
"That's right... all you need is time and experience.."
"Your way better than me in cooking senior Milton"
Milton truly felt touched as he listened to the crowd.
The competition went on with the audience hanging on a tiny thread of life again.
Their emotions were all over the place because of the judges.
Once the judges were done with their assessment, they awarded points to all the contestants.
For this part of the competition, Yorick came first, Vegara was second and Milton was third... of course there were 5 other contestants behind Milton as well.
Now it was time for stage 2 of the contest.
The audience quickly came down to eat their fill, as they themselves were hungry from watching all these juicy meals being prepared.
With 20 Sous-chefs helping each contestant, the dishes were served very fast to the citizens.
And finally by the end of the competition, the plates were gathered and counted.
Surprisingly, every contestant still had the same rank as before.
Which meant that the audience still found Yorick's food to be the tastiest, followed by Vegara and then Milton.
Of course Landon gave a closing speech for the event, and awarded the winners with their rewards.
With this, the competition had come to an end.
"Daddy..Daddy, you won"
Milton turned around and looked at his wife, his 9 year old son and his 6 year old daughter running towards him.
They immediately hugged him as they felt immensely proud of him.
"I can't believe that Chef Benita would be teaching you for 2 weeks.... hahaha... I'm so happy....Wahhh!!... look at all the money in the bag" his wife jumped about happily.
Milton smiled as he looked at his family.
Today had truly shown him that his road to being a chef wasn't going to be easy...but there was no way in hell that he would give up without a fight.
Just as the judges had said, he needed to properly hone his skills in order to advance in the culinary world.
He needed to do this for his family, and for his future.
He had already swore that he would do his best and get Chef Blake and Benita's recognition.
His new dream was not to be a 3 star chef like them, but to be a 5 star one.
--Knighhood Academy, Capital of Arcadina--
A young gentleman sat on a chair in his dorm room, with his personal guard standing beside him.
Suddenly, his window opened and someone in a cloak jumped in.
"No young master"
"Yes young master"
And just like that, the cloaked person had left, as quickly as he had arrived.
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Marder Shannon's personal guard was worried as well.
"Young master Marder... What do we do about lord Shannon's disappearance?"