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Chapter 1: Tōtsuki Culinary Academy
Even when Liu Maoxing was standing right outside the entrance to city-like “Tōtsuki Academy”, he was still feeling numb in his heart….
With both hands, he slapped both sides of his face as a way to drum up his courage and dispel any more of his remaining doubts!
Liu Maoxing. Male. Fifteen years old. Aside from his counterpart’s title of “Cooking Master Boy of China” or “Best in China”, this fifteen year old only knew how to cook instant noodles!
Just yesterday for some strange reason, Liu Maoxing had been transported to a parallel world that placed an even higher importance on cooking than his previous world. In this world, even the government officials were VIP participants. The vast majority of the working middle class were gluttons for good food. All they knew was how to eat, and eating was amongst one of the only glorious things in life.
As a fifteen year old, Liu Maoxing had absolutely no survival skills whatsoever. The only saving grace he had was perhaps due to the name he had, he was given a special system–“Chuuka Ichiban”!
With the “Chuuka Ichiban”, he had been given knowledge of all the recipes from the manga and anime. As long as he had a sufficient level of cooking, then he would be able to perfectly recreate each and every recipe from it!
….But even that didn’t mean squat. As of right now, Liu Maoxing’s skill at cooking was limited to three simple steps: “Boil the water–rip open the seasoning packet–and pour the water.”
As the recipe system was right now, it was completely useless for Liu Maoxing. But becoming better at cooking was rather “simple”–there were only two ways to going about it.
One of the ways to improve his cooking skill was to taste the cooking of a superior chef. Not only would it elevate his cooking skill, Liu Maoxing would be able to duplicate the dish after just trying it even once. Another bonus was that he could even find the flaws that might occur due to human error while cooking. Why–this was practically living a life with the Sharingan in tongue form!
The second was “practice”. If he learned how to cook the recipes by himself, the Liu Maoxing would become better at cooking with time.
So in the eyes of Liu Maoxing, Tōtsuki Academy was a treasure ground that he could not give up at any costs.
When he had been transported, Liu Maoxing had been given a letter of recommendation from the “Chuuka Ichiban” restaurant, allowing him to participate in the Tōtsuki entrance exams….
But still, even with everything said so far, Liu Maoxing essentially didn’t have a chance. After all, he couldn’t just simply show off this “ultimate skill” of instant noodles could he?
What Liu Maoxing was looking forward to most was his very own “Single-use Recipe” that he could use for battle! It should at the very least help him pass the entrance exam….
This “Single-use Recipe” contained the recipes from “Chuuka Ichiban” and would give Liu Maoxing a fighting chance at this!
When activated, Liu Maoxing would have the cooking skill equivalent to a “One-star Chef” to a “Five-star Chef” in cooking. However, when he activated this skill, he would only be able to use the recipes he had stored. If he tried to attempt any other type of dish or perhaps add more to it, it would have a very high chance of failure. Furthermore, he could only use each recipe once!
Activating the recipe skill would most frequently give him the ability to have the skill of a one star or two star chef. Being given the ability of a four or five star chef would very rare.
Liu Maoxing had complete confidence however. As long as the topic for the entrance exam was suitable for one of his recipes, even a one star cooking ability would be more than enough to pass!
There was definitely room for concern however. This world in comparison was different than the world of “Chuuka Ichiban”. Tōtsuki Academy had a single philosophy in cooking that combines the cuisine of every nation in the world, Italian, German, French, Asian….all sorts of recipes from all over the world were blended into one in this one academy!
For the sake of mastering his specialty cuisine, he would incorporate the techniques of the different areas and improve himself. There were plenty of rivers in the world, but they all returned to the same sea in the end….
With the “Chuuka Ichiban” system, four thousand years of Chinese cuisine would be crystallized into the system for him to use. Roughly 80% of them were of Chinese recipes while the remaining 20% were Japanese influenced. The other foreign cuisines from the west were as good as unknown to him though!
So in other words, if the entrance exam were to test him in western cuisine, Liu Maoxing may as well kneel his head in defeat!
There was no leeway of defeat for Liu Maoxing though. The only way to survive in this world for him was to be a first-rate cooking master or a powerful figure in the world of cooking.
Liu Maoxing had also inherited the “Enhanced God’s Tongue” at the cost of a side effect-if he could not satisfy his tongue, then his body would use his cells as a substitute. Not only would his body decrease in strength, his lifespan would decrease as well!
Of course, there are always two sides to a coin. If Liu Maoxing could satisfy his “Enhanced God’s Tongue”, then not only could he improve his body, he could also increase his lifespan….
If Liu Maoxing could become an important figure on top of the cooking world, then he would be able to satisfy this goal of being an ‘old glutton’.
But of course, for this fifteen year old with no end-game skills, giving up the “Chuuka Ichiban” system would make this novel a City Life Bureaucrat novel. And that would not be a very wise choice.
So standing outside the doors to Tōtsuki Academy, Liu Maoxing began to calm himself down. Ignoring the flabbergasted expressions of all the other hopeful students, Liu Maoxing walked straight for one of the inspection windows!
It had been no wonder everyone was astonished when they saw a student like this Liu Maoxing. Everyone here were all dropped off by limousines. For those who didn’t have these grand looking cars, they could only park far away….
And for the other student applicants, they had all bodyguards and butlers on hand to protect themselves like a shadow.
Each one of these people were after all the successors of some major celebrity in the cooking world; they were people who could survive in this world even on the sidelines. In this world where cooking reigned supreme, even the spoiled brats knew how to cook!
No matter one’s status though, as soon as they entered the school, they were all ordinary students. So even now at the gates, the inspector had not seen Liu Maoxing as anyone different other than from the clothes he wore.
But what the inspector had looked at Liu Maoxing weirdly for was the fact that Liu Maoxing’s resume had been far too simple. He had only the letter of recommendation from “Chuuka Ichiban” and a piece of paper that said his specialization was in “Chinese cuisine”. All of his other experiences and career information were left completely blank!
If not for the fact that the machine he had on hand said that this piece of paper was completely authentic, then the inspector would have figured that this applicant had forged his application….
An application this lack-luster shouldn’t by rights even get across the beginning screening process!
This may have been the testing ground for all of the student hopefuls, Liu Maoxing had felt that he was of a completely different make from the others.
Aside from the young heirs and heiresses standing around at the plaza, there were also plenty of uniform-wearing students. But the vast majority of them looked rather dispirited.
“Eh?” Liu Maoxing had seen the Shokugeki no Soma before, but it had not left a deep impression on him and so this sight had surprised him.
“Hey, are you taking the exams as well? What are you confused about?” A rather nice-looking boy his age suddenly spoke out to Liu Maoxing first.
“I do….those people over there look like students, so what are they doing here?” Liu Maoxing asked.
“Not only is today the entrance exams for Tōtsuki Academy, it is also the day for when the middle division of Tōtsuki Academy learn whether or not they advance onto the next stage…But if we’re talking about that exam, then it’s possible that out of these hundred students, not a single one of them passed and will have to say goodbye to “Tōtsuki”.
I’m Nikaidō Yoshiaki. My family owns a French Restaurant, and you?”
Liu Maoxing had felt rather unwell at this fake smile of Nikaidō Yoshiaki, but nonetheless, he had replied, “I’m Liu Maoxing from….from “Chuuka Ichiban”, I’m probably not going to be the successor.”
“Liu Maoxing? Chuuka Ichiban….is that a Chinese restaurant?” Nikaidō asked.
Liu Maoxing had used his cellphone to check before, there had never been a restuarant called “Chuuka Ichiban” before!
With a vague wave of his hand, Liu Maoxing replied, “Yea, two hundred years ago it was a golden business, but it never made contact with the outside cooking world for two hundred years and fell into decline. That’s probably why you haven’t heard of it.”
Nikaidō had not looked down at Liu Maoxing for this. Chinese cuisine had several thousand years of history, and when he heard that “Chuuka Ichiban” was over a hundred years old but declined due to not catching up with the modern era of fusion cuisine, Nikaidō had figured there was probably a little more to that and was probably a secret.
“My family’s restaurant would often times call for master chefs from China as well to compare notes and perfect our skills. Communication is very important; if you have the time, then please come by to my restaurant for a visit.” Nikaidō handed Liu Maoxing a business card.
As Liu Maoxing took the business card with some embarrassment, a broadcast was suddenly voice all over the plaza, “Participating applicants, you have three minutes to gather at the exam hall….”
“Three minutes? What a delayed announcement!” Liu Maoxing immediately scrambled to run into the grounds so that he could make it in time.
“That too is Tōtsuki’s style!” Nikaidō started to run with him while unrealizing Liu Maoxing’s earlier embarrassment.
Arriving at the exam hall, the two of them had seen several hundred student applicants gathered around, causing Liu Maoxing’s heart to start beating even faster….
With Tōtsuki’s name in the culinary world, it was only natural that there would be several hundred people. Without that strict screening process they had, then the amount of possible applicants would have been more than enough to fill the ocean!
Standing at the far back, Liu Maoxing could just barely make out the fact that the examiner was just about his age. Her hair was a heavy blonde color and her back was held straight, giving her the appeal of being a woman that was ‘a feast for the eyes’….
Correct. Liu Maoxing really did think that this woman was not a female teacher playing at being young since she was wearing the clothes that only a student would wear!
“Crap, it’s her?!”
“I heard my brother say that she is the only first year to make it into the ‘Tōtsuki’s Elite Ten’, but I didn’t think she’d….”
“She’s going to be the one conducting our entrance exam? In the case that she brands you as someone without talent….”
Each and every single one of the applicants there had clearly recognized the woman in front of her and began to talk to one another in worry.
At this moment, a rather modest looking girl with pink hair appeared by the side of the blonde–she was most likely the assistant. “Quiet! We will now begin the examination. Firstly, according on your registration number, you will separate into groups of ten for an interview. Based off the applications, you will then…”
For the previously unconcerned Liu Maoxing, sweat began to flow straight away–an interview based off their applications? His own application was practically empty!
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