The emperor has a special feeling for Yan Langqing. He naturally treats her better than others. But even so, he can’t be against his conscience to say that the zongzi made by Yan Langqing is better than the zongzi cooked by Lin Dan. The results of the competition have already been clear. What he says now will not work, so he just follows the preference of his stomach.
Considering this, he puts down his chopsticks and says slowly, "Lin Dan, you are the winner."
The words are just finished; there is a crunchy sound in the room. It turns out that Yan Langqing loses her chopsticks on the ground. Everyone looks at her, and sees her eyes are red, her face is pale, her hands and feet tremble slightly, as if she is overwhelmed. Her father Yan Shouye stares straight at Lin Dan, with his face full of unwillingness and resentment.
Lin Dan bows down and has no change on her expression. "Then, Chef Yan, please to fulfill the betting agreement and return the golden knife and the recipe book."
Yan Langqing opens her mouth with difficulty, as if she wants to speak. Yan Shouye has already been flustered and he shouts, "No, these are my dad's stuff. They belong to our Yans. Why should we give them to you?"
"The master of my father passed them on to my father before he died, so they belong to my father. When you wanted them back from me, you relied on your own cooking skills. Now I want them back, I also rely on my own skills. There is nothing wrong, right? "
Yan Shouye also wants to argue, but the emperor has frowned and showed displeasure. Yan Langqing immediately presses on his father's shoulder and says hoarsely, "I've brought everything and I'll give them to you." She brought the stuff just to show her magnanimity, but she doesn't expect to lose to Lin Dan. However, the people have decided that she is the loser, and the emperor himself has admitted it. What can she do even if she is unwilling to admit?
Lin Dan puts the golden knife aside and opens the Yans’ recipe book to look at it. Her brows rise in surprise. This recipe book has been split into two parts by Yan Langqing. Lin Dan is given back the second half of it written by Lin Putin, and the first half should have only 60 pages left. But now, this recipe book is thicker than before it was split. It can be seen that Yan Langqing has striven for progress with determination and has developed many new dishes over the years, adding new brilliance to Yans’ recipes.
However, the more she looks at it the closer her brows are brought together. In the end, Lin Dan sneers. She tears off one of the pages and hands it to a chef who comes to watch the competition. She says, "I remember that this Braised Deer Tendon is developed by Chef Liu and is now returned to its original owner. This Stewed Fish is owned by Chef Fang and now I return it to you..." She tears off many recipes one after another and returns them to the original owners.
These people look at Yan Langqing and then at the emperor. They can’t decide to accept it or not.
The emperor is confused. He doesn’t know what trick Lin Dan is playing. Lord Cheng sneers, "Your Majesty, for your information, Chef Yan is such a domineering cook who can't make good food to please you. So she goes to the folk to rob others of their food recipes. She has also forbidden the owners to sell the dishes to others, saying that the dishes can only be eaten by Your Majesty; it is a lack of respect for Your Majesty if others eat. If this is the case, Your Majesty, please make a list of dishes and let your ministers avoid eating them, so that we will not make big mistakes! "
Lord Gong pretends to be dismayed and spreads his hands, "If so, wouldn't the ministers and others starve to death? If the emperor eats meat, we can’t eat it. If the emperor drinks water, can we not drink it? "
Lord Cheng hurriedly comforts, "Rest assured, you will not starve to death, you can eat at the Yans’ Restaurant if you are hungry. The food eaten by His Majesty is not allowed to be sold elsewhere, but the Yans’ Restaurant can sell. Others fear imperial power, but the Yan family is not afraid. The family is backed by Chef Yan."
The two lords, echo each other, reveal the Yan family's secret means of attacking their peers and charge them with encroaching on the imperial power. Yan Shouye is shocked and looks pale. Yan Langqing looks at her father incredulously and cries out, "Dad, what is going on?" After that, she immediately kneels down and pleads with the emperor, "Your Majesty, I have never said such a thing. I am also deceived. Please forgive me!"
The emperor looks at her with his depressed eyes, and his eyes always glowing with soft light are now extremely cold. Yan Langqing looks up and looks at him, her heart beating violently. She has lived in the palace for a long time and doesn't often go home. She never expects her family to be so domineering. She just wants to learn a few more dishes, and sincerely help the folk cooks, but instead she hurts them. It is no wonder that those chefs invited today have stiff expressions when they see her, as if they dare to anger but dare not show it, and they are quite disdainful of her.
However, she has no control over what others think of her. She only worries that the emperor will be dissatisfied with her. Tang Jiu was disgusted with her as early as ten years ago. Now she has lost the golden knife, the recipe book, the reputation and the trust of the people. She can no longer lose the favor of the emperor. If there is no emperor, after today, she Yan Langqing is nothing.
Yan Shouye is too scared to say a word. He just kowtows behind his daughter. When he swaggered before others and suppressed his peers, did he ever think that he would have an end like this today?
Lin Dan removes all the recipes that the Yan family has robbed and puts them aside to return them to their original owners.
The emperor looks at her, he frowns and says, "Get up, your restaurant has been closed anyway, and forget those things that happened before. Who do these recipes belong to? Take them and do what you should do in the future. I am the emperor and the master of all peoples. Everyone can eat what I can. "
With several simple words, unexpectedly the emperor doesn’t punish Yan Langqing and her father. Lord Cheng and Lord Gong express their dissatisfaction on their faces, but they dare not to say much.
Lin Dan is still tearing down the recipe book, when she pulls down one of them, her calm expression finally has some changes, "If I remember correctly, this Wanfu Meat is a famous dish made by Chef Yan, right? Only after eating this dish would the emperor took a fancy to your cooking skills and invited you to the palace. "
Yan Langqing’s relaxed expression begins to tighten.
Lin Dan glances at her with a slight taunting voice, "But who knows, the authentic Wanfu Meat is not made like this or even made of meat. Chef Yan, I remember you once said that you would never cook my father's dishes in your life, but why did you take my father's painstaking efforts to gain your own future? You are actually a woman who acts one way in public and another in private..."
Yan Langqing’s lips have been trembling, she seems to want to refute, but she is nervously speechless. But Yan Shouye shouts rightfully, "Lin Dan, don't talk nonsense! This dish is clearly developed by my daughter Langqing herself. I witnessed with my own eyes!"
Lin Dan closes the recipe book and says slowly, "Really? Did you develop it yourself, or did my father's apprentice tell you? If I remember correctly, my father's two apprentices are now working as chefs in the Yans’ Restaurant. "
"You, you have no proof, it's a downright dirty calumniation!" Yan Shouye is so angry that he nearly vomits blood. However, the party concerned, Yan Langqing, has a pale face and remains silent.
Lin Dan opens the door and says, "Weather I have proof or not, you’ll see when I cook the real Wanfu Meat." She goes straight to the kitchen after saying these words.
The emperor takes a deep look at Yan Langqing, and then slowly follows; the rest of the people can’t sit still, hurriedly run to join in the scene. Today's competition is really with a series of ups and downs. It's so exciting! Who would have thought that Shopkeeper Lin, who would surely lose, would win under the threat of the imperial power? Who would have thought that Chef Yan, who seemed gentle and kind, was such a deep and all-purpose woman inside.
Lin Dan is an honored guest invited by the emperor. She wants to use the kitchen. The owner dares not to disobey and immediately vacates the most spacious stove and prepares food materials for her. She picks up a piece of tofu, cuts it into two-inch squares, carves a beautiful character which means ten thousands on one side, stews it in the milky soup with thick meat flavor, and takes it out after about two quarters of an hour. She fills a little marinade in a frying pan, and adds seasonings continuously to thicken the marinade and turns it into a shallow layer of sauce. After that, she puts the squares of tofu into the sauce and continues to cook; only a layer of tofu is in the marinade.
Lord Cheng warns, "You put too little sauce, tofu squares can’t be completely immersed in the sauce, and it will be not tasty enough."
Lin Dan chuckles, "Your Highness may not know something about this. This is what I want." Two quarters of an hour later, she takes out the tofu squares one by one and puts them in the dishes in order. When others look intently, they see that the tofu squares have turned into the combination of some color of soy sauce and main color of milky white. The shape is very strange.
Lin Dan puts the tofu squares into a hot oil pan to fry. The side with soy sauce color is fried to be with a sweet smell and a layer of crisp skin, but the other side doesn’t touch even a drop of oil and is still white and tender. After this process is finished, Lin Dan stews the tofu squares in bone soup, then puts them into red soup to stew, and finally puts them into a steamer to steam. After that, she fries minced fish, chicken and pork into a thick sauce, pours it on the steamed tofu squares, and sprinkles some shredded gingers and chives to enhance the flavor.
After repeated boiling with broth and marinade, the tofu squares have already absorbed the essence of various kinds of soup and become extremely fresh and fragrant. Due to soy sauce color on the surface and because it is fried again, they look exactly the same as pigskin. If one can’t see it with his own eyes, he will think that this is a bowl of braised pork instead of tofu.
The emperor takes the lead in tasting a square, and his eyes light up immediately. The tofu not only looks like braised meat, but also tastes like it. However, it is not greasy but full of rich, soft, glutinous and mellow taste of meat.
Lin Dan slowly explains, "My mother loves meat, but she is afraid of being fat. My father wanted to develop a dish for her that she can't eat fat, so this dish of meat came into being. It not only combines the advantages of meat dishes, but also abandons the disadvantages of meat dishes. Instead of being fat or greasy, it is soft, glutinous and mellow, and it melts in mouth. My father told me about this dish, and also told his two apprentices, but it was not recorded in the Yans’ recipe book. At that time, he didn’t dare to call it Wanfu Meat, but meat carved with a swastika character. Because of the complicated lines of a swastika character, tofu can be tasty only if it is carved with this kind of character. Chef Yan, I'm afraid you have gotten the recipe from my father's two apprentices, but you still can't make tofu taste like meat. Is this why pork is directly used for cooking? This unusual vegetarian dish with meat flavor, you have turned it into a dish specially developed for the emperor's birthday. Chef Yan, it's very skillful that you are trying to figure out what His Majesty wants. But if you can use your efforts all on cooking, you wouldn’t lose to me today, right? "
Without enough experience and assiduous study, even if one gets a recipe, it is very difficult for him to restore the dish, because he doesn’t know how to handle the ingredients, how to control the temperature, how to allocate the amount of seasoning. If the ingredients are not handled properly, the temperature is a little lower, the seasoning is less, and then the dish is completely off flavor.
Yan Langqing did like Lin Dan said, she got the recipe but couldn't make tofu meat flavor, so she could only use meat directly. It wasn’t that she didn't want to develop her own food, but she was driven out by the Marquis when she was in the most uncertain time. She wanted to make achievements too much, wanted to have a foothold in the capital city too much, wanted to prove herself too much, so she accidentally took a wrong way.
Seeing the eyes of the emperor who is now examining and questioning her, her waist and back which are barely straight finally slowly collapse. This time she loses, she loses completely with her fame ruined.