Chapter 29: Deceptive Yuan Zhou

Led by the doorman, Yuan Zhou first went to the reception counter. When the receptionist heard that Yuan Zhou was here for meal, she sent a waitress to accompany Yuan Zhou to the restaurant on the 4th floor of the hotel.
“Sir, this way please.” Dressed in a matching coat and red skirt, the waitress reached out her white hand and made a “please” gesture while leading the way to the elevator.
“Ding.”
After pushing the up button, the waitress retreated to Yuan Zhou’s back, making way for him. There was an elevator operator inside that was responsible for sending customers to their designated floor. Once the waitress told the operator to head to the restaurant, the elevator door closed gradually.
The facilities and service of a 3-Star hotel were quite considerate and meticulous. A waitress came up to him immediately the instant Yuan Zhou entered the canteen. As it was not 12:00 yet, there were still many seats unoccupied.
“I’d like a seat close to the window.”
After choosing his position, Yuan Zhou followed the waitress to the arranged seat and sat down.
The yellow rectangle table was covered with a white checkered tablecloth with a fresh carnation placed on top. Tableware like cups, plates, bowls and chopsticks were arranged neatly as well.
The temperature in the restaurant was just right. Looking down from this height, although it wasn’t really high, Yuan Zhou still felt different. However, instead of landscapes, all Yuan Zhou could see were houses.
If it were at night, it might be a beautiful view, but for now, it was just nothing special.
“Sir, here’s your menu.” Two waiters approached Yuan Zhou. One collected back the remaining tableware quickly while the other handed the menu over to Yuan Zhou with a gentle voice.
“What’s the recommended dish today?”
This was Yuan Zhou’s first time having a meal here in a 3-Star hotel. Although he had worked here for 2 years, he hadn’t lived in the dormitory provided by the hotel, hence he knew none of the waiters except his colleagues in the kitchen.
As for the dishes, Yuan Zhou had only cooked them in the kitchen instead of eating any of them. It was wiser to order the recommended dish.”
“Yes, there is. The recommendation this afternoon is the Nourishing Turtle Soup, cooked by our head chef. Would you like to order one serving for a taste?” The waiter considerately turned the menu to the colored page showing the Nourishing Turtle Soup and recommended it with a smile.
“Ok. One serving, please. Anything else?” Yuan Zhou recalled that the head chef was indeed good at stewing soup. However, he had never drunk his soup nor even seen the head chef. After all, the chances for a kitchen hand to meet a head chef were small.
Yet today, the culinary skills of this former kitchen hand outclassed the head chef by miles.
“This is the head chef’s recommendation for today. Why don’t you try our specialties?” While saying that, the waiter turned the menu to the pages of the special dishes.
“Hua Hua”
Having looked carefully at the 3 pages of the specialty dishes, he said eventually, “One serving of each of these dishes. Please serve me Egg Fried Rice for the main course”
To the waiter’s surprise, Yuan Zhou ordered every specialty on the 3 pages. There were 19 dishes in total including the head chef recommendation. He reminded Yuan Zhou, “Sir, you are here alone and the dishes here are quite large. Are you certain you want to order all of them?”
“Never mind. I eat a lot.” Obviously, Yuan Zhou knew he couldn’t finish all the dishes he had ordered. But the reason why he was here today was just to fulfill his former wishes and to try the taste of the dishes from a 3-Star hotel, though he was certain they were not so delicious as his.
Since he was here to try, he would definitely go all out. If he were to order one or two dishes, he might as well go back and cook for himself.
“Ok. Please wait a moment.” Seeing Yuan Zhou insisting on ordering that much, the waiter didn’t say anything else. He then went to the kitchen to place orders, taking the menu with him.
In the kitchen of a big hotel, everyone had a clear division of work. It only took about 7 or 8 minutes from placing orders to carrying the dishes out of the kitchen.
“Sir, this is the Head Chef’s Turtle Soup, Boiled Bullfrog, Highland Mutton, Shredded Yak Meat…..” The young brother who was serving dishes introduced a name whenever he carried a dish to Yuan Zhou.
Yuan Zhou just waited silently until all the dishes were served on the table.
“Sir, all dishes you ordered are here. Please take your time.”
“Thank you”
Yuan Zhou nodded his head and thanked the young brother. Afterwards, he picked up the chopsticks and prepared to taste them.
Ever since he obtained the system, Yuan Zhou’s five senses became much better compared to an ordinary person. It was not a problem to conduct a taste test on those dishes.
While Yuan Zhou was carefully tasting the dishes, the Master Chef Restaurant was a mess.
There were rumbles, just like a sudden thunder on a Spring day.
First it was the small mustache man, Wu Hai, who arrived on time every day. He came to the entrance at 09:10 a.m.
It was cold and cheerless in front of the entrance. Nothing was there, only a white piece of paper was pasted on the closed roller shutter door, with “Going out for emergency. Open for business tonight” written on it.
“Open for business tonight? Not opening at noon? It shouldn’t be like that. The business at noon is supposed to be quite good.” While muttering to himself, Wu Hai returned to his own house, not even having breakfast. Who could eat ordinary Soup Dumplings and steamed bread if they had tried the taste of the delicious Egg Fried Rice? If his financial circumstances permitted, he would definitely choose the tastier one.
Other people who came for the breakfast also saw the piece of paper. They also thought that the restaurant may be open for business during noon. After all, no one would turn their back on good business.
Time went by quickly. At noon when everybody got off work, Yuan Zhou’s restaurant had been surrounded by many customers. Everyone started to complain and shout, all talking at once. People who didn’t understand the situation thought a gang fight was starting.
“What’s wrong with the restaurant? It still isn’t open even at noon? I have to go to work soon.” A paunchy man complained while looking at his watch and touching his starving stomach.
“Didn’t you see the paper? Open for business tonight.” Another person beside him answered, also annoyed by the wait.
“The restaurant was open this morning. Why is it closed now?” the young man in a suit said in puzzlement. He was the one who had eaten here in the morning and had ran here for lunch, only to find the door firmly shut.
“What? It was opened this morning? Why didn’t I know that?” Wu Hai asked immediately upon hearing that.
“Yes. The Soup Dumplings cooked by the young master were so delicious and unique. I intended to have some again at noon. You see, I even brought my wife here,” A neatly dressed old man said in a regretful tone. Then he explained the situation in a low voice to a plainly dressed old lady with grey hair.
“The Soup Dumplings? Why didn’t I know that? It was closed When I came in the morning.” Wu Hai was originally in bad mood as he hadn’t managed to eat his Egg Fried Rice for breakfast that morning. Now, hearing that he had probably missed a new dish, he became even more irritated.
“Ah, it’s Brother Wu Hai. Yes, it’s true. There is another new dish, The Soup Dumplings, in Boss Yuan’s restaurant.” When the young man in suits realized it was Wu Hai that often visited the restaurant for his meals, he started to describe to Wu Hai how delicious and delicate the Soup Dumplings were.
Nobody knew the occupation of the young man in a suit. Although not good at quarreling, he had a talent in describing. At the very least, he made the old customers nearby started to drool as they thought of Yuan Zhou’s excellent craftsmanship, feeling even hungrier.
In a little while, a third of the people that ate The Soup Dumplings in the morning gathered outside Yuan Zhou’s restaurant. These people described in turn the unique The Soup Dumplings one by one. The customers no longer felt bored, the only thing they felt was their hunger getting stronger.
“Please stop talking. My belly has been grumbling endlessly in protest,” The paunchy man said painfully as he covered his belly regardless of his image.
“Exactly. I’m so hungry that I’m about to get gastric. Please stop talking”, said Yin Ya. A pretty girl’s words always had excellent effects, therefore several people stopped.
Only they themselves should know was it because the more they thought of the tasty The Soup Dumplings and became hungrier, or some other reason.
Hence, all the customers standing at the entrance of the restaurant started to denounce Yuan Zhou all together.

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