Chapter 50 Narsht’s Confessions
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
When I was employed by Count Atmiras, I did not like Master Neil.
He was the only one in the entire family who was dissatisfied with my cooking, and he would make absurd orders for me to make this kind of dish or that.
No matter how much people around me hailed him as a child prodigy, to me he was an amateur who had never cooked before, and there were few cooks who were not offended by the words of a child who had not yet reached adulthood.
And what I found most disturbing was Master Neil’s attitude.
If he had complained arrogantly and unilaterally like an aristocratic child, I would have been able to let it go as a child’s selfishness after all.
However, Master Neil chose his words carefully to express his dissatisfaction as if he cared for me.
His attitude is neither childish nor aristocratic, and yet he throws words to persuade me like an intelligent adult, which I can hardly pass off as a child’s selfishness.
Even so, his requests were strangely specific, and he even mentioned the ingredients and the way of cooking, even though he had never cooked before.
However, there was no way for me to express my opinion, since I was only a cook and he was a nobleman, even if he was a child, so I kept quiet and continued to follow Master Neil’s advice.
Then one day, Master Neil, who usually gave me orders, asked me to make a steak sauce.
He had never asked me to make something for him before, even though he had ordered me to make something for him before.
On the surface, I was smiling, but inwardly, I was sneering at the amateur’s idea of sauce, and I was looking forward to seeing what kind of delicacy he would make, so I decided to make a sauce with the ingredients and cooking method as he suggested.
But when I tasted the sauce, I remember that I was shocked by its taste.
The coarsely grated onions gave not only flavor and sweetness but also a crunchy texture that does not exist in steaks, and the addition of butter and wine added depth and richness to the sauce, while the wild aroma of garlic increased my appetite.
I was very impressed and even more jealous of Master Neil for making a sauce that is so different from a mere seasoning.
The sense of defeat instilled in me by an amateur who had never cooked a dish before, stimulated my pride so much that before I knew it, I had become a rival to Master Neil.
Master Neil, who had no idea of my inner feelings, twisted his head when he tasted the sauce I had made.
Master Neil seemed to think that this sauce that I was impressed with was not enough for him, and he gave me more orders.
If it had been me up to now, I would have been fed up with the hassle, but I agreed to it because of my rivalry with Master Neil.
I was determined to produce a source that would satisfy Master Neil, or even better, and that day my challenge began.
Day after day, I made the sauce over and over again, asking Master Neil to taste it and point out what was missing, at least once a day, sometimes five times a day at the most.
After repeating such days, when the seasons had changed twice, I was finally able to complete a sauce that could satisfy Master Neil.
The sauce was highly praised not only by Master Neil but also by the Lord and the Madam, and soon the existence of the sauce spread quickly among the nobles along with my name.
Then, as a matter of course, people began to want me, and I began to receive attractive offers.
I was so proud of having perfected the sauce and having made a name for myself that I forgot my debt to Count Atmiras, who had employed me for many years, and my rivalry with Master Neil, and jumped at the offer of the Duke Clement, who offered the best terms among the offers that came my way, and abandoned my position as the head chef of Count Atmiras’ family.
The Duke Clement was a renowned gourmet, and to be invited directly by the Duke was like being recognized as a first-class chef, and I grew more and more proud, blustering to the other chefs that I was the first-class chef who made Narsht sauce. But those days did not last long.
Soon after I started working at the Duke Clement’s kitchen, I was asked to cook for the coming-of-age party of the Duke Clement’s second son who would come of age next year.
I was asked to come up with something new and different from the Narsht sauce, and I confidently agreed to it without thinking too much about its meaning.
I was trying to think of a new dish to serve at the party, but if I could come up with such a dish on the spur of the moment, I wouldn’t have any trouble.
But at that time, I put it off for later because the party was still a few days away and I had no proof that I could do it.
After putting it off like this, and before I knew it, the party was almost next season, and I had not come up with a new dish that would satisfy the Duke Clement.
Several times Clement asked me about my progress, and each time I turned him down, saying that this was not good enough.
At first, I didn’t think too much about it, thinking that it wouldn’t be that easy, but as time went by, I grew impatient and even received a scolding from the Duke himself for the poor quality of the dish.
Here I realized how much Master Neil’s order, which I had disliked until then, meant to me, and how much I appreciated it.
Whenever Master Neil was dissatisfied with my cooking, he would express his dissatisfaction in concrete terms and suggest cooking methods and ingredients, but Duke Clement never did that, but only said that the food was not good enough, that it was not satisfactory, and that it was the chef’s job to think of dishes that would satisfy people. Just complaining about it.
As the deadline arrived without knowing what was wrong with my dish, I made a safe dish as if I was trying to escape rather than serve a dish I did not know what was wrong with.
It was not bad by any means, but it disappointed the nobles who were expecting something new, and I ended up getting kicked out of the Duke of Clement’s house for disgracing his face.
Word of my mediocre cooking at the party soon spread among the nobles, and I became known not as a first-rate chef who made Narsht sauce, but as a third-rate chef who disgraced his employer.
No nobleman would hire me like that, and I began to work as a lowly cook in a small tavern to survive.
I wondered why I, who once worked in the kitchen of a duke’s house, was working in such a place, and I still couldn’t let go of my pride that I was a first-rate chef.
I had spent my days as a lowly worker, washing dishes, but one day the owner of the tavern told me that I could pick up a knife, and I finally graduated from being a lowly worker, and I was able to show my skills as a cook. But…
”Your cooking is a failure.”
The owner’s words made my mind completely blank.
This is a small tavern, not a nobleman’s house with all kinds of meat, vegetables, and spices.
There was no way to buy this kind of spices because there were not enough of them, and I had been using expensive spices as a matter of course to see how good I could make a dish with limited ingredients, but I was not wanted here.
”Listen, you are not blessed with skill, you are blessed with the environment.”
I could not say anything back to him.
I was able to complete the sauce because of Master Neil’s advice, because Master Neil had paid for me to make the sauce.
But I named the sauce Narsht Sauce as if it was my own personal achievement, and I thought I was a first-class chef, and that was the first time I realized how foolish I was.
I decided to put down my knife, thinking that a man like me should retire from cooking, and return to my home village to live as a simple farmer.
But first I have something to do.
I want to apologize to Master Neil, I want to tell him everything I have been thinking since then, and I want to apologize properly, and I want to get rid of the name “Narsht source” and confess that this is Master Neil’s source, and not mine.
With this decision, I quit the tavern and went to Count Atmiras’ house for the first time in three years.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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