『Alright, they’re done. 』
The batch I had in front me looked almost identical to the stuff I used to see in stores back when I was still in Japan.
「Leave taste testing to me. 」
「Woof woof bark woof!」
Both Fran and Urushi approached with their tails wagging the moment I pulled the curry bread out of the oil. They literally didn’t even give me a chance to wring it dry. Didn’t they already have their afternoon snacks? I could’ve sworn they did…
『Hold on a bit. Wait till all the oil drips off of it. 』
Both impatiently sat down right in front of the final product I’d just produced. Sitting there and staring isn’t going to make time go by any faster, you know…?
There were three different types and six pieces of each type for a total of 18 servings overall. The first type was mild and filled with pork, its exterior was the most plain, and appeared to have a simple, reddish-brown shade. The second type had slightly spicier beef curry inside of it, and could be differentiated by a thin layer of red pepper powdered atop its exterior. The final type was made of chicken. Unlike the other two, it was made to be super spicy. Moreover, it was the only one decorated in green; its exterior was accented with a parsey-like vegetable.
It took about fifteen minutes for the curry bread to cool down a bit and all the excess oil to dry off. Funny enough, neither Fran nor Urushi had seemed to avert their gazes for even the slightest moment.
I immediately stored half of them away so we could pass a few samples over to the Chef’s Guild. The other half, I left to a certain pair of gluttons.
『They’re ready now, go ahead and dig in. 』
Both immediately pounced upon the dish the moment they got the green light.
「Yummy yummy yummy. 」
「Ruff ruff ruff. 」
Fran finished one of the pork types in a mere three bites. Naturally, she didn’t manage to swallow it immediately, so I asked her for her impressions as she chewed.
『How is it?』
「Ideal. Curry with rice reaches heavens. Curry bread ascends to nirvana. 」
The hell is she saying? Are we in cooking manga land right now or something?
Oh well, whatever. Either way, it’s delicious, and that’s all that matters.
「This one. Also tasty. 」
『Looks like Urushi likes the second type more than he likes the first. What about you, Fran?』
「Can’t decide. Both equally delicious. 」
It looked like Fran even liked the one with medium levels of spiciness. Hmm… What about the spiciest kind?
「Spicy. Yummy. Spicy. 」
『Woof woof woof!』
Alright, looks like that didn’t really work for her nearly as well as the other two did. Urushi, on the other hand, liked the spiciest type the most.
Hmm… alright, so how much of each type should I make? I mean, the super spicy type isn’t really for everybody, but I’m sure some people will be craving it… Wait, what if I started with just the two less spicy types and then added the third type on the second day? I’m pretty sure that’d end up grabbing more customers because people would start talking about it.
『Oh well, either way, it looks like they’re pretty good, so let’s pack up and head over to the Chef’s Guild for the time being. 』
「Nn. Got it. 」
We were shown to a large underground room after we arrived at the Chef’s Guild. It’s ceiling was rather expensive and fancy looking, but for some odd reason, its size seemed to make it feel more like a gym than some sort of expensive facility.
「Could you please place all the ingredients you’re going to be using in this room? We can head over to where you’ve got your ingredients stored in the case that you’ve got too many to carry. The same applies if it’s too difficult for you transport them over. 」
「Fine. No problems. 」
「Are you sure? I don’t think it’ll be that efficient for you to have to keep going back and forth even if you do have an item box…」
「Nn. Taking ingredients out now. 」
「Huh? Wait, what?」
Fran had entered the room empty-handed, so the receptionist seemed to have assumed that she’d brought some stuff via an item box and left the rest in a warehouse or something.
Apparently that’s how most of the other contestants did things. They’d normally call a representative over instead of actually going to the guild and bringing all their materials with them.
The shock the receptionist experienced from seeing Fran pull item after item out of her dimensional storage had initially caused her to stare with a blank look on her face, but she quickly recovered and started to do her job.
She immediately began using a skill in order to assess the value of what we’d brought.
「Let’s see… Vegetables, flour, a barrel of oil, a large quantity of spices, and…」
She recorded each of her observations in a notepad as she went through them.
「Is this magic-infused water? How luxurious. Wow, you’ve even got Gullinbursti, Apis, and Gullinkambi meat!」
It took her about an hour to go through everything. All in all, our ingredients were worth about a hundred and fifty thousand Golde. If we used them all up, we’d end up making about thirty thousand servings of curry bread, meaning we’d profit five Golde a piece if we kept our prices at 10 Golde each. The cost was actually a lot higher than what I’d anticipated it to be.
That said, it wasn’t actually that bad. It would’ve been much worse in Japan given that we would’ve had to pay for utilities and all sorts of other overhead costs. Labour costed much more over there too.
Most of the contest’s participants were chefs who focused purely on the pursuit of taste. As a result, their costs were rather high, and naturally, the prices for their products followed the same general sort of trend. Our strategy, which involved selling a large quantity at a low price, seemed like it was quite viable in comparison.
Another important factor to note was that the profit calculation itself was actually a bit skewed. It only included ingredients used directly in the dishes themselves, so stuff like labour and the cost of our paper bags were ignored and considered personal expenses as opposed to business expenses. That said, contestants were prohibited from bundling their dishes with overly expensive tableware as it’d skew the results in favour of anyone that happened to have extra cash on hand.
「Alright, next, we’ll need a sample of your product so that we can judge its qualifications. 」
「Wow! What a delicious yet mysterious flavour it has. 」
The employee seemed to be well deserving of her position, given that she was able to immediately recognize the curry bread’s flavour as an uncommon one. Moreover, the very first bite had already led her to nod in approval.
「I see, so you’re planning to put out multiple different flavours. The taste seems to match with the ingredients used, so you should be good to go. 」
She used the “Tongue of Analysis” skill in order to examine the curry bread as she ate it. Its effect was to immediately identify every ingredient used in whatever she was eating. Okay, seriously, are we in a cooking manga right now? Because that’s totally something that looked like it was ripped right out of one.
The staff member lead us over to a place with a whole bunch of different carts and stalls after she finished checking over our ingredients. All participants had to pick one of several types pre-prepared by the guild.
We immediately chose one that didn’t really have that big of a prep area. Instead, it had a large display area with enough space for three different sales people.
Another requirement that we’d yet to fulfill was the creation of the sign we were going to hang atop our stall. The guild said that we could just figure out a design and hand it to them. They’d handle the rest. Our shop’s name was going to be called The Black Tail, so we just quickly drew a black cat’s tail and stuck the shop’s name beside it before calling it a day.
And that was pretty much it. The only other thing we had to do was hand over the recipe. After that, we’d be golden.
「Right, the recipe. Don’t worry about it leaking out to the public. We’re extremely careful and will ensure that it won’t happen. 」
「Nn. Done now?」
「Y-Yes, you are, but I do have to say that you sure did treat your recipe really casually. 」
「Most of our participants enclose it in an envelope in order to ensure that it isn’t seen by any unintended onlookers. They’re also usually quite hesitant about handing over their recipes. 」
We kind of just scribbled it on a piece of paper and handed it to them, so I guess it only makes sense for the staff members to be relatively confused.
「They tend to get especially fussy when their dishes are as unique and original as your own. 」
「Not making fuss because trusting guild. 」
「That’s good to hear. Your trust is well placed, we promise that we’ll do our best to keep it safeguarded. 」
「Then no problem at all. 」
Honestly, we could care less if the recipe ended up getting out anyways. It’s not actually an original recipe in the first place, so I don’t really feel the urge to be all secretive about it or anything like that.
I mean, we could honestly probably sell it for a lot, but, weren’t really in need of money or anything, and we’d probably make more from hunting magic beasts anyway.
Besides, I don’t actually see any problems with having the recipe leak. In fact, Fran would probably be happier that way. Local adaptations of it would likely lead to even more variety, which, in turn, would mean more curry for her.
So to sum that all up, there’s no point in us intentionally giving out the recipe for free, but we wouldn’t really care even if it did get leaked.
『Alright, let’s head back and start getting everything ready. 』
Awesome. Time for me to stay up all night and make about five thousand of each type of curry bread. I was planning to have Fran make a few in person at the stall, but honestly, that was just something we were going to do to attract customers. Most of what we were going to sell would be made in advance. We won’t have to worry about our supplies running dry that way.
I mean, normally, you’d be concerned about the excess food going to waste, but that didn’t really apply to us. We could keep it in storage for as long as we wanted, and neither Urushi nor Fran would mind keeping them around as snacks.
「Well if it isn’t Miss Fran!」
「Colbert? Here, why?」
Colbert called out to us the moment we left the Chef’s Guild’s basement and went back to its lobby.
「I was actually looking for you! The contest’s going to start tomorrow, so I was checking to see if you need any sort of help. 」
You could tell at a glance that he was totally brimming with excitement and motivation.
「I can tell you for a fact that I really do just want to help! I’m totally not hoping that there’s a chance I’ll be able to sample a bit of the Master’s cuisine. Not at all. 」
Oh, so that’s what he was actually after. Well, I guess that’s fair. I don’t mind feeding him a bit if that’s all it takes for him to lend us a hand.
（Master, what do?）
『Maybe try asking him if he knows anyone that could help out as a salesperson?』
I was actually planning on having Rengil refer us a few people, but, an adventurer would probably work even better seeing as how they could function as both a salesperson and a guard simultaneously.
「Looking for people to help with sales. Requirement. Good at math. Even better if can cook. Ideally party of three. 」
「Just leave it to me! I’ll find you three helpers by tomorrow morning!」
「Paying well. 」
「Got it, that should make things even easier. I’ll get you the best help possible, just you wait!」
Alright, that’s that out of the way. We still have two days left until the second round actually begins. In the meantime, I’ll make sure I cook up the world’s best ever curry bread!
『You want to help out, Fran?』
「Nn. Will do my best. 」
『I’ll leave keeping watch to you, Urushi!』