Qian Huang didn’t need to be asked twice. He cleared his throat and then started reading the comments. “‘Pink Flower’ says that she really likes how the figurative buns turned out and she would like to know if it is possible to color other dishes just like that.”
Xiao Ming smiled, happy to hear that the viewers liked what he had shown so far. “Thank you. I’m happy that you like them. As for the answer to your question, it depends a bit.
“If you have other dishes made with dough, you can naturally do it this way as well. For example, while traditionally, you wouldn’t color the dough of the sesame rollups, you can still do it. The only thing you have to pay attention to is that the amount of liquid and flour goes together. If you use juice to color the dishes, then naturally, you will need less water. So you’ll have to try that out a bit.
“In the case of other dishes, things might be more difficult since you don’t always have something that you can substitute with colorful ingredients. On the other hand, you can sometimes do this by adding ingredients though. For example, rice can be made into a beautiful yellow color if you add some turmeric to the water you boil it in. I can try to cover some other ideas on that in the upcoming streams if you want me to.”
Qian Huang glanced over the comment section where some of the viewers were answering immediately. “Looks like everyone is on board with that. I guess we’ll include it in next week’s streams then.
“Alright, there’s also a question by ‘The Lord of the Castle’. They said they have registered for a ‘Golden Spoon’ already but they are a bit worried about the plating. They are in a similar situation to us in that they don’t have many different options at home so they can’t really practice much. They are wondering what they could do to make sure they won’t have a problem with this when the casting starts.”
Xiao Ming gave a hum, his expression a little pensive. “Practice is indeed important when wanting to learn something. So if you can’t practice some aspects at home, it might put you at a disadvantage. Overcoming this also isn’t always easy so I understand your worry.
“The best idea would probably be to ask friends and family whether they have something at home that they can lend you for a bit. That way, you can give the actual plating a try. If that isn’t possible though, then just doing it in theory is better than nothing. I would suggest you cook the dish as usual and plate it on a plain plate while just thinking about or noting down what kind of plate you would like to use instead. If you need some ideas, you can always look up some plates online. Maybe keep a few of the pictures on your phone or print them out.
“Doing it this way is still different from actually doing it but it’s already good to have thought about it. And actually arranging it will be independent of the pattern and more dependent on the size so as long as you have plates of varying sizes to try and see how that affects the aesthetic, it is already very good.” His expression turned a little subtle when he said so. He gave an embarrassed smile and lightly cleared his throat. “Speaking of which … it seems that I never talked about sizes. Let me include this here now.”
He turned and motioned at the plate with the figurative buns, lightly touching the rim. “If you look at this, you can see that we used a big plate for the figurative buns which there are more of but only a middle-sized plate for both the sesame rollups and the sesame balls.
“In general, if there are more parts to a dish like when you have eight buns instead of three balls, then you should probably use a bigger plate. This is especially true if the parts are on the larger side. If the figurative buns were only the size of maybe a digit, it would be a different thing though and you could arrange them on a smaller plate very neatly as well.
“What you have to remember is that a very full plate is not necessarily a good plate. In terms of aesthetics, having a bit of free space on your plate is always important. Think of it like this: If you pick out a special plate with a special pattern, then the one eating should be able to see it on that plate, right? If all of it is covered by the dish itself, then you are losing out on an opportunity to enhance the overall impression.”
Back on the other live stream, Si Shi Wu nodded along. “This is very important. People at home often overload their plates so that it fits more. Even some younger chefs might have a habit of doing that. But actually, the dish will look more impressive if it has room to breathe.”
He looked away from the stream and instead directly looked at the camera. “Speaking of ‘Bright Yellow Water’s live stream itself, I think it is interesting that their anchor originally seems to have forgotten to include this part. I think this makes obvious why the idea of a stream that is live and not just a prerecorded video is a good thing and why this lineup of Bright Yellow Water with three people works so well.
“If their anchor forgot about it and was alone or recorded the video before uploading it online, he wouldn’t have been able to include this thought anymore. On the other hand, since he’s doing everything live and has somebody to read out the comments, he can be reminded of something that was forgotten. He can even be inspired by something a viewer asks and include something that he was originally not intending to say.
“This means that there’s a possibility that their audience gains even more content than what was planned for them. This is very good. It means that there is a genuine exchange between the three live streamers and the audience.” Si Shi Wu fell quiet afterward and focused on the stream again.
Qian Huang made sure that ‘The Lord of the Castle’ was happy with this answer and then looked for other comments. “‘Night Owl 101’ is asking what exactly will be provided by ‘Golden Spoon’.”
This time, Xiao Ming raised his brows, looking a little confused. “Provided in which sense? Could you clarify that?”
It took a moment until the user left another comment to elaborate and Qian Huang read it out loud. “They wrote ‘Xiao Ming said that there would be plates provided by the show. I was wondering what exactly we can expect? They can’t have every kind of plate, can they? Also, what if you don’t know how to use some of the things that are there? I have a very old stove so I’m not sure if I could use it if they had a very modern one there.’
“I think is a very valid question. I’m afraid this is one that I’ll have to answer instead of Xiao Ming though. Those who are watching for the first time today might not know but while you only ever see Xiao Ming cook in front of the camera, Li Shui and I do many things behind the scenes so that he can focus on what he likes.
“So, I was actually the one who talked to the organizers of ‘Golden Spoon’ regarding most details. I can tell you that so far, we haven’t been provided with any detailed lists about these kinds of things. So it’ll be as much of a surprise to us as it is to you.
“From what I’ve heard though, there will be some time for everyone to familiarize themselves with what is on-site. So if you really don’t understand something, you can find out before the show starts each week and probably even ask someone from the crew to help you with it. I think that should be possible as long as you can tell them what exactly you need.”
Xiao Ming nodded in front of the camera. “Yes, this makes sense from my standpoint as well. Nobody can be expected to be able to work with every single thing. As long as you know what you want to do and can tell them, they can tell you how exactly it works on a certain product. Also, should you notice that a certain kind of plate or whatever it is that you need isn’t given but you would like to use it, then I’m sure it could be arranged unless it would be specified in the rules for that specific week that you can only use what is given.”
Speaking of that, he didn’t know how to continue for a moment. “Uh, I don’t know how many of you have already read the details of how the show will play out but there will be special tasks given to the contestants over the weeks. In those, there will be some regulations that you have to follow as closely as possible to get the maximum amount of points. For those tasks, you might not be allowed to use anything else and need to make do with what you have.
“On the other hand, there will be some tasks that leave you a little more freedom in how you can go about them. These are the ones that will challenge your creativity. So for this kind of task, you will naturally be able to ask for something if you need it to solve the task. If it’s something that the crew has, it will naturally be given to you. In any case, you can expect a wide variety of plates being offered.”
Qian Huang glanced at the comments and nodded. “It seems that this explanation was good enough. I’m pretty sure that we will also get some more details when the show finally starts. So just give it three more weeks and we will all find out together.” He glanced over the other comments and finally motioned at Xiao Ming. “It seems like these were all the questions for now so I guess you can continue with the next part.”
Xiao Ming smiled at that. “Very well. Now then, there are still three dishes left: the durian pudding, the tapioca pudding, as well as the coconut milk jellies. I would like to continue with the two puddings side-by-side and then get to the coconut milk jellies at the very end.
“Now, just like before, I’ve already prepared the three dishes. The durian pudding and the tapioca pudding have been cooling in the fridge for some time so we can take them out now. Let’s have a look at them!” He turned around and opened the fridge, taking out a tray with eight molds on it.
He gently put the tray down on the counter and then smiled at the camera. “Now, here is our pudding. There are four molds with durian pudding and another four molds with the tapioca pudding. Let’s get one of each of them out of the molds first.” He took two small plates and then picked up two of the molds, turning them around. He waited for a moment and lightly patted the top of the mold and then slowly pulled it upward, showing the pudding beneath.
“Alright, this is the durian pudding first. As you can see, it’s rather plain. There’s no pattern, no parts of the durian that you can actually still see inside, it just has a nice yellowish color.”
Li Shui zoomed in on the pudding, giving the commenters a bit of time to look at it. Meanwhile, Xiao Ming picked up the mold with the tapioca pudding and took it off in the same way as before, showing the pudding beneath.
Li Shui panned the camera and then slowly zoomed out so that the two could be compared. Xiao Ming immediately started to explain as well.
“Now, comparing this tapioca pudding to the durian pudding, you can see that while it is also rather even in color, the texture is different because of the tapioca pearls that have been used in making this. This makes it look more interesting than the durian pudding by itself.
“If you show these two puddings on a plate just by themselves, the difference is quite obvious. The durian pudding, in fact, might be too plain. Of course, you could now choose a plate that has a very bright pattern but there are alternatives to this. And that is to decorate the dish itself. In the case of his pudding, for example, you could use some pieces of the durian to do so.”
Xiao Ming turned back to the fridge and took out a small bowl, holding it toward the camera. Li Shui zoomed in and their viewers could see small cubes of fruit inside.
“I’ve already cut them up into small squares. You could also choose a different shape for this but those were the easiest for a quick demonstration and I actually think they look nice.” He laughed at that, his eyes seeming to glitter when he looked at the camera.
“Now, you can take these and distribute some on top.” He put the bowl down, picked a few of the small squares, and then placed them on the pudding as he had said just now. “Looking at it now, wouldn’t you say that this already looks a bit more interesting? At the very least, it opens up the shape a bit. You could also use something that is not an ingredient of the pudding. For example, think of another fruit, some type of nuts, maybe almonds, or even some flower blossoms. These would have the benefit that they will not only add another shape on top but also add some more color and even a slightly different taste and texture. There are a lot of ways to decorate a dish.” He smiled and then pulled the plate with the tapioca pudding closer.
“Since we’ve talked about the first pudding, let’s talk about the second one as well. In fact, you wouldn’t necessarily need to decorate this one. If you tried to do so it would cover part of the texture which might even make it look less appealing than it was before.
“So, what you should take away from this is that not every dish needs to be decorated but in some cases, if you have a very plain dish, then some decoration can enhance it. This can be as easy as having small parts of an ingredient on top but it could also be a bit more complicated.
“Speaking of which: I will demonstrate another way with our last dish: the coconut milk jellies.”