OCN C49 Preparation for the Casting

The camera was turned off and Ren Ya Hui turned to Xiao Ming with a smile. “Mister Xiao, thank you very much for your cooperation today. After this, I’m sure that tomorrow’s casting will go perfectly well. I hope you’re not nervous.”

Xiao Ming gave a wry smile, wondering if it had been too obvious that he really was nervous. “Thank you for your concern, Mister Ren. I will definitely do my best so as to not let you and the producer down.”

Ren Ya Hui nodded, and then turned to Si Shi Wu instead, flattering him with a few words.

Si Shi Wu looked at him and also smiled, but there was something hidden in his gaze. This guy … he better shouldn’t think he would get off so easily.

Finally, all of them bid their farewell and Xiao Ming and Qian Huang went to get Li Shui. When they arrived at where Li Shui was standing with the cameraman from the crew, they were quite surprised though.

“Can’t you go without me? I’ll go drink with the guys first. I’ll definitely be back in time so don’t worry!”

Xiao Ming end Qian Huang exchanged a glance and then started laughing.

“The producer and the host actually wanted to spite you but now, it looks like they did you a favor.”

“It’s great that you get along with everyone. I guess we really shouldn’t force you then.” Xiao Ming smiled and motioned over at the cameraman with his head. “Go on then. We’ll see you in the evening. Don’t stay out too long.”

Li Shui nodded and then rushed off while Qian Huang turned to Xiao Ming. Putting his arm around his shoulder, he gave him a smile. “Don’t think too much about what the host said before. In any case, you did really well today. It probably wasn’t easy to have to judge my cooking of all people.”

Xiao Ming smiled wryly. “I did remember that the two of you were bad at cooking but I always thought you were also doing it that way because you were too lazy and wanted me to cook for you. Who knew that really was your skill level?”

Qian Huang rubbed the bridge of his nose again and laughed awkwardly. “Well, can you fault me? Being able to eat your cooking every day, I also can’t bring myself to sit down and learn.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter. In any case, I’m not going to suddenly stop.”

Qian Huang nodded and the two of them finally left.

Right now, it was already evening so after getting home, Xiao Ming went to the kitchen to cook dinner while Qian Huang sat down to peruse Weibo and look at what people had commented while they were streaming before.

Looking at everything that had gone down, he somewhat understood Ai Gui Jin’s mood before. The people that knew a bit more about cooking were also cursing him out, while those at around his level were commiserating with him but also laughing because apparently, he managed to outdo some of them in terms of black cuisine.

He finally closed the notebook with a blank expression and just went over to the kitchen, watching Xiao Ming.

Stirring everything in the pan, Xiao Ming glanced over at him. “Trying to learn now? It’s a bit too late. In any case, you didn’t register for the casting.”

Qian Huang laughed and shook his head. “No, I wouldn’t want to take away your job. If I was serious about learning to cook, you wouldn’t be able to even carry my shoes.”

Xiao Ming laughed and just nodded good-naturedly, not bothering to expose Qian Huang. In any case, he also knew that he was just trying his best. “Tomorrow for the casting, is there anything we need to remember?”

Qian Huang shook his head. “No, just choose something to wear that you look good in, then you can just go. In any case, you don’t need to cook yourself. Just taste whatever they give you and give your honest opinion. You also don’t need to hold back. In any case, they won’t have you taste the bad ones. You’ll just get the ones that the other cooks feel might have a chance of passing.”

Xiao Ming nodded and then sighed. “Yes, you’re probably right. In any case, there also isn’t just me but Mister Yu as well. And, well, from what he said today, Mister Ai will also be among the chefs that taste the dishes on the site.”

Qian Huang nodded but there was a pensive expression on his face. “I feel like he doesn’t like me. Back when I was checking the steamer when you were over on the other side, he downright glared at me. It was really scary.”

Xiao Ming raised his brows in surprise but he wasn’t quite sure what to make of that. “I don’t think Mister Ai is that kind of person. You probably saw it wrong.”

“Xiao Ming, I only stood two steps away from him. How could I have seen that wrong? In any case, I was a bit afraid of him.”

“Maybe he is shortsighted and couldn’t see well enough so he squinted a bit?”

Qian Huang gave him a ‘please’ look but didn’t argue the point anymore. In any case, this Mister Ai was probably the person that Xiao Ming admired the most after Mister Yu. He shouldn’t have expected him to be unbiased in regard to him. But in any case … “No matter what he thinks of me, I think he likes you. If you have any problems before the casting starts, just go to him and ask for help. I think he’d be willing to lend you a hand.”

Xiao Ming nodded. “Yes, he was really nice today. Well, I guess he feels slightly guilty about how things turned out the other day. Although that really didn’t have anything to do with him.” He shook his head and then turned off the stove, motioning for Qian Huang to pass over the plates.

Giving each of them a portion, the two of them finally sat down at the table. “In any case, I’m a little curious about the show. I know how it is supposed to work but I’m really curious how good the contestants will really be. Since none of them are professionals, their skill level will be quite varied.”

“Do you think there’ll be people like me?”

Xiao Ming chuckled at that. “A few maybe. Those who just go for the experience of taking part once. But I think most of the others will at least be decent cooks. In any case, there might be some really good ones. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.”

“Well, you can indulge in good food. I think that’s not too bad. Also, from tomorrow onward, you’ll get to spend a bit more time with the rest of the team. You might even get a chance to ask that Mister Yu for his signature.”

Xiao Ming laughed at that. “I’m pretty sure that Mister Yu doesn’t give autographs like that. He’s not a superstar, he’s a chef.”

“Yeah, a famous one! In any case, you could give it try. Or just have a talk with him if that’s what you’d rather want to do.”

“I think I’ll try the talking but I don’t think I’ll be able to thicken my skin far enough to ask for anything else. It’s already quite good that he isn’t angry at me for being on the show next to him. I still feel that it’s somewhat strange, especially if there are people like Mister Ai around. To think that he is checking just for the casting while I am one of the main judges … I still feel that it’s too weird.”

“Well, you were both chosen because of different reasons. In any case, he originally wouldn’t have been on the show at all. I guess they might have made him into a judge in the next season. Don’t think there’ll just be one of this show. They will do more if it works well.

“Inviting both Mister Yu and you for this was definitely also to get the biggest audience that they could. In fact, I think that the difference in your skill level might’ve been deliberate. I mean there are some other cooking channels around that have more viewers than us. But they still decided on us. Wasn’t that for the media coverage?

“They were banking on some outlets publishing articles where they compared us and the other channels, you and Mister Yu, you and that Mister Ai, and whatever else they could. In fact, while this invitation was a great chance, there was also great risk involved.”

Xiao Ming nodded. Even though he didn’t understand as much about these things as Qian Huang, he also had a bit of understanding at least. “Well, we are at the lowest point of the pecking order. We can only give our best and try to make sure that we don’t fall into the pit somebody dug for us.”

“Speaking of pits, be careful of that host. I don’t think he has any good intentions. Even if it wasn’t the producer who told him to pick on you, he’ll probably do it all on his own. And nobody will stop him if it gives the news something to report about.”

Xiao Ming nodded. “Some of the questions he asked today were quite laden. I really didn’t think that it would be this complicated. I thought the most difficult would be to accurately judge something, especially if skill levels get closer and closer and might even be higher than mine. But now …” He shook his head. “The bigger hurdle might actually be not to get in trouble before that happens.”

Qian Huang nodded. “Yes, I think you will only be really safe after the casting and the first episode are over. By that time, it would be too much of a scandal to change you for somebody else. Until then … if something happens, they could still say that they made the wrong choice and get somebody who has more qualifications or something. So, right now is the time when we need to prove that we know what we’re doing.”

Xiao Ming nodded, furrowing his brows a little. “Where will you be tomorrow? You’ll come with me to the venue, right?”

“I will but I’ll be backstage the whole time. I can’t really stay around since you’ll be filmed. It wouldn’t look good if I was in the picture all the time. With those rumors that Li Shui and I are just your sidekicks, somebody malicious might try to turn it around into saying that I’m just trying to profit off your work. While Li Shui is a freeloader. You know how people online are. We were lucky that that Shi Ru Qiu managed to calm things down a little and that fan of Goddess Tao managed to pull down that Misses Youya, or otherwise, we’d really have a problem.”

Xiao Ming nodded. “Well, in that case, I guess I’ll have to look out for things myself.”

Qian Huang nodded and reached over, patting his arm. “Don’t think too much. You know what to do. Just listen closely when people say something or ask questions, and rather deliberate a moment longer and make a pause than to say something at the drop of a hat that turns out to be the wrong thing. You always have time to think it through. In any case, that will also make you seem like a very thoughtful person. It’s not the worst image to have.”

Xiao Ming laughed. “Well, I guess I should trust in you then. Mister assistant.”

Qian Huang laughed. “Well, I guess my dream of becoming the assistant of a wealthy person and earning loads of money myself is almost in reach now.”

Xiao Ming nodded. “I definitely can’t promise that kind of wealth yet, but there is still a chance that it might work out. In any case, Li Shui looked really happy today. I guess it’s really something different to film in a studio and be a real cameraman than to just do a small live stream like we do.”

Qian Huang sighed. “Well, it could be that he’ll need to branch out a bit in the future. Just filming every two days might be something that’s also not fulfilling all the time. For me, at least I have something else to do with preparing on the days in between but for him?” He shook his head. “I also think he’s a bit unhappy about it. But no matter what, that is also something that we can deal with by then. Who knows? Some opportunities might come up while the show is being filmed. From how it looked before, he got along really well with the other cameramen. So I just hope that that’s a good sign for the three of us.”

Xiao Ming nodded. “I think it is. From now on, things will only go up. We’ve had enough of being down.” He smiled, and then just finished eating, finally going to sleep early so he would be awake tomorrow.

And with that, the casting of ‘Golden Spoon’ and the first meeting of the food anchor and the ninja were about to commence. But before that, there was yet another crisis to weather, although it was one that neither Xiao Ming and the two guys from Bright Yellow Water nor the twenty-one ninjas of the Si clan could’ve ever anticipated.

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