Xiao Ming, Qian Huang, and the slightly hungover Li Shui arrived at the venue bright and early. In fact, most of the other people like the producer and the host hadn’t turned up yet. On the other hand, the staff that was working behind the scenes, as well as quite a few of the chefs that would be taking part in the casting as pre-judges, were already there and mingling together.
Li Shui waved at Xiao Ming and Qian Huang and then ran off to talk with the cameramen, actually giving them a hand to prepare some things, while Xiao Ming and Qian Huang just exchanged a glance.
“Looks like he found new friends.”
“It’s good if he did. Then in the future, we won’t have to worry about him.”
Qian Huang nodded and then the two of them went inside, greeting everyone else. Soon enough, Xiao Ming spotted Ai Gui Jin and went over, greeting him happily. “Mister Ai, I’m happy to see you again.”
Si Shi Wu nodded and then glanced at Qian Huang who was still standing around. His gaze returned to Xiao Ming and he took in that he was actually looking quite normal.
Xiao Ming raised his brows, not quite sure if there was something strange about him. “Is something the matter?”
Si Shi Wu put on a complicated expression and then motioned for him to come a little closer. When Qian Huang wanted to listen in, he even pulled him a few steps away.
Qian Huang stared at him, feeling that this guy really had to have something against him. But he hadn’t been that bad! At the very least, it had more or less look like a bun. He really felt that this Ai Gui Jin guy was a little too much.
Meanwhile, Si Shi Wu couldn’t help but lower his voice to answer the question that his Master seemed to have been fretting about the whole evening yesterday. “Mister Xiao, say, is your stomach alright?”
Xiao Ming looked at him, not quite sure what he meant. “Yes …?”
Si Shi Wu straightened up again and nodded. “That’s good. That is really good. It wouldn’t have done for you to suddenly have to miss the casting because that friend of yours had given you food poisoning.”
Xiao Ming raised his brows and suddenly seemed to understand what was going on. “Mister Ai wouldn’t have had some bad reaction to Qian Huang’s food yesterday, would he?”
Si Shi Wu looked at him and then realized that he probably needed to give some kind of excuse. “Ah, it’s not me. Apparently, that host, Mister Ren, was wondering how accurate our judgment was yesterday, so he tried one of the buns himself. Then this morning, he suddenly woke up in the hospital.”
Xiao Ming’s brows shot up and he looked back at Qian Huang, feeling that he really had unlocked the secret to dark cuisine. To actually be able to get the host into the hospital, it really was unexpected! “That’s terrible. How is Mister Ren doing?”
Si Shi Wu tried to look like he really pitied the guy, even though he inwardly felt like gloating. “Well, his condition isn’t that bad but he definitely won’t make it to the casting. As such, the producer felt that it might be better to have somebody else take his spot. He has already been replaced as far as I know.
“It’s a pity for him but I guess the show also didn’t want to make public that it was the food that caused this. They made up some other reason and pretended that it might make things difficult in the future so that they didn’t have any other option.”
“Oh.” Xiao Ming couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. They probably should’ve disposed of the food themselves, then something like this couldn’t have happened.
“Don’t worry. In any case, it’s a lost opportunity for him but it’s not like there won’t be others. He isn’t a small name in the industry after all.”
Xiao Ming nodded. Right, that Mister Ren was really somebody who was quite well-known so it shouldn’t be a problem for him to recover from this. “Well, I guess somebody should check the chefs today then. Qian Huang and I were talking yesterday and I think that maybe there will be some people who will just register to have some fun. Who knows how their dishes will be?”
Ai Gui Jin nodded but didn’t seem concerned. “Don’t worry. From what I heard, there is medical personal at the venue in case something happens. Anyway, it’s not like only the cooking of the contestants could cause some problems. If somebody cut themselves or had another medical issue pop up because of the stress they are under, then they will have to deal with it. So the show organized everything for such cases.”
Xiao Ming heaved a sigh of relief when he heard that. “That’s good.”
Si Shi Wu glanced over at Qian Huang who seemed to be a little worried and then motioned over there. “I think you should go back. I didn’t want to say that in front of him but maybe I was a little too obvious.”
Xiao Ming wondered if he should ask Mister Ai about what Qian Huang had said yesterday but he felt that it also wouldn’t be polite. In any case, he didn’t feel that Mister Ai had any bad opinion of Qian Huang. He had even taken him aside just to spare Qian Huang’s feelings.
Even though it had been a little clumsy and likely wouldn’t work out in the end since Qian Huang was likely to hear from somebody else even if he didn’t tell him, Mister Ai had at least tried his best. Who would really do that for a person they didn’t like?
No, he didn’t think that there were any negative feelings involved. If Ai Gui Jin really had something against him, he probably would’ve said it in front of him, to embarrass him. But he really couldn’t imagine him to be that kind of person. So most likely, this was all just Qian Huang’s misconception.
Thus, Xiao Ming nodded, thanked him again for telling him and taking Qian Huang’s feelings into consideration, and then rushed back to his friend’s side.
As for Si Shi Wu, he stayed close by, making sure that there wouldn’t be anybody making trouble for Young Master Xiao. In any case, soon enough, his master and the others would arrive, and then the first meeting between the two of them would happen. He had to make sure that nothing unexpected happened before that.
As it turned out, Si Shi Wu had been right to be cautious. Bit by bit, everybody else arrived, and the start of the casting drew nearer. Outside, the first contestants had already arrived, waiting for the time when the doors would open.
Inside, the producer and the new host had also made their way over, telling everybody about the last-minute change because of Mister Ren’s unfortunate accident. The other chefs weren’t that bothered by it, since they would only be here for the casting and maybe one of the other episodes anyway.
The only ones who were really impacted by this would be Xiao Ming and Mister Yu but Xiao Ming had already been informed by Si Shi Wu and Mister Yu didn’t mind much. In his eyes, the host was just the person that was guiding the audience through the show. As for his own role, it wouldn’t change depending on who the host was. He just had to taste the dishes and give his honest evaluation. It would be nice to get along with the host but Mister Yu was somebody who had had a long life already and was able to keep a calm mind in all kinds of situations and get along with various kinds of people. He really didn’t worry about not being able to get along with a host that he would only see once a week.
No, what Mister Yu was much more interested in was still the young man that was going to judge the dishes alongside him. Previously, there had always been the producer and the host as well as Xiao Ming’s assistant Qian Huang around them, so he hadn’t really gotten the opportunity to speak much with him.
Now, Qian Huang and the other two were currently speaking about the changes to the show,and making sure of some last-minute things, but Xiao Ming was just standing to the side, waiting for the casting to start. He looked a little nervous, very much like at the beginning of the live streams that Mister Yu had watched online. He felt that this made him really look like a very nice person. Clearly somebody who wore his heart on his sleeves, and wouldn’t try to backstab others like he had often seen it from those people in the media. His good opinion of him soared.
Without thinking much, Mister Yu strode over, giving Xiao Ming a kind smile. “Xiao Ming, ah, are you excited about the start of the show?”
Xiao Ming immediately felt as if his soul would fly away. Mister Yu actually came over to talk to him? This was unbelievable! Naturally, he was also unbelievably happy about this. He hurriedly inclined his head, greeting Mister Yu. “Mister Yu, good morning. I’m indeed excited about the start of the casting. I’m honored I’ll be able to work alongside you.”
Mister Yu really wasn’t one who gave much about flattery, but he could see that this young man clearly meant it when he said so. “Well, I’m also happy to get the chance. At my age, I really don’t have the opportunity to work with the other chefs these days anymore. It’s really nice to have an opportunity like this for once. You can tell me a bit about what is going on these days when we have time off-screen.”
Xiao Ming felt incredibly flattered that Mister Yu would actually say something like this. Clearly, he didn’t really need him for this. If he wanted to know, there would definitely be a lot of people he could ask. So, he was just doing this to make him feel better. As expected, the chef he had been looking up to all these years was such a good person.
Si Shi Wu glanced over, feeling happy that Mister Yu was treating Young Master Xiao so kindly. Well, he knew how this old man usually behaved, so this definitely didn’t come as a surprise. But with this, the others on the show would probably also not dare to casually make trouble for Xiao Ming. This was very good. They could finally put their mind at ease. After getting rid of that Mister Ren, there really wouldn’t be any further problems. From now on, things would really just rely on Young Master Xiao’s own skills and they absolutely weren’t worried about that.
On the other hand, Mister Yu started to idly chat with Xiao Ming. “So, with this live stream and now even doing the show, you must not have a lot of free time.”
Xiao Ming was surprised at that opening but still smiled when he realized that this was probably an Elder’s way of caring for the younger generation. “It’s not always easy but I do like cooking very much so it isn’t a burden. I’m just happy that I can do what I like to been living.”
Looking at Xiao Ming’s bright eyes, Mister Yu nodded happily, feeling even more secure in his judgment of this young man. “Ah, but it must be really difficult to find a partner this way. How old are you this year?”
Xiao Ming was a bit taken aback. This question … ah, well, then again, the older generation often liked to talk about this kind of thing. Who would’ve thought? Mister Yu was actually also just a normal person when the topic wasn’t cooking. “Oh, I’m twenty-three.”
Mister Yu gave a hum, looking as if he was calculating something in his mind. Xiao Ming watched him curiously, wondering just what it was that was going through his mind. Finally, Mister Yu gave a nod, as if he had made a decision.
“Look at this!” He took out an old-fashioned wallet from his pocket, opened it, and took out a photo. Showing it to Xiao Ming with bright eyes, he inquired about his opinion. “What do you think of her?”
Xiao Ming stared at the picture of a young woman, a bad premonition in his heart.
On the other side, Si Shi Wu who was being caught up in a conversation with one of the other chefs also froze. This wouldn’t be … an elder trying to matchmake the younger generation, would it? If he was right, he definitely had to interfere immediately! They couldn’t let all of the preparation for the past years go down the drain just because of a moment of carelessness right before the start of the show!