‘Why is he here?’ The voice was so recognizable that Marie tremble in fear.
Soon, those who regained their senses knelt down and shouted, “We greet His Highness, the Crown Prince!”
The person who appeared was the Crown Prince, wearing a mask that was a symbol of his persona.
The Crown Prince had always been a source of terror for those beneath him, and now that he’d arrived amidst a state of panic, the kitchen was enveloped in a dead silence.
The Crown Prince, Rael, frowned.
“I was considering whether to come here or not because something’s bothering me for some reason.
I happened to have some business around the Lily Palace… and it seems like I made the right choice to come.
Is there a problem with the banquet preparations?”
Everyone remained silent, only exchanging glances, unable to answer.
Eventually, Peter, the head chef, opened his mouth.
“The truth is…” Peter, who said that the meat for the main course had spoiled, lowered his head as if he’d committed a mortal sin.
“I’m sorry, Your Highness! It’s my fault!”
The Crown Prince remained silent for a moment.
Since his face was covered by an iron mask, the kitchen staff couldn’t read his expression, making them tremble with even more fear.
The image of the Crown Prince of Blood drawing his sword and slashing Peter’s throat flashed through everyone’s minds.
Then, the Crown Prince spoke in a low voice.
“What? The grosse pièce is the highlight of the banquet.
Since you couldn’t use the veal steak you’re originally planning to prepare, what dish are you planning to serve?”
“We’ve contacted the food supplier to prepare a different type of meat.”
“A different meat? Won’t the quality of the dish greatly decline if you use lower quality meat?”
The Crown Prince looked troubled behind the iron mask.
Although countless dishes would be served at the banquet, ultimately the most important was the main dish, which was the veal steak.
“So we have to serve low-grade meat as the main dish?”
“I’m sorry! Please forgive me!”
“Stop apologizing, now is not the time for that.
It already happened, so let’s find a solution instead.
Is there no other way?”
“If there’s another way…”
“I mean, is there no way to make a decent grosse pièce using low-grade meat?”
The kitchen staff blinked at the Crown Prince’s words.
It was impossible for them to make a dish using low-grade meat.
Peter shook his head gloomily.
“I’m sorry, Your Highness.
I don’t know of any method to make the main dish with low-quality meat.”
“The method of making veal steak into a grosse pièce doesn’t necessarily only involve aged meat, right?”
“Yes, but no matter what method I use, it’s difficult to surpass the taste of a veal steak that enhances the natural flavor of beef.”
“I see.” Rael let out a sigh of frustration under his iron mask.
‘This is troublesome.’
But at that moment, a familiar face caught his eye.
She was petite and had a cute and innocent appearance.
It was the maid, Marie, whom he had strangely been running into a lot.
“And you are?”*
*this could be interpreted in two ways: “You?” and/or “Who are you?” i’m guessing the prince meant the former but marie thought it was the latter
“My name is Marie, Your Highness.” Marie was taken aback and bowed her head when the Crown Prince unexpectedly called out to her.
‘Why is he suddenly calling me?’
Although he didn’t say anything in particular, her heart pounded.
Meanwhile, the Crown Prince looked at her and thought, ‘The sweets she gave me last time tasted incredible.’
The sweets the maid gave him in the swan garden had an excellent taste that was comparable to the imperial palace’s pastries.
‘I wonder if she has skills in cooking besides baking.’
He asked her, “Do you have an idea?”
The question made the surrounding chefs flinch.
Marie’s heart violently pounded.
‘Why is he asking me such a question?’
Of course, she knew a way.
The dream she had last night was the answer.
Mostly refers to a main dish made of meat.
The taste of it was inevitably influenced by the quality of the beef used as an ingredient.
‘But it’s not necessary to only serve steak.
Grosse Pièce means ‘dish made of large pieces of meat,’ so any dish that fits that meaning is fine.’
Although the other chefs were aware of this fact, it’s challenging to create a dish using a large piece of meat that surpasses the quality of a high-quality steak.
‘But if it’s a dish made by the woman in my dreams, even if I use low-grade meat, I can create a taste that’s not inferior to steak.’ Marie quickly organized the thoughts in her head.
At that moment, a cold voice called out to her again.
“Why aren’t you answering?”
Marie bit her lips and lowered her head.
‘What should I do?’
Normally, she would have immediately spoken up to help the chef.
But the fact that the Crown Prince was addressing her directly made her hesitant to reply.
‘I don’t want to draw the Crown Prince’s attention.’
She’d already attracted enough attention with the sculpture and music incidents.
The Crown Prince was still searching for Princess Morina.
Since no one knew her face, it wouldn’t be easy to unearth her true identity, but still, it was best to avoid his attention as much as possible.
‘If I make the mistake of drawing more attention, I might get caught.’
If that happened, it would be the end for her.
So, the best option she had in this situation was to pretend not to know anything.
Then the Crown Prince would no longer be interested in her.
However, she couldn’t.
The pale face of Peter as he was kneeling, came to her mind.
If she pretended not to know, he wouldn’t be able to avoid punishment.
‘No, I can’t do that.’ She clenched her fist unconsciously.
She didn’t want to catch the Crown Prince’s eye even a little, but she couldn’t turn away from Peter.
‘God, what should I do?’ Countless thoughts raced through her mind.
She bit her lip nervously.
‘…But maybe it would be alright? There are so many maids who are good at cooking, so maybe he won’t think it unusual.
He might not even care.’
Of course, the best course of action would be to just pretend she didn’t know anything.
She was well aware of that.
But she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
In the end, she let out a sigh and spoke up.
“There’s… There’s one dish I know.”
The chefs looked at her in surprise.
The Crown Prince also looked at her, his eyes gleaming.
“What is it?”
She spoke as her heart pounded, fearful of the Crown Prince’s reaction.
“It’s a dish my mother used to make occasionally.
It’s a dish that can make even tough, low-grade meat taste sweet and tender.”
“And what’s the name of this dish?”
Marie recalled what the woman in her dream had made.
It was a dish she’d never heard of before, and seemed to not exist in this era.
“It’s Salisbury steak.”
“Sal…isbury steak?” The Crown Prince tilted his head at the unfamiliar name.
“Yes, Your Highness.
It’s a dish where you grind the meat, mix it with various ingredients, and then shape it into a large patty.”
Salisbury Steak, a dish commonly referred to as Hamburg Steak.
The Crown asked with a skeptical voice, “And that’s delicious? Grinding up meat… I don’t understand.”
It’s a dish that they’d never heard of before.
If Marie hadn’t experienced the dream last night, she might not have known it as well.
‘It IS delicious though.’ It wasn’t better than a high-quality steak, since the difference in ingredients is significant.
However, Salisbury steak has its own unique taste and flavor.
‘Plus, the element of surprise might capture the taste buds of those who are only familiar with the taste of regular steak.’
Although the taste of Salisbury steak varied greatly depending on who cooked it, the cooking skills of the woman in her dream were the best.
With Salisbury Steak made from ordinary ingredients, her skills took her to the finals, competing against the high quality steak dishes.
“It has a different taste and flavor from regular steak.”
The kitchen staff looked at Marie anxiously as she spoke.
They were worried that the Crown Prince would be angry at her for talking about such an absurd cooking method.
“Grinding meat? Frankly, I don’t think it will produce a good dish.” However, the Crown Prince’s words that followed were completely unexpected.
“But let’s do it anyway.”
“Marie, how much time do you need to make that dish?”
“It won’t take long,” Marie answered in astonishment.
“Then make the dish right now.
I’ll try and judge it myself.”
Everyone looked at the Crown Prince in surprise.
He’s going to taste an unidentified dish made by Marie herself?
However, the Crown Prince simply said this and nothing more.
“What are you doing? We don’t have much time.
Start right now.”
Marie hastily began to cook.
‘Can I cook directly in front of the Crown Prince? What if he finds me suspicious?’
But she shook her head.
If she didn’t step forward now, she didn’t know what kind of punishment Peter would receive later.
‘And it’ll be fine to show my cooking skills.’ The situation was slightly different from that of a sculptor or musician.
With that conclusion in mind, she started cooking in earnest.
‘First, chop the vegetables to put in the mixture.
I need wine too.’
Although it was her first time cooking the dish, her body moved naturally as if she’d become the woman in her dream.
Tatatatak (Sounds of hitting a hard surface).
The chef’s knife swiftly tapped the cutting board, and in no time, the onions and vegetables were chopped and diced.
The kitchen staff watched in amazement as the maid, who’s usually occupied with hundreds of menial tasks such as washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, and disposing of food waste, handled the knife like a first-rate chef.
“Is that Marie? How could she…?”
“How did she become so skilled?”
However, Marie was too focused on making a high-quality dish to pay attention to their amazement.
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