Strange World Alchemist Chef – Book 1
Chapter 002 – The Proposal
Translated by Prosperousfood.com
Rehosted and re-translated by Gumihou
Edited by Pill Bug
“So this is the kitchen…” even before he reached that place, Wu Xuan could smell the tantalizing scents coming from it. He had enough rest and thought he should do a little exploring. When he had sorted through the original good’s memories earlier, the clearest and most numerous memories were of this place.
Moreover, the storage room was not far from the kitchen. So it should hurt to take a look, right?
He met no one on his way here. This is after all, the support area where all the invisible work that went into the care and feeding of a Wu Clan happens. Regular martial disciples were not banned from this place, but who would come to a servant’s area voluntarily?
Aside from the occasional hungry disciple, no one would bother to come near the kitchens.
Wu Xuan stepped into the kitchen and studied all the outmoded kitchen equipment.  The stone stove relying on wood, the iron woks, heavy pans and huge stone pots… Not a single shiny modern equipment was to be seen. It finally struck him that he really had transmigrated. It was not a prank orchestrated by people.
The smoke in the kitchen stung his eyes and, aside from Uncle Wu, there were several other cooks clanging busily away at their woks. The portions were huge and considering the speed and equipment available, very well done. These cooks are worthy to be called chefs, or at least short order cooks or line cooks for their skills at providing these huge volumes of cafeteria level food.
While he stared, huge plates of food began to appear on the table, ready to be sent out at any moment.
Considering the original good’s fragile state, he probably would not have lasted long as a huge volume cook. Luckily, Uncle Wu took him under his wing.  Unlike these heavy duty cooks, Uncle Wang’s speciality lies in delicate and exquisite dishes. In other words, it was his job to serve the elders and clan head.
While his the work he does was significantly less, the pressure and responsibility on Uncle Wu was also significantly higher. If the food was anything less than excellent, he could suffer for it.
Therefore, although there were still plenty of time before dinner, Uncle Wu had already started his prep work. Original goods Wu Xuan who had followed Uncle Wu for many years, had also improved his craftsmanship. Normally, he would also be there to assist in the cooking. However, today was not the day, he was just too unstable on his feet.
After observing the communal kitchen cooks for a while, he made his way to a small wooden hut nearby. This was Uncle Wang’s private kitchen. It was much better equipped than the communal kitchen, cleaner and less hectic
When he stepped in, Uncle Wu looked up and frowned, “Little Xuan, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be resting?”
Wu Xuan smiled, “I’m fine, I thought I’d come and see if I could help.”
His body might be weak, but there was nothing wrong with his eyes or brain. He wanted to see these ancient kitchen in action and watch Uncle Wu cook.
Uncle Wu has a stubborn set to his mouth, “No! Injured people should rest. You’ll only aggravate your injuries this way. If your injuries gets worse, you will only cause more problem later. Therefore, you must take care of your health!”
Knowing that Uncle Wu was concerned about him, Wu Xuan said, “Alright, how about I just sit here and watch? Is that alright?”
Uncle Wu thought for a while, before nodding. Now that this matter has been cleared up, he went back to his cooking. Uncle Wu uncovered a pot and a wonderful aroma began to fill the hut.
Wu Xuan sidled up to look into the pot. A mouth-watering aroma drifted out. Uncle Wu looked very happy at the scent. Wu Xuan looked at it turned out to be chicken fingers. Bright golden chicken fingers that looked like it had been coated with beaten eggs and flour.   Wu Xuan looked at the big steamer nearby, and caught a whiff of what was being steamed, “Yi, are these dishes the dinner for the elders as well?”
Uncle Wu heaved a sigh of relief. He had finally completed all the dishes, “That’s right! All these dishes are the dinner for the elder and clan head. The last dish is in the steamer. Once the fried dish is ready, we can serve dinner.”
“May I have a look?” Wu Xuan eyes did not leave the steamer.
“Of course! You are not an outsider. But, please don’t sneak any of it!”
Wu Xuan opened the lid of the streamer. Inside are the dishes for tonight dinner. Uncle Wu had finished cooking them earlier and had left most of the food in the steamer to keep warm.
Wu Xuan takes one look and immediately closed the lid. He paused and considered something.
Uncle Wu is surprised by this behaviour.
The Wu Xuan he knew was very timid and respectful. This Wu Xuan seems a little… forceful. Did the fall rattle something in his head?
Uncle Wu did not spend much time thinking about it. What’s important is Wu Xuan’s health! Moreover, this kind of assertive behaviour is not bad either.
Wu Xuan suddenly turned to him and asks, “Uncle Wu, do you know how the elders had been feeling lately?”
The unexpected question threw Uncle Wu off. Why would Wu Xuan ask this out of the blue? Still Uncle Wu replied, “Not too good. There had been some issues within the clan… why do you want to know?”
There was another thoughtful pause, “Uncle Wu, I think these dishes might not be suitable for the elders. It might make them more irritable.”
“What?! Are you saying that my cooking is bad?” How dare this little brat! “These are the Clan Elder’s favourites. How can you say that it’s not suitable?”
Wu Xuan grinned, “I’m not saying your cooking is bad. Who doesn’t know that Uncle Wu’s cooking is the best in the Wu Clan? But, Uncle, don’t you think today’s  dishes are a little heaty? The Clan Head might enjoy these dishes, but today is unusually hot. If they eat such heaty dishes…”
Uncle Wu frowned, though he looked unwilling, he was forced to think about the matter.
Wu Xuan smoothly followed up with, “Speaking of which, what are the elders’ appetites like, lately?”
Uncle Wu should know best what the elders’ appetites are like. He is the one who serves them. He’s also the one who clears up after them. Whenever he sees lots of leftovers, he would have think about the reason why to avoid losing his job or worse, his head.
“Well, it may be true, but what could we do now? There isn’t much time left even if I want to make changes, ah!” Uncle Wu’s abilities might be above average, but it takes time to master a special delicacy and he did not have anything that would be good for bringing down heat!
Wu Xuan thumped his own chest, nearly causing injury to this body. After wheezing for a few seconds, he forced himself to smile.  “Why don’t I give it a try? If nothing else, we can still serve pickles alongside these dishes to cut through the heavy taste.”
[Gumihou: It kind of bugs me that Wu Xuan seemed to look down on the cooking profession in this chapter considering that it was the one thing that brought him out of abject poverty. I redirected most of his negative feelings towards the original goods for ‘being weak’. Character design wise, it doesn’t make sense.]
Gumihou may or may not have deleted 10 ‘!’
 Added Details for Embellishments: Described some of the outdated kitchen things.  Adjusted Details for Plausibility: Please don’t disparage cooking levels. A canteen cook is not necessary worse than a hotel cook. It’s different kinds of speciality. Differentiate according to speciality and responsibility rather than ranking. It might not be true in this world, but please remember that this is in the POV of a modern non-traditionally trained cook. He should be free of certain prejudice.  Chicken Fingers as delicacies is… suspect. Especially when the author describe a ‘mouth-watering smell’ after uncovering what had to be a pot of boiling oil, which could only smell like… a pot of boiling oil? Fried chicken? Anyway, the food fit for elders are apparently Chicken Fingers and Mysterious Steamed Things.  This scene, especially the mention of the heat looks like it has been lifted right out of Cooking Master Boy.
In the anime, I think the fat official actually ate the buns and were disgusted. Also, the kid pretended to be the legendary boy chef and the MC played along…
Anyway, I think it’s very weird of author not even mentioning what’s in the steamer. Original Text: “… the dishes you cooked are quite heaty, and the taste is thick. And the weather is very hot these few days. If you serve these dishes to the elders, won’t they become moodier?”
If someone (Little Cooking Saint’s author for example) said this to me, I’d drop kick them. Reworded into something more palatable. You’re an apprentice, not a pro chef in this world. You don’t even have to be clever with words, but instead of saying, ‘Oops, Uncle Wu, your cooking might not be well received’. Please, please, lead with ‘you know, that Clan Elder might not know what he really wants to eat…’
Let this be a life skill to all readers too. If you want to criticise someone, don’t link the criticism to their person if you can help it! Go indirect!
This is especially true in Asian culture!!
Wu Xuan, are you Asian or not!!?
Also, ‘…with praise, logic and persuasion, he could change Uncle Wu’s mind.’
Please, have you ever meet a chef before? Have you ever meet a homecook who could be persuaded with logic? The answer is NO.
We will defend our recipes to the death!
We will die on the altar of our secret ingredients!
Want to advise us with logic?
Wait until I sharpened my knives first! USMiC – Uncle Wu: Aren’t you putting people down too much?
‘Uncle Wu shook his head. He did not know many recipes and only know these few specialities.’
Please don’t make Uncle Wu sound incompetent, he would not have become a speciality chef who serves the elders by being a ditz. I know you want to make MC look good, but please, not at the expense of minor characters. Invoking USMiC now!! Prevention of OOC: “Uncle Wu, relax! You still have me! I know how to cook!”
Of course, this is perfectly believable. Only the ditz in Note 6 would believe him. Now I know why you dropped Uncle Wu’s IQ. You can’t design a good argument for Wu Xuan properly persuade a real pro!