Soran's eyes widened as he heard the question, not knowing what to think. 'How does that relate to anything?'
"Yes. I've heard of it. It's a unique ability that grants the wielder a superhuman level of taste beyond that of even the most seasoned food and ingredient experts. With it, you can detect even the tiniest imperfections in any dish with only a single taste." Soran explained briefly as Joichiro nodded.
"That makes this easier to explain. Abilities like that aren't that common in the world. Those who are fortunate enough to have them were born with them. Those who managed to acquire it spent years honing themselves and mostly end up with less than satisfactory results to show for it."
"You in the other hand, did it in one afternoon. Though you'll need some more training to hone it properly, the fact that you achieved it still remains." He said, Soran staying silent to digest what he had just heard.
"I'm not trying to stroke your ego but I'll say this bluntly. You have more talent than I've ever seen. More than Soma, more than even me…" He trailed off as Soran looked in shock at the admittance.
"Dad? Why are you telling me all this?" Soran asked, more than a little confused. The man didn't normally just throw out praises like that.
"Well, it's because great talent also brings pressure and pressure can break a chef. If you intend to go far in cooking, many things will be expected of you. Whether you can handle that pressure is up to you." His father explained, causing Soran's eyes to widen as he realized the reason why they were having this conversation.
'If I recall correctly, Joichiro didn't graduate from Totsuki due to the pressure that he faced at that time. He dropped out and later rediscovered his passion for cooking…' Soran understood that Joichiro was simply trying to make sure that Soran would be able to handle that pressure better than he did.
"Everyone has their own reason for cooking. When you discover yours is when your journey really begins. If you're willing to be the best, I'm willing to teach you all I know." Soran's eyes would have burst out of their sockets at this point with the amount of bombs Joichiro was dropping.
He himself had once stated that he only trained Soma in diner techniques. Him stating that he was willing to teach Soran all he knew was a huge deal and Soran knew it.
"Though…" Joichiro started speaking again before Soran could answer.
"…if at any point in time you find yourself struggling to hold your passion, you're allowed to take a step back to rediscover it. What do you say?" He offered to Soran who had a determined look on his face.
'I wasn't lying when I said that his talent far surpasses mine and Soma's. I'm curious to see just how far you'll go, Soran.' Joichiro thought as Soran gave his answer.
Two weeks passed since Joichiro had upped Soran's training regimen. Soran had of course accepted his offer with full confidence.
The two weeks had been two excruciating weeks of Soma and Soran constantly facing off in cook offs, all of which Soma won to the younger twin's chagrin.
Despite his irritation at the constant loss, he couldn't deny the effectiveness of Joichiro's teachings.
While previously it had taken him a full month to just barely increase [Cooking] by five levels, the skill had increased by three in just the past two weeks. Keeping in mind the constantly increasing demand in order to level, it was a more than acceptable pace.
Whether Soma knew it or not, he was helping in increasing his skill in [Cooking] whether he liked it or not.
Though Joichiro hadn't said so, he felt like he had more or less bridged most of the gap between him and his older twin in skill but that had yet to be proven seeing as how he hadn't won yet.
"Remind me again why I'm doing this." Soran said to Soma who whistled obliviously beside him.
"Huh? I already told you before. Dad wants us to buy some groceries for tonight. Are your ears acting up again?" Soma asked innocently, looking at Soran with a bit of concern.
"Ahh!" Soma yelled as Soran's fist impacted the back of his head.
"Shut up! That's not what I'm talking about. This is normally your job so why am I tagging along." Soran asked after composing himself.
"Oh! Well since you're finally cooking again, I thought It'd be a great bonding experience for us." Soma said, rubbing the back of his head, his voice with a bit of nostalgia in it, taking Soran aback.
"There's also the fact that Aki was insistent that you come along this time." He added, causing Soran to deadpan as it made more sense.
"So Dad wasn't the one who insisted I follow you?" Soran asked as Soma blinked.
"Did I say that?" He asked, looking genuinely confused.
"Yes!" Soran answered with a dry glare.
"Oh! My bad. Hahaha.." The boy laughed shamelessly, a goofy smile on his face in the face of Soran's glare.
He soon calmed down as Soran had another question for him. A question that he had been pondering since he brought it up.
"Who's Aki?" Soran asked, causing Soma to freeze.
Two girls trailed a bit behind the pair of siblings who conversed in inaudible volume.
"I wonder what they're talking about." The girl with shoulder-length light brown hair said to her friend. The other girl had short brown-colored hair with a nervous expression on her face.
Seeing Soma freeze for a moment before he quickly continued walking, they looked a bit confused.
"Y-you're joking, right?" Soma asked in disbelief, his tone low.
"No. I'm being completely serious." Soran answered, no hint of joking in his tone as he spoke.
"You've been in the same class all these years!" He accused in a loud whisper, his voice full of shock.
"And?" Soran questioned in an uncaring tone at the accusation.
Gesturing for him to discreetly look behind him, Soma tilted his head to the girl with the shoulder length brown hair walking behind them. Catching his gaze, a nervous look appeared on the girl's face.
'You've got to be kidding me.' Soran thought as his gaze quickly moved on from the girl. He vaguely remembered her as one of their classmates but other than being a no named background character, that was it.
"I refuse." He said, drawing a confused looked from Soma.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" The older twin asked in confusion.
"You'll understand when you're older, Soma." Soran said, causing Soma to give a deadpanned expression.
"We're the same age!" He complained as they entered the grocery store.
With Soma having a list of everything they needed, it didn't take them long to gather it up. Aki tried starting conversations with Soran only for him to tune her out completely.
'What's this?' He thought amidst Aki's ramblings as an item on a nearby shelf caught his eye.
Unrepentantly ignoring the girl, he walked towards the shelf to see a transparent container which held a light brown powder in it.
Even though it was sealed in the container, the faint smell still hit his enhanced nose. Taking a second to subtly take in a whiff of it, a confused look appeared in his eyes.
He couldn't identify the scent neither could he identify it by sight. He wracked his brain for anything that would help him identify it, be it the color or the assumed texture.
Just when he was about to give up and ask the store clerk for help, an electronic sound rang in his head.
[You have gained 'Appraisal' skill!]
[Ingredient]:[Cordyceps Mushroom Powder]
[Description]:[Cordyceps is a genus of fungi and gets its name from Greek and Latin words meaning "club" and "head". Traditionally used in Tibetan medicine as a tonic to improve energy and endurance, cordyceps supports immune health and its defenses...]
There was a lot more but he was preoccupied as a look of shock appeared in his eyes, replacing the confusion before he quickly schooled his expression.
'To think I'd get this in this kind of situation…' He thought in self mockery with a low chuckle.
"Soran-san? Is everything alright?" Aki asked in concerned, hearing the low chuckle from Soran.
"I'm fine. It's nothing." He answered quickly before focusing on the skill. Trying to appraise her, he got no result as the skill failed to respond.
'I guess it only works on objects rather than people.' Noticing the girl fidgeting under his gaze, he sighed as he walked away.
The rest of the shopping was uneventful as Aki and Kurase kept trying and failing to hold conversations with the Yukihira brothers.
As they left the store, they passed a small child eating a small snack in his hand. Not giving it more than a glance, the two pairs said their goodbyes and went their separate ways.
Out of curiosity, Soran appraised the snack in the boy's hand. The result left him shocked.
[Ingredients]:[Chicken Breast, Soy sauce, onions, ginger…]
"Hahaha…HAHAHA!!" This time Soran couldn't help himself and burst into full blown laughter, shocking Soma who walked beside him.
"Brother? Are you sure you're feeling well? What's with the laugh all of a sudden!?" Soma complained but Soran's laughter barely reduced.