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Food Wars: Tavern

In the bustling city, there is a tavern that operates only between 7 PM and 12 AM. The food here is fancy and delicious, but surprisingly not expensive! Any ordinary ingredient, when in the hands of the owner Zane, shines brightly. Many people go crazy and become obsessed with his cooking! ----------- This novel is a chill, slice-of-life novel. 10 advance chapters: patreon.com/angelictranslating

AngelicTL · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
241 Chs

Hisako, You Really Aren't as Good as Zane

The night grew deeper.

Rindo, true to her reputation as a famous foodie at Totsuki Academy, had eaten a whole alligator feast. She even ordered several more dishes afterward, leaving Zane unable to remember exactly how much she ate. All he knew was that she left the tavern looking very satisfied, like she was "ten months pregnant"!

"Hisako, are you sure you don't want to go back to Totsuki Academy?"

Having finished her teriyaki chicken rice, Hisako chatted with Erina for a bit longer before getting ready to leave. But before departing, she hoped Erina would change her mind and return to Totsuki Academy instead of working part-time at the tavern.

"Hmm, I don't want to go back for now."

"These years, you've always been by my side, doing many things for me. I am very grateful to you for that. Now, with Zane and senior Sonoka taking care of things at the tavern, you can take this time to rest and do something you like."

"Eh? Hisako, what's with that look? There's no need to be like this. It's not like I'm leaving you forever."

"I'll still return whenever there are Elite Ten affairs or if something urgent happens at the academy, so there's no need to worry."

Erina looked at Hisako's reluctant expression with a flash of panic in her eyes but then firmly said.

"Alright, take care, Miss. Since you've made your decision, I won't try to change it," Hisako said, realizing it would be pointless to argue further.

"Don't worry, Zane will definitely take good care of me," Erina said, casting a quick glance at the busy Zane. "You know, he is quite reliable!"

"Miss, your words hurt me. After following you for ten years, am I not reliable at all?"

Hisako almost broke down hearing this.

"Honestly, you... you really aren't as good as him. At least in cooking, you completely lose!" Erina teased, covering her mouth with a playful smile. "Alright, you should go now. Visit the tavern often if you miss me."

"Yes, Miss, I'm leaving now."

With that said, Hisako couldn't stay any longer. She paused briefly, then walked over to Zane, waved a small fist, and said, "Zane, I hope you can temporarily take my place and take good care of Erina. Both the Director and I see her as a precious gem, not to be harmed at all. If I find out she's been mistreated or bullied, I will never forgive you!"

"As the tavern owner, I will treat every employee well. Don't worry, Hisako, I'll make sure she's well taken care of."

Zane patted his chest and chuckled.

"Hmph, you better keep your word."

Feeling somewhat reassured, Hisako turned her attention back to Erina. While she understood Erina's desire to work part-time at the tavern, she couldn't understand why Erina insisted on living there too.

After thinking it over, she guessed it was because Erina wanted to enjoy Zane's cooking all the time. Seeing Erina's occasional happy smiles, Hisako felt slightly relieved.

Even though she'd been Erina's secretary for years, she still didn't fully understand what Erina truly wanted. But she decided to support her decision unconditionally.

Finally, Hisako collected her complicated feelings, said goodbye to Erina, and left the tavern.

"Hisako, you know... I always wanted to see you as my closest friend, not just as a servant or secretary," Erina murmured, watching Hisako's departing figure.

She remembered her childhood, where she had no friends to play or confide in. Only a little girl with short light red hair helped her out of her troubles, taking care of her daily life.

In these changing times, things like nostalgia seemed outdated.

Tall buildings rose up as casually as having a meal at the tavern. The roads were always filled with cars, making it hard to tell who was just passing through, much like...

Like Momo, who had just gone through the late-night chef incident.

After a lifetime of effort, from being a prestigious Totsuki graduate to running her own "Amarillo" restaurant, she had achieved what many chefs never could.

Yet, in one night, she lost the most important thing to her. She didn't feel much regret, knowing the late-night chefs used force. She acknowledged her own inadequacies.

But the feeling of watching a tragedy unfold while being powerless to stop it weighed heavily on her heart, making her feel like she was suffocating. Frustrated, she decided to visit the tavern tonight, hoping the alcohol would lift her spirits.

"Momo, I knew you'd come."

As soon as she entered, Sonoka, who was helping in the kitchen, greeted her with a smile.

"Sonoka, give me three bottles of soju. No, five."

Momo stared at her, already feeling more irritated. She found a spot to sit and immediately ordered five bottles of soju.

"Momo, I know you can handle your liquor, but I'm afraid five bottles might be too much."

"The tavern is a place to drink freely, but Zane, I mean, the owner doesn't like seeing drunk customers, and I'm worried..."

Sonoka, knowing Momo's intention to drink her sorrows away, tried to persuade her.

"Stop nagging. Five bottles of soju won't get me drunk."

Momo's irritation grew. Seeing her efforts were futile and fearing to anger Momo further, Sonoka reluctantly brought over one bottle of soju.

One sip and all worries vanished.

The soju from the tavern had a gentle taste. Its silky texture brought a rich flavor to the mouth, with a slight but not overwhelming alcoholic sting, leaving a refreshing aftertaste.

This taste made Momo feel as if she was in a dreamy wonderland.

"Ah! I'm really not satisfied."

She slammed her glass down, starting to vent her frustrations.

"Owner, can you talk to her?"

"She clearly intends to get drunk here tonight."

Sonoka, feeling distressed, looked at Zane for help, hoping he could use his cooking and charm to comfort Momo.

"What happened to her?"

Zane had noticed something was off with her as soon as she entered.

"Owner, it's a long story. It started with those late-night chefs..."

Sonoka then explained the recent actions of the late-night chefs, including the closure of Momo's "Amarillo" restaurant due to the culinary conflict.

After listening, Zane remained silent.

According to the original storyline, the residential training had just ended, and the late-night chefs wouldn't appear so soon. Momo's restaurant wouldn't close, and she would judge in the Autumn Election semifinals with Sonoka.

"Interesting."

"It seems my presence is causing more changes."

Zane smirked intriguingly.

"Hmm? Out of soju already?"

Momo, having finished a bottle, showed no sign of drunkenness. She shook the bottle, finding it empty, and demanded another.

"Momo, you should have some food with your drink. What would you like to eat?"

Seeing Sonoka's worried face, Zane gently patted her shoulder and approached Momo with a smile.

"Food?"

"Can you make tapas?"

Momo asked, a bit surprised.

"Tapas?"

Zane was also surprised.

"See? I knew you couldn't."

Assuming Zane didn't even know what tapas were, Momo sneered.

"Who said I couldn't? I'm just surprised you want tapas as bar food."

Zane shrugged confidently.

"I just like it!"

Momo blushed.

"Alright, the customer is always right. I'll make you some tapas."

With that, Zane turned to the kitchen.

Tapas, a Mediterranean and Spanish delicacy, originally means "small plates." It refers to various appetizers or snacks, typically enjoyed with drinks before a meal.

It's a staple of Spanish cuisine, found in every major restaurant and small eatery. There's even a tapas festival where chefs from around the world showcase their culinary skills.

Despite being a humble snack, tapas are revered and widespread, perhaps because they embody the simplicity and authenticity of the Spanish people.

At this moment, Zane was making a type of bread.

This bread resembled French baguettes, with a golden, crispy crust and a soft, fluffy interior. A gentle squeeze would produce a delightful crackling sound.

He placed the bread on the cutting board and, with a sharp knife, sliced it into finger-thick ovals.

Momo, initially disappointed by the simple preparation, watched as Zane continued.

He layered the bread with juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and smooth cheese, followed by thin slices of ham. Basil, parsley, olives, perilla, and rosemary were used for decoration, either sprinkled freely or skewered on top.

Finally, he paired it with a carefully selected bottle of soju.

By this point, Momo's initial disappointment turned into surprise. A chef skilled in Spanish cuisine knows that a restaurant's depth can be gauged by its variety of tapas and paired drinks.

Zane's tapas, with paper-thin ham, glistening olives, and delicate herbs on small red plates, were stunning under the tavern's lights.

"Ha?"

"How is this possible?"

Momo was utterly shocked!

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For 10 advance chapters: patreon.com/angelictranslating