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04 July 2011 @ 12:03 am
Ingredient Road Trip [#015]  
Title: Ingredient Road Trip [#015]
Fandom: Iron Chef (Japan), general
Characters: Hiroyuki Sakai (IC French II), mentions of Koumei Nakamura (IC Japanese II), Takeshi Kaga
Prompt: 015. If you feel scared, a bit confused; I gotta say, this sounds a little beyond anything I'm used to
Word Count: 1034
Rating: G
Summary: Sakai's ingredients are throughout France.
Author's Notes: In 1996, Iron Chef Japan actually filmed two battles from Brissac Castle in France. The second battle had Sakai and his challenger going out into France to collect all of the ingredients they needed for their dishes, including the theme. I don't own anyone.

“Because this is the first battle for Sakai in France, I am motivated to try a new style for today’s matchup. That is, to let them go on a trip to gather their ingredients. I’m dispatching you two to the rest of France to collect all of the ingredients including the theme ingredient by yourself. The time limit is 24 hours.”

It definitely wasn’t something I had ever encountered before. Since I had become an Iron Chef, all of my battles, were, for the most part, normal. Get the call to go cook, get the theme ingredient, and come back and cook. So when Chairman Kaga revealed that the battle had me going on a trip through France to get everything that I needed, I was stunned. I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out. Sure, I looked very collected on the outside, but I wanted to go up to Kaga smack him around the castle on the inside.

Even worse? I wasn’t going to be sleeping in a comfortable bed tonight – that was for sure. When Kaga brought up that my challenger and I were spending the next twenty-four hours on the road? I got angrier.

And on top of that, Kaga revealed that Homard lobster was to be the theme ingredient. I was a pretty good seafood chef, but when it came to Homard, well… That was a different story. The last time I was in a battle involving Homard, I believe I had lost that. So unless I stepped up against my challenger, I knew I was in for a tough battle.

Koumei Nakamura had a rough going in the battle before mine. He was told that the theme ingredient was in the courtyard of the castle. I thought that was torture enough – he wasn’t told what the theme was going to be before he jogged himself outside. At least I had some sort of knowledge as to what the theme was, because I was going to have to figure out what I was making in the next day. And I knew that I was going to be more tired than Nakamura was. I almost felt sorry that I wasn’t allowed to bring my mattress with me.

I had no time to give Kaga even a dirty look as he herded us out of the castle. The countdown for seven the next evening had officially begun. I felt as though both of us had wasted time getting out of the castle, as we both walked out (I had actually started to jog when I had seen the blue sky; my challenger had begun the jog on the stairs outside), but when the two horse-drawn coaches pulled away, that was when I felt that time had officially begun.

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While on the train, my assistants and I all agreed that we would be traveling south to gather everything that we would need. We also decided upon the menu while we were coming up with our ingredients. I thought it was smart to come up with everything before we hit our first location, because there was no way that a professional like myself could be seen in public, trying to wing my way through the next day.

One of the key places that I would go to in my travels would be La Rochelle, where I had spent some time in when I was younger. It would be the namesake for my restaurant when I had gotten older. I had stayed up later than usual that night, in La Rochelle, trying to prepare my game plan for the morning. I knew exactly where I had to go and what I had to get.

The next morning came earlier than usual, considering my late bedtime the night before. At 6:30, I arrived at the fish market in La Rochelle, where I thought I would be getting the Homards that I needed so desperately. Having only my coat and scarf, I was certain that people would be looking at me funny, since I was still wearing my red Iron Chef wardrobe. Thankfully, neither the clothing nor the camera following me around sent looks in my direction.

I went to five different markets in the building before I could find live Homards for my dishes. After finding some that I had approved of, I asked for two large lobsters and ten medium-sized ones. My shopping in the market wasn’t done there, as I also bought crabs and prawns, among other shellfish. My work at the market was done, and I could look for other ingredients elsewhere.

At 9:10, I found myself at another market – this time, for vegetables. I had found asparagus that looked pretty good, so I bought a whole box of them for one of my dishes. Another guy was selling turnips, which I had bought as well.

I had boarded a train at 10:45 that morning, where I would head to Paris for more ingredients.

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A full thirty-five minutes after my train arrived in Paris, I was on a mission. My goal was to find Shozan, a Japanese restaurant in the city, I had a friend who worked there, and I wanted to see if he’d help me out a bit with ingredients that I needed. Even though I specialized in French cuisine, I wanted to add Japanese ingredients to my dishes. Miso paste, condensed broth, kelp, seaweed, and soy sauce were collected from my friend, and I was able to go back to the castle before 3:30 that afternoon. I was exhausted, but I was finally done.

Before the 7:00 deadline, I managed to get to the castle first. I had arrived with two coaches in tow. One of them happened to be full of my ingredients. With the help of my assistants, I was able to bring all of my purchases up to the kitchen in one trip. My challenger made it up about fifteen minutes after I did, also with two coaches and a lot of ingredients.

Sleep was for the weak. At about 7:00 on the dot, Chairman Kaga announced his trademark “Allez Cuisine!” And with that, the Homard Lobster battle’s cooking stage had officially begun.