Shokugeki no Soma Ep. 2: Haught cuisine

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Your dish is like bathing in an onsen with a gorilla!!! Le random~~~~! Anyway…

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— This week, we are formally introduced to Erina, the haughty character who possesses a “God Tongue.” Yeah, that’s right. Move on over, Kazuma Azuma. Your Solar Hands have nothing on this girl’s ability to taste flavors.

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— I heard that this guy has a doujinshi background, so maybe he’s just begging for others to honor him with a work or two. Seriously, God Tongue? That’s just ripe for some stupid parody about her tasting a penis and falling madly in love with dongers for life.

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— ‘Cause one thing he definitely doesn’t have is a father figure.

— Soma arrives at his new school, and quickly notices that all of the other students are flanked by butlers and servants:

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Yep, it’s going to be that kind of show. Oh dear, will anyone appreciate humble, down-to-earth Japanese cooking?!

— As for Soma’s dad, he’s taking his skills across the world, and his reputation precedes him.

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At one point, a fasting monk is more than willing to throw everything away just to have a bite of the man’s creations. So, uh, why isn’t he raking in the money to take care of his family?

— Joichiro’s advice to his son? Find a woman that you will devote all of your cooking to. Then when she passes away, abandon her kid. That’s the key to Asian parenting right there!

— Anyway, Soma tries to make a friend, but when people hear that he’s just a simple boy from a Japanese… diner, they quickly treat him like dirt.

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— It’s one of those confounding cliches that you so often find in these stories. For some reason, the elitists are mad that some commoner has infiltrated their gated community.

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A commoner doesn’t belong there!

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— But y’know, if that was true, then wouldn’t the commoners be naturally filtered out? If Soma’s so bad at cooking, then he’ll just automatically fail his transfer examination, right? So what’s the problem?

— Anyway, Miss God Tongue will be judging the transfer examination, and the main ingredient is the versatile egg. Eggs are cool.

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And I like this, ’cause honestly, 90% of the egg dishes out there are badly overcooked. It’s why chefs will often challenge their cooks to make an omelette. If you can’t even get the basics of an omelette down, you’re not ready for the kitchen.

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— People are so intimidated by Erina, however, that they’re literally running away with their tails between their legs. Why? ‘Cause a bad review from her will stick with you for life or something. As a baby, she was even critical of her mother’s breast milk.

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And legend has it that those titties were never sucked again. Truly fearsome stuff. So of course, running away like a coward is clearly the better option than facing up to Miss God Tongue.

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— For some reason, she’s topless here.

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Aaaaaaaaand random yuri-isms for no particular reason. Well, we all know the reason, but in the real world…

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— Like the others, Erina looks down on Soma and where he comes from. ‘Cause, y’know, she eats nothing but the finest foods, so how dare he sully her tongue with… “just” a bowl of rice and egg…

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— Alright, time to go on a bit of a rant. The best chefs in the world love simple cooking. They absolutely love it. Haute cuisine draws its inspiration from the commoners and what they eat. I mean, c’mon, risotto used to be peasant food. People used to think lobsters were cockroaches of the sea. It’s not like people cooked with offal, because they want to be elitist. They cook with offal because that shit is cheap, and with razor-thin margins, you better be looking to make a 4-star dish out of some dirt-cheap ingredients. Obviously, I don’t know this for sure, but I doubt some rich guy saw a snail and told his personal chef to douse it in butter and garlic. It’s how you make a living in such an industry. Not only that, none of the best chefs in the world look down on simple cooking.

On his free time, Ferran Adria, a pioneer of molecular gastronomy, goes down to a local seafood joint just to feast on some grilled seafood. Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay both love In-N-Out. Joshua Skenes’s standout technique is simply cooking with fire. It sounds simple, because it is simple, But it’s a bit of a lost art. We used to cook over an open flame, and now, we do almost everything on a pan or in an oven. And of course, Japanese cuisine is laden — absolutely fucking laden — with Michelin stars, because people just can’t get enough of sushi. Sushi. Fucking fish over rice. It’s not that simple, but it’s also not that complicated either. What am I even getting at? Well, it’s amusing to see how the upper echelons of the cooking world is perceived by popular media.

Obviously, Shokugeki no Soma is just a silly show, so it’s not here to be fair. It’s not here to portray people like Erina in a positive light (not just yet). But I nevertheless find it amusing. Because at the end of the day, a chef is still just a servant. Your goal in life is to please. Some chefs may do it better than others, but what chefs will be remembered long after they’ve died? Of course, their legacies will live on! But no one will remember who pioneered those legacies. No one. We remember Van Gogh, we remember Beethoven, we remember Hitchcock… and we don’t even necessarily have to be experts in any of those dead guys’ respective fields. I’m not an art connoisseur, but I’ve heard of Picasso. I’m not into classical music, but I sure as hell have heard of Mozart. You get my point.

On the other hand, can you even name a dead chef and what he or she has accomplished? If you’re interested in cooking, you might know a thing or two about… about… who? At best, someone will say Julia Child. Otherwise, they’ll just list a bunch of popular TV chefs that are currently alive and pushing their shitty cookbooks. So at the end of the day, these famous chefs will eventually die and fade from our memories. So I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them. They pour their heart into cooking just as much as an artist might devote him or herself to painting. But nobody lines up for the museum of cooking. And you have no lasting work of art that people will pay tens of millions of dollars for at some auction.

As a chef, your greatness lies in the moment. It exists to be appreciated in the now. And once someone has eaten your food, it quickly becomes a distant memory. To pull it all together, the best chefs in the world love nothing more than a home-cooked meal. The people who would turn their noses at a simple roast chicken are, well, just pretenders.

— But back to our regularly scheduled show… obviously, Soma’s creation isn’t without its secret ingredient. And what’s that secret ingredient?

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It’s chicken aspic. Yeah, the last part is the secret ingredient.

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— Supposedly, it’ll melt over the hot rice and impart some beastly umami chicken flavor to the entire dish.

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And as the first episode has already demonstrated, good food is sexual in this anime.

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— So much so that Miss God Tongue feels as though eating Soma’s bowl of rice and egg is like having a bunch of perverted Soma angels molest her with feathers. Makes sense.

— That means Soma passes, right? He’ll be admitted into the school, right?

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Well, not if Erina has anything to say about it! Her pride won’t let her admit defeat or something… even though she clearly enjoyed the guy’s food.

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— Luckily for Soma, this super ripped old geezer approves of the kid’s cooking. Why wouldn’t he? It’s literally a bowl of carbs and protein. Perfect for some mad gainz, yo!


10 Replies to “Shokugeki no Soma Ep. 2: Haught cuisine”

  1. “How To Become The Greatest Chef In The World” a guide by Erina “God Tongue”
    Step 1) Say all the food people give to you is shit.
    Step 2) If someone questions you just say they have shit taste, literally.
    Step 3) ???
    Step 4) Profit! You are now one of the world’s greatests chefs at the age of 15.

  2. You know, as much as I don’t care for Japanese tarento on TV saying nothing but “Umai!~” and “Oishiiii!~”, at least they’re not tweaking their nipples or rubbing their nether regions to bump up viewership just because. (Yeah, I mean, they’ll get their show dropped, but still). The flaccid fan service drops have just been getting annoying.

    I know this may shock a lot of Japanese creators, but you don’t need to flash tits or skin for people to stay and watch the show. Maybe spend that to make the food look better or more animation frames of someone working the wok and ladle. Because, I dunno, this is supposed to be a fucking cooking show and not ecchi/harem shit.
    Want to have beautiful girls in the show, fine, there’s nothing wrong with that. But stripping them for the most contrived and inane reasons is going to get OLD VERY FAST. For tasting FOOD of all things, I mean, the scenes aren’t even that risque. Retarded shit like Highschool DxD is there specifically to do that.

    Do what sports anime do for the sports genre: Do fucking sports.

    1. > But stripping them for the most contrived and inane reasons is going to get OLD VERY FAST.

      I have some bad news for you. That’s what the rest of the manga is like. Lots of this “lel so randumb!” moments whenever people taste good dishes.

  3. Liked your rant about simple cooking here. Now let me add my own two cents – if you were to ask me, cooks in the professional field absolutely depend on efficiency, so it makes sense for them to love simple, because the simpler the initial recipe the easier it is to integrate into the restaurants workflow. The kind of approach Erina got about food is something a cook could afford if he were some kind of privately hired manservant who invests his whole time into feeding a single person or family… which is exactly the kind of spoilt background she seems to be coming from.

    I mainly know about this series by reading the manga. Watching the anime does not really do it for me because of all that fanservice and blatant male gazing. While the manga also has the fanservice its usually contained to single panels that can be quickly skipped over, so it does not detract overly from all the food, which is the main reason I read the stuff.
    Despite all that Shounen sillyness there are some nice touches about cooking to be found. Let’s talk about the first episode when Souma was preparing that fake roasted pork. When he cooked the potatoes he steamed them (a detail I did not catch in the manga), which first striked me as odd because I usually boil them, but there actually is a very good reason for that and that’s the peeling step. Using a peeling knife to skin the raw potatoes is much faster than peeling them after they come out of the boiling water, being hot and soft. But if you peel potatoes beforehand before boiling them in water they tend to lose flavour and nutrition (beside all the carbs there is also some Vitamin C) lacking the protection of the skin. So you work around that by steaming them. I mean, you also seem to know your way around the kitchen, so this could sound totally trivial to you, but if you ask me, these kind of small optimizations add up to what a efficient worflow in a kitchen should be like.

    Its also funny that you mentioned molecular gastronomy, because there is a character later down the line who specializes in this kind of cooking. The way the manga went into detail about all the laboratory techniques was also the first tip-off for me that there is some serious research going on between all that sillyness and stupid fanservice and indeed there is a professional female cook (forgot her name) who acts as a consultant for the author.

    “At one point, a fasting monk is more than willing to throw everything away just to have a bite of the man’s creations. So, uh, why isn’t he raking in the money to take care of his family?”

    About Jouchirou, I think his financial situation is being depicted pretty realistically. As far as I know, cooks usually do not earn much, even if they are competent as hell. To break it down a little bit more, Jouchirou could rake the money in, if he were to do some specific things with his fame like writing cooking books, appearing on TV or holding cooking seminars for people with money to burn. I mean you were talking about cooks pushing their books in real life and the main reason is that only by adding these extra earnings do they even manage to achieve some measure of wealth. I know of one exception and these are cooks being employed in big fancy hotels, because there they get their monthly salary (which can be pretty high) without all the running costs of restaurant management if they were their own masters.
    Now I am aware that missing dad is exactly working in those fancy hotels, but from that phone conversation, one can catch on that he is moving from place to place at a very fast pace, so he is not exactly collecting stable monthly salaries here. Add in the travelling expenses and the living expenses he sends to his son and I think there is not much left over.

    1. We’re not just talking about a competent cook. We’re talking about a guy whose food is so good that a fasting monk will give up everything just to have a bite. And no one’s making him travel from places to places. That’s on him.

  4. Ratatouille > Shokugeki no Foodgasm

    Even the underlying is better.

    Not anyone can cook buy anyone can be a cook. Vs Find a woman and make her squeal for your food.

    Which one which freaking one?

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