Chapter 50: The Culinary Tycoon

Business Comes Knocking

In the afternoon, as it was nearing closing time, a customer who had previously purchased mooncakes from the stall arrived. It was the middle-aged man who had placed the first large order. However, Yu Qingze was not present at the moment as he had gone to buy flour.

“Excuse me, is Boss Yu here?” the middle-aged man asked.

Brother Chang still remembered this customer and approached him, asking, “Sir, our boss has gone to buy flour. Do you need to buy something or is there something you’d like to discuss with him?”

Upon hearing that Boss Yu was not available, the middle-aged man looked disappointed and inquired, “Is there someone else here who can make decisions?”

Brother Chang immediately responded, “Yes, please wait a moment. I’ll go fetch him.”

Boss

In the meantime, Chang Le, who was fetching water at  Li’s house, overheard that their previous important customer had arrived. He swiftly put down the water bucket and hurried to the front of the food stall.

Brother Chang explained, “This is our boss’s fiance, and although he cannot speak, he can understand. I’ll help translate for him. Is that acceptable to you?”

The middle-aged man nodded and said, “That’s fine. I am Zhao Zhong, the steward of Zhao Mansion in the southern part of the city. Our master recently visited the Cai Mansion and tried various pastries, finding them delicious. We heard that they were made by Boss Yu. Coincidentally, our master’s birthday celebration is on the 30th of August, and we would like to place an order with Boss Yu for a batch of pastries. Are you willing to take on this order?”

Upon hearing that there was a business opportunity, Brother Chang and Chang Le’s eyes lit up. Brother Chang looked at Chang Le, waiting for his response.

Chang Le pondered for a moment and gestured, asking which specific pastries they needed.

Brother Chang translated the question for Zhao Zhong.

After considering for a moment, Zhao Zhong took out a piece of paper from his pocket and read, “Shumai, crystal dumplings, jujube and yam cake, pumpkin pancakes, donkey rolls, and various flavors of mooncakes that were previously offered.”

Upon hearing this, Chang Le nodded. They were capable of making all these pastries as they had prepared them before for the Cai Mansion.

He then asked, “How much quantity do you require, and when do you need them?”

Brother Chang translated the question for Zhao Zhong.

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com by Brother Chang.

Zhao Zhong replied, “We need everything to be ready by August 29th, and some of them are for reciprocation. As for the quantity, I’ve written it on this list.”

He handed over the paper.

Brother Le took it, but neither of them could read. Although he had been studying with Yu Qingze and Xiao Hao in the evenings, he still hadn’t learned many characters and couldn’t understand the list.

He shook his head and gestured that he couldn’t read.

Realizing that they couldn’t read, the steward took back the paper and began reading aloud, “350 shumai, 350 crystal dumplings…”

Just then, Chang Le’s keen eyes spotted Yu Qingze not far away, returning with a cart. He quickly interrupted Zhao Zhong and asked him to wait.

Yu Qingze saw Brother Le waving at him from a distance, so he hastened his steps, dragged the cart over, and walked up to wipe his face with the cloth towel. He asked, “What’s going on?”

Brother Chang explained the situation.

After listening, Yu Qingze asked Brother Chang to attend to things while there weren’t many customers. He would go with Zhao Zhong to the back and discuss the business, with Brother Le listening on the side.

Seeing Boss Yu return, Zhao Zhong was delighted. It was naturally better to discuss such matters directly with the boss, so he conveyed his requirements.

Yu Qingze clarified the types and timeline needed. Looking at the items on the list, he said, “We can make them.”

With Yu Qingze’s assurance, Zhao Zhong was pleased and asked, “How much will it cost?”

Yu Qingze glanced at the list and then at Zhao Zhong, saying, “The price for the mooncakes will be the same as before. By the way, I forgot to ask, are they for immediate consumption or for reciprocation? If it’s for reciprocation, they will need to be packaged, right? Of course, if you prefer to package them yourselves, you can buy them in bulk and package them at home.” However, Yu Qingze guessed they wouldn’t choose that option.

As expected, Zhao Zhong shook his head and said, “No, you should handle the packaging. Pack them in sets of five. And for the donkey rolls and jujube and yam cakes, they should be packaged in sets of four.” They wanted the reputation of Yu’s stall, so they didn’t want to package them themselves.

Donkey Roll

Shumai

Crystal Dumplings

Yu Qingze nodded and asked, “In terms of packaging, do you want the luxury type or the boutique type?”

Zhao Zhong said, “Use the boutique type for all of them.”

Yu Qingze pondered for a moment and said, “In that case, the donkey rolls will be 98 wen per box, and the jujube and yam cakes will be 108 wen per box.”

Zhao Zhong was surprised, “Why are they so expensive? The jujube and yam cakes are as expensive as four boxes of mooncakes!”

Yu Qingze calmly replied, “There’s nothing we can do. The ingredients are expensive, and these items are considered healthier, so they naturally come at a higher price.”

Zhao Zhong began to negotiate, “Boss Yu, since we’re placing such a large order, can you offer us a discount?”

Yu Qingze shook his head and said, “Zhao Zhong, as you know, we operate on a small scale and only earn a small profit. How about this: for each type of pastry, I’ll include four boxes for your mansion as a gift. If you calculate it that way, it’s almost like offering a discount.”

Zhao Zhong then asked, “What about the other three types?”

Yu Qingze replied, “Based on your plan for a table of ten, the other three items will be calculated per plate. Each plate will contain ten pastries: the shumai will be 30 wen per plate, the crystal dumplings require more effort and will be priced at 50 wen per plate, and the pumpkin cakes will be 20 wen per plate.”

Zhao Zhong considered for a moment and said, “Hmm, I need to report this to the master of the mansion and let him make the final decision.”

Yu Qingze responded, “Sure, no problem. Also, there’s another issue I need to clarify with you, Zhao Zhong.”

Zhao Zhong asked, “What’s the issue?”

“These three types of pastries can all be prepared for you on the 29th, but it’s best to consume the shumai, crystal dumplings, and pumpkin cakes on the same day for the best taste. Especially for such an important occasion as the birthday celebration, I recommend that these three items be consumed fresh for optimal flavor.”

Hearing this, Zhao Zhong frowned and asked, “Can you deliver them in time for the noon banquet?”

Yu Qingze shook his head and said, “Even if we prepare them at home and deliver them, the taste won’t be the same.”

Zhao Zhong became worried.

Yu Qingze continued, “Are these three items meant to be consumed immediately? It wouldn’t be suitable for gift-giving purposes.”

Zhao Zhong nodded and said, “Yes, they are meant to be consumed immediately as post-meal snacks. Some guests may also keep them for the evening banquet and require afternoon tea.”

Yu Qingze thought for a moment and suggested, “If that’s the case, why don’t we come to your mansion and prepare them on-site? I’m not sure if it’s convenient for your mansion, though.”

Upon hearing this, Zhao Zhong asked, “Can Boss Yu come to our mansion?”

Yu Qingze smiled and said, “The 30th happens to be our snack stall’s day off, so we won’t be operating there. We can come to your mansion. It’s not as convenient on regular days, though.”

“Alright, we’ll have you come to our mansion!”

Yu Qingze added, “In that case, I hope your mansion can provide us with a separate kitchen to prepare the pastries.”

“Sure,” Zhao Zhong agreed. After thinking for a moment, he asked, “Do you need us to provide the ingredients, or…?”

Yu Qingze shook his head and replied, “No need, we will bring our own ingredients. However, we will need your mansion to provide the kitchen utensils, firewood, and water. These will not be included in the price.” If Zhao Mansion provides the ingredients, they would have to deduct the cost of the ingredients. By bringing their own, they could keep the cost somewhat concealed.

Zhao Zhong nodded to indicate his understanding and asked, “Are there any other questions?”

After thinking for a moment, Yu Qingze originally wanted to ask if they could provide steaming baskets as well, but it seemed a bit too much. They would probably need them themselves that day, and they only had one large steaming basket at home. It would be better to have a few more custom-made, as they would also need them in the future.

He said, “No need, we will prepare the rest ourselves.”

Zhao Zhong nodded and said, “Alright, I will inform you once I have received confirmation from the master.”

Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Okay, but please be quick. I need to prepare in advance for some things.”

“I understand. I will give you a definite answer no later than the day after tomorrow. Goodbye.”

“Oh, Zhao Zhong, wait.” Yu Qingze remembered that they would be visiting the Cai Mansion tomorrow, so he said, “Tomorrow, we won’t be operating the stall as we will be visiting the Cai Mansion. You can come the day after tomorrow.”

When Zhao Zhong heard that they would be visiting the Cai Mansion, he was somewhat surprised but still nodded and said, “Alright, I will come the day after tomorrow then.”

After Zhao Zhong left, Chang Le’s eyes sparkled as he looked at Yu Qingze with admiration.

Yu Qingze turned his head and noticed Chang Le’s gaze. He felt pleased in his heart but still smiled and asked, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Chang Le happily gestured, expressing, “Brother Yu, you’re really skilled at negotiating business. Zhao Zhong will come the day after tomorrow, right?”

Yu Qingze looked at him and chuckled, “Am I that impressive?”

Chang Le nodded and gave him a thumbs up as praise.

Yu Qingze pinched his finger and said, “Let me tell you, I’m not that amazing. If I fail, you’re not allowed to laugh at me.”

Chang Le pulled back his finger, shook his head, and gestured, “Still, you’re impressive!”

Yu Qingze laughed and leaned in close to Chang Le’s ear, whispering, “Do you know that when you look at me like that, I really want to kiss you?”

…Kiss? Kiss me?

A gentle breath brushed against Chang Le’s ear, tickling him slightly. He immediately thought of something embarrassing, and his entire face turned red. He quickly turned his head and ran away.

Brother Yu is being naughty again. We were just talking about business, why did he have to bring up kissing? It reminded him of that time when he was drunk and kissed him.

It’s so embarrassing.

Yu Qingze watched his retreating figure and chuckled softly. He then unloaded the flour from the cart and prepared to rearrange things for closing time.

The next day, on the 20th of August, was the day they had agreed to visit the Cai Mansion. Yu Qingze took Brother Le and Chang Hao and brought the gifts before heading over.

Grandpa Chang didn’t come this time because he had to tend to the cows in the afternoon.

When they arrived at the Cai Mansion, Chang Hao went to play with Cai Yunwei.

After a while, Cai Chenxi arrived in the hall. Yu Qingze was surprised and asked, “Young Master Cai, have you finished your exams?” Last time they met, they had mentioned that Cai Chenxi would be taking the provincial examination in August. If he was in Tongshan City now, it was likely that he had finished his exams.

Cai Chenxi smiled and replied, “Yes, I finished two days ago. When I got home, my mother told me that you would be coming to the mansion today, so I immediately took a carriage back.”

Old Master Cai jokingly teased his eldest grandson, “He, after days of exams, he didn’t even rest properly. He quickly freshened up and rushed back, afraid that he would miss out on the food you cook. Fortunately, he has a strong constitution; otherwise, he would have fainted.”

Yu Qingze smiled, realizing that they still remembered his culinary skills.

He said, “Then I’ll make a nourishing soup to help Young Master recover.”

“Thank you for your trouble, Xiao Yu.” Madam Cai walked over, took Brother Le’s hand, and smiled, “By the way, I heard from Mi Geโ€™er that you two are engaged?”

Blushing, Brother Le nodded.

Madam Cai happily exclaimed, “That’s wonderful! Come here, Brother Le, this is a betrothal gift from us. Congratulations to both of you!” As he spoke, Madam Cai took out a jade pendant and tried to put it into Brother Le’s hand.

Seeing this, Brother Le quickly shook his hand to refuse. This Madam Cai, why did he always bring him gifts every time they met, and such valuable ones at that? It was too overwhelming.

“Take it. Engagement is a big event, a joyous occasion. Keep it well,” Madam Cai insisted, taking Brother Le’s hand and placing the pendant in his palm.

Helplessly, Brother Le looked towards Yu Qingze.

Yu Qingze was also helpless, and he said to Madam Cai, “Madam, this gift is too valuable…”

Before he could finish, Madam Cai joked, “Xiao Yu, this is just a small token of affection from us. The marriage hasn’t happened yet, and you’re already trying to manage everything?”

“Madam, please…” Yu Qingze sighed helplessly and said, “Alright, I won’t say anything.”

Upon hearing this, everyone burst into laughter. Brother Le could only accept the gift reluctantly.

Madam Cai then asked, “When will the wedding be? You must let us know so we can attend.”

“Not so soon, probably around February or March next year,” Yu Qingze replied. He scratched his head, looking embarrassed, and said, “Earlier, I spent all the money I earned recently on buying land for registration. I need to save up again. Once I have enough money to build a house, then we can get married.”

Upon hearing this, Madam Cai asked, “How much silver did you spend on buying the land?”

Yu Qingze replied, “Eighty taels.”

Madam Cai and Cai Chenxi exchanged a glance upon hearing this. Cai Chenxi subtly shook his head, and the grandfather and grandson secretly exchanged information.

Madam Cai frowned and said, “Why didn’t you come to us for help? If the old man had intervened, you wouldn’t have needed so much.”

Embarrassed, Yu Qingze answered, “Madam, I appreciate your intentions. But this matter is a small one, and I can handle it myself. It’s not necessary to trouble Old Master.”

Madam Cai sighed and said, “You’re too honest, really.”

Yu Qingze chuckled in response.

After Yu Qingze took Brother Le to the kitchen, Old Master Cai called Cai Chenxi into the study and asked, “How is your father’s side? Tongshan City is getting out of hand. Are they not ready yet?”

Cai Chenxi shook his head and replied, “I’m not sure about that. It should be almost ready, at the latest within a year.”

Old Master Cai sighed and said, “They have been preparing for quite a long time. Is everything secure this time?”

Cai Chenxi answered, “It should be. My father said they will uproot them completely this time.”

Old Master Cai nodded and said, “That’s how it should be. Tongshan City has become so chaotic that I dare not go out for a stroll, fearing to hear all sorts of things.”

Cai Chenxi stepped forward to comfort his grandfather and said, “Grandfather, don’t worry. Father and the others will handle it.”

Old Master Cai felt a little relieved and asked, “How did you perform in the examination?”

“It was alright.”

“What about Tianrui?”

“It’s also pretty good.”

“That’s good. Why didn’t he come with you?”

“His health isn’t as good as mine. After the exam, he went back to rest.”

“Oh.”

“…”

๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ

Thandar: Maybe MC should start a catering business.

6 Comments

  1. IceCreamThrift says:

    Thank you for the update <3 <3 <3

    1. Thingyan says:

      New chapter coming out every other day ๐Ÿ™โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿฅฐ

    2. Iron Thandar says:

      Thank you for your support ๐Ÿฅฐ

  2. sissilia says:

    Thank you for the update โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฏ

  3. yousseffathalli33 says:

    Thx for the update

  4. Aprillen says:

    Thank you for the chapter!

    CL really needs to stop running away as soon as YQZ teases him (but YQZ is also a bit mean for teasing him) ๐Ÿ˜„

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