For some reason, the former graduate judge is stubbornly refusing to reward imagination or initiative until overruled by his manager and compelled to participate in the competition. That raises the stakes, since if Soma can’t rescue Megumi, he’ll additionally be out of the esteemed school. Making everything about head-to-head contest certainly ratchets up the drama.
The supervisor has one great observation . He won’t let Soma be the one determining Megumi’s fate — since that would merely mean she’d if she wasn’t capable to triumph on her own skills wash out later. Although she’d never have spoken up in the face of power, now that she’s in this scenario, she has to show her own value.
The contests are the most enticing arenas to me. They’re where the play comes down to the essential question of “who wins”, plus, they’re the sections most focused on genuine food. I learn things about various cuisines and the best way to prepare and join ingredients, and the taste descriptions are ridiculously over the top. There are recipes!
How the book later provides an explanation for the judge’s conceit pleasantly surprised me. He’s a cautionary tale of putting the drive for success over everything else (even when stubbornness is needed in the face of bias). By comparison, Soma and Megumi’s relationship (as well as their other friends) will, we’re led to suppose, prevent Soma from making the same error.
This volume also sets up one where everyone singly competes to make a fresh egg dish for a fancy resort breakfast… after staying up all night, the next challenge! Commonly, we’ll find the results in the next book out.
Mercifully, the only essential fan service this time is on the cover. I imagine some people will buy the book for that reason, although I’m not certain why the need to advertise something that isn’t even reflective of the contents. I keep coming back for the food and the faceoffs. (The publisher provided a review copy.)