Chapter 68: Seek Confirmation
Ye Jiayao began to busy herself with tasks as soon as she reached Heavenly Residence. Today, she wanted to experiment with the extraction of agar and cream.
Zhong Xiang bought all of the euchema, seaweed, and Gracilaria in the market – a whole truckload of them.
That gave Manager Qian a fright, but after hearing that Li Yao was going to use it, he left them alone.
Everyone worked together as they washed the vegetables and soaked them in some soda. The huge basins took up all the space in front of the kitchen and in the courtyard.
Ye Jiayao and Zhong Xiang were extracting cream in front of the stove while Deng Haichuan was in charge of keeping the fire burning. Whenever the milk would come to a boil, a layer of fat would float to the surface. With a fine cotton ladle, Ye Jiayao would take them out then wait for the next batch of fat to float to the surface before scooping them up again.
Zhong Xiang frowned as he watched Li Yao. “The extraction of these two things seems to be a little expensive. Are you sure you can make a profit from this?”
Ye Jiayao replied, “Don’t worry, I’m positive we’ll make big bucks from this.”
In this era, no?one has tried the ice cream mooncake. They certainly haven’t seen a crystal mooncake. Such novel food would be a hit with the wealthy people in Jin Ling. Their money would allow them to satisfy their curiosity.
“There are icehouses in the city, right?” Ye Jiayao asked him.
Zhong Xiang answered, “Yes, there are 16. 12 of them are run by the government, provided especially for the palace and other princes and officials. The other four are run by civilians for the use of wealthy people.”
“Are the ice run by the government for sale?”
Ye Jiayao knew that the quality of the ice in the icehouses run by the government and by the civilians was different. Usually, the ones run by the government were brick kiln, therefore, the ice inside was purer. The ones run by civilians were earthen kilns so it was difficult to guarantee the quality of the ice. It basically just satisfies the function of reducing temperature and freezing food.
“Yes, they’re for sale, but people usually do not have the qualification to buy them. Even officials only have a fixed amount of ice that they can buy. Some of the wealthy people build a little icehouse in their residence, though. It’s just for the use of their family and there aren’t really many of them,” Zhong Xiang explained.
Ye Jiayao was surprised at how much he knew.
“How much are the ice in the ones run by the civilian?
“It depends on the weather. If it is especially hot, 100 catty of ice can go up to 10 taels, but for a normal day, it is usually just around five taels. Why, do you need ice to make this thing?” Zhong Xiang smacked his lips, thinking of how expensive the end product would be.
Ye Jiayao answered, “Only for storing the food. Get someone to buy 100 catty, that should be enough for now.”
For the time being, she would use the civilian-run ones. When the new product is fully developed, she would just find connections to get the government-run ones.
There were only able to extract one small basin of cream from the four buckets of milk that Deng Haichuan carried over.
Deng Haichuan worriedly asked, “What do we do with all these milk?”
“Don’t fret, it won’t be wasted.” Ye Jiayao replied. “Get someone to tell Manager Qian that there will be a few new drinks in today’s menu – iced double milk, iced pink lady,?and iced peach milk.”
“Cui Dongpeng, go buy 20 catty of bananas and eight big watermelons.”
“Brother Xiang, help me make some glutinous rice balls. We’ll use tomato juice, vegetable juice, and some purple cabbage juice. The size of the balls should be smaller than nails.”
“Tell Little Lu and Ah Xing to advertise to the customers these few drinks today.”
Ye Jiayao gave orders smoothly. The advantage of being the head chef was that she could call the shots in the kitchen without anyone questioning her.
Shopkeeper Li heard that there were a few drinks added to the menu and they were all iced. He found that smart since on such a hot day, everyone would be craving for some refreshing ice-cold drinks. He wondered what kind of drinks would Li Yao make. They all have such interesting names, especially the iced pink lady, and he was very intrigued.
Shopkeeper Li came to the kitchen to personally find out what was going on.
He first saw Wang Mingde and Cui Dongpeng pounding something on the table, which he found upon closer inspection, were bananas and watermelons. They seemed to be separately making a banana mash and watermelon juice. Zhong Xiang was at the corner making small glutinous riceballs of various colors.
“Li Yao, where is that pink lady?” Shopkeeper Li asked curiously.
Ye Jiayao pointed at Cui Dongpeng and said, “He’s making it.”
Shopkeeper Li scratched his head, a little worried. Li Yao was full of antics, giving an alluring name to a simple watermelon milk. What would the customers say? He wouldn’t actually care as long as this gets him more money.
All the customers this afternoon ordered drinks as expected. There were very few restaurants that carried iced drinks, and those that do, only served iced plum juice, iced white fungus or lotus seed soup. Everyone was sick of them. The drinks that Heavenly Residence was serving have such novel names, especially the iced pink lady, and the customers were expectant.
The waiter served the drinks in no time.
The iced double milk was served in a top grade Long Quan ceramic bowl. The iced pink lady was dished up in a small, expensive crystal bowl, while the iced peach milk was placed in an exquisite little bowl with a pink and white base.
They all looked exquisite and Ye Jiayao knew that these alone would increase their grade.
The iced double milk was slightly yellow in color, carrying a strong fragrance of milk and a hint of banana. It tasted smooth and the combination of the fragrances made the drink dance between the line of mellow and rich.
The iced pink lady has an alluring pink color of the watermelon juice and tasted as fresh as a 16-year-old beautiful woman.
The iced peach milk?was pure white milk dotted with?small squares of yellow peach in the middle. The combination of the colors yellow and white makes bodily fluids rise.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
The drinks weren’t as simple as it seemed, however. With the scoop of a small silver spoon, the customers would find out that the drinks contained translucent glutinous rice balls of different colors. These rice balls looked cute but were also soft and chewy.
Everyone in Heavenly Residence, from Shopkeeper Li to the runners and waiters, were nervously waiting for the reaction of the first customer who ordered the drinks.
It was only Ye Jiayao who seemed unperturbed, she was focused on cooking dishes like it was just a normal workday.
After what felt like an hour, Ah Xing walked out from the suite, smiling. He gave them a thumbs up and said, “There are customers who want another bowl.”
Shopkeeper Li heaved a long sigh of relief and said happily, “Go get them.”
The news spread to the kitchen and everyone cheered. Brother Yao was indeed full of ideas. Not only did he solve the problem of the leftover milk, he also managed to earn more money. They were even more impressed by him.
Ye Jiayao pouted. She only made the simplest of drinks, what more if she was done making ice cream? They would surely go gaga over it. She wondered how much would it sell for. Haagen Dazs in the modern times was so expensive, but there were still people who buy it because it was marked as top-grade. The brand had become a form of fashion and a symbolism of status that’s why everyone scrambled for it despite its hefty price tag.
69 bowls of drinks were sold at lunchtime. Customers started coming in continuously just for drinks alone, and they managed to sell 20 more bowls. It was apparent that the news spread quickly over the city.
Shopkeeper Li was smiling so much, his eyes almost disappeared.
“Shopkeeper Li, the remaining ingredients should be enough for another 70 to 80 bowls, but the milk and fruits are bought with my money,”?Ye Jiayao informed him.
Shopkeeper Li smiled and said, “Claim however much you used from the restaurant. From tomorrow onwards, whatever ingredients you need, the restaurant will pay for them.”
Ye Jiayao calculated loudly, “There is a total of three buckets of milk, a bucket costs six taels, including the transportation fee, it should be 20 taels, the fruits cost five taels, the ice also cost five taels, and the vegetables and all cost eight taels, including the transportation fee…”
“Alright, stop that. Go to the accounts room and get 50 taels,” Shopkeeper Li said generously. Li Yao has smartly thought of this money-making and reputation-building method, a capital of 50 taels could easily be tripled.
Ye Jiayao did not expect Shopkeeper Li to be so generous. Well, he was going to be earning a big profit from this, so she readily accepted his offer. A few more taels would mean that she could buy a few more clothes.
“Li Yao, prepare more ingredients tomorrow. I reckon there will be more people coming,” Shopkeeper Li reminded her.
The people in Jin Ling liked to chase novel things and good food. This was sure to be an even bigger hit tomorrow. They might just hit the sales of 300 to 400 bowls.
“Brother Yao, Young Royal Highness Jing is looking for you,” Ah Xing reported.
Ye Jiayao told Shopkeeper Li, “I know there would be more demand tomorrow, but if we only sell 200 a day, people will find the stuff precious. It wouldn’t be something that they could have anytime they want. The more that they can’t have it, the more that they’d want it. They’re going to come here every day, not just for the drinks, but also for the other foods. Do you agree with me, Shopkeeper?
Shopkeeper Li seemed to be speechless.
Ye Jiayao bowed and said, “Okay, I’ll take a leave first.”
Shopkeeper Li pondered over what Li Yao has said, and the more thought he gave it, the more he realized how right Li Yao was. That is the human nature – the easier you get it, the less you will appreciate it.??Wow! This little fellow is better at running a business than I am!
Ye Jiayao has actually a lot more tips in running a business, but she can’t share them all because she was still thinking of opening her own restaurant!
“Young Royal Highness, what brings you here?” In front of outsiders, Ye Jiayao still abides by the rules and addresses Little Jing properly.
Helian Jing’s gaze flickered. “I have some matters to ask you.”
He managed to sneak out, after much difficulty, but he could not stay out for long. This was what his life came to, sneaking out like a thief. In the past, he was able to come and go as he pleased, staying out however long he wanted.
Ye Jiayao told Ah Xing, “Get Brother Xiang to make a bowl of iced double milk, put it on my tab.”
Both of them headed to the Lotus Suite to talk.
Helian Jing has spent almost the entire day thinking of how he should confront him. He hated how suspicious he was being. He was like a nagging woman! However, what Zhao Qixuan had said made sense. He has the right to find out what was going on.
“Big Yaoyao, I came in a rush yesterday and I did not have the chance to ask how have you been these past few days,” Helian Jing stuttered.
“I am doing fine. I’ll let you try my latest invention, the iced double milk.” Ye Jiayao smiled, hoping to put him at ease as Little Jing seemed to be a tad agitated.
Helian Jing hesitated for a second before asking, “You fell into the water the day before, are you okay?”
Ye Jiayao spread her arms wide and said, “Take a look at me. Don’t I look okay?”
“Then… then who saved you? I must thank him.”
Ye Jiayao pouted and answered, “It is the Jing An Marquis’ Heir-son Lord, he happened to pass by.”
Dumb Donkey didn’t save her. She jumped on her own to get away from his demanding, meddlesome self. If it wasn’t for him, she wouldn’t have jumped in the river.
Helian Jing said absent-mindedly, “Oh, so it is Brother Chunyu! What a coincidence.”
“Yeah, it is quite a coincidence,” Ye Jiayao agreed drily.
“No wonder Zhao Qixuan said that he saw you and Brother Chunyu touring the Qin Huai river last night. I thought he was just spouting nonsense!” Helian Jing observed Big Yaoyao’s expression carefully.