Every year the World Association of Chinese Cuisine has a cooking competition, and this year they created a rookie competition.
The "mystery" ingredient was beef, but statusq (and a Hindu contestant) had already declared they would rather be skewered than touch animal flesh.
So he prepared instead Buddha's Delight and a traditional Chinese dish of spicy sour shredded potatoes, neither of which he'd attempted before.
The six chefs and their assistants navigated a disastrously cluttered and dirty prep area, rinsing off vegetables in brown water, peeling, slicing and grating against the clock.
The crowd roared as the six chefs fired up their monstrously industrial hotplates. The audience quickly realized that statusq's Buddha's Delight was nothing more than a trumped up stirfry, but they were so wowed by the bright colours splayed out on a bed of napa cabbage leaves that they cheered anyhow. Statusq threw the dish onto the adjacent table so he could start frying his Sichuan peppers.
Crowds of who-knows-who were milling about, taking down extra stoves and tables and stuff. (The day at the food exhibition was almost over), but the contestants stayed focused.
Then at the end, statusq threw a few sticks of asparagus onto the side of the plate for colour and held the dish up for all to admire.
Contestants had been asked to prepare 8 servings of food. (4 for judges, 2 for people, and 2 for display), but in the end just one judge took a bite of each dish.
Unfortunately, statusq's Buddha's Delight had disappeared, probably thrown away by somebody moving tables.
The judge chose an Eastern European woman's 2 dishes as 1st and 2nd best (the one dish honestly looking like someone yakked on a pile of noodles), before announcing that statusq's potatoes were indeed the only dish there worthy of being given the prize of THIRD place.
Then the crowd, led by Xi Jinping himself hoisted statusq onto its shoulders and paraded him around Tiananmen Square.
It's the least they coud do since there were no prizes or anything.
(thanks to Yoyo for teaching statusq how to make the potato dish. It's actually better when she makes it).