Based on this, the topic referred to one's heart being restless and unable to calm down.
But to cultivators, these words provided much food for thought and struck directly at the Dao Heart. When the Dao Heart wasn't firm, then one was unable to comprehend the Dao, and if the Dao didn't exist, then one would be unable to cultivate.
Simply speaking, it meant that if one wanted to cultivate, then one had to first firm the Dao Heart, because everything would be nonsense if the Dao Heart wasn't firm.
But if one were to cook these words into a dish and vividly portray the concept within it, the difficulty to accomplish such a thing was absolutely beyond imagination.
All of the spirit chefs in the hall were stunned when facing this topic.
They originally held the thoughts of watching the show as they wanted to see how this fellow, Chen Xi, who'd slipped in would embarrass himself in public. But all of them fell into deep contemplation when they saw this topic.
This topic was very difficult as it was ethereal and difficult to discern. Merely based on its meaning, it was very difficult to relate an unsettled mind and a dish, and it could be said that it was the most difficult topic to figure out in the entire second round.
If I were to have drawn this topic, then how should I prepare this dish?
All the spirit chefs were contemplating in silence.
On the seats of the hosts in the hall, all the elders of the Taotie Clan were sneering without end, and they felt extremely delighted in their hearts. If it wasn't for them having to mind their bearings, they truly wished for nothing more than to roar towards the sky.
They swore to the heavens that they'd absolutely never imagined that Chen Xi would actually draw this topic! It's truly an evil he brought on himself!
Tao Zhentian frowned instead, and he laughed bitterly without end in his heart. Only he knew of the topics in the second round, whereas the other elders hadn't even touched it, so it put a stop to any possibility of cheating. But he as well had never imagined that Chen Xi would actually be so unfortunate and draw the most difficult topic in the second round.
He was even slightly worried that Chen Xi would suspect that he'd intentionally made it difficult for Chen Xi through underhanded methods… If it was like this, then he would really be wrongly accused!
Because amongst these 100 topics, 99 of them were set by him, and it just so happened that this topic, Unsettled Mind, wasn't set by him!
Right when the thoughts of everyone within the hall were pondering swiftly, Chen Xi put down the paper and started making a move.
He started to select the ingredients he needed, and he only took a mere four types — Azure Serenity Spirit Fruit, 100 Fold Flame Ginseng, Gold Speckled Jade Liquid, and a type of spirit deer meat.
After that, he returned to the stove and started to prepare the ingredients.
His movements were meticulous and conscientious, swift like the wind, aggressive like flames, smooth and skilled, and he seemed immovable like a mountain, causing him to carry a profound and indescribable aura.
Merely this string of movements drew the attention of many gazes.
Everyone present had discerning gazes and had been developing their Culinary Dao for countless years, so they discerned with a single glance that everything Chen Xi revealed was attainments that had achieved the acme of perfection, and they couldn't be faked at all.
This caused the impression of most people towards Chen Xi to change. At the very least, just based on this, Chen Xi's display wasn't inferior to a true seven leaf spirit chef.
"What is he doing? He only selected four ingredients yet wants to cook a dish conforming to the topic, Unsettled Mind?" Someone muttered in a low voice and was slightly bewildered.
"Azure Serenity Spirit Fruit, 100 Fold Flame Ginseng. One is sweet and chilly, the other is pungent and hot, just like water and fire. According to the matching of the attributed of ingredients, they are conflicting, and this seems to be slightly bad."
"That Gold Speckled Jade Liquid is of the extreme Yin attribute as well, whereas that spirit deer meat is of the extreme Yang attribute. One is Yin and the other Yang, they are similarly conflicting attributes. Such a matching of ingredients… Haha."
"Oh, it really is very strange. If it wasn't for me seeing his technique of preparing ingredients is skillful to the extreme, I would truly suspect that he knows nothing about the Culinary Dao. How could any spirit chef in the world match ingredients like this?"
All the spirit chefs whispered in discussion, and all of them were bewildered by this scene and were unable to figure out what Chen Xi was doing.
"Everyone, it's better not to pass judgement too early. We should first hear what Master Qiu Feng has to say." Someone spoke out before cupping his hands respectfully to an old man at the side.
"Oh, right! Master Qiu Feng could be said to be the person that'd the most knowledgeable in the Culinary Dao, and his skill is extraordinary. Whether Chen Xi is the real thing can be determined by his judgment."
As they spoke, everyone shot their gazes towards the old man.
The old man wore a loose white robe, and he had grey hair and a sage-like bearing. He modestly declined when he heard this, and then pondered for a moment and said, "In my opinion, the selection of ingredients by this kid has probably gone through careful contemplation. One water, one fire, one Yin, one Yang, and someone that was ignorant of the Culinary Dao would absolutely be unable to select ingredients like this."
He paused for a moment and continued. "If I were to cook them, then I would similarly be able to fulfil the topic of 'Unsettled Mind' with these four ingredients. I only need to contain Yin within Water, extract Yang from within the fire, and then cook the 100 Fold Flame Ginseng and spirit deer meat with raging flames before cooking the Azure Serenity Spirit Fruit and Gold Specked Jade Liquid with Netherfrost Flames…"
"In the end, the spirit deer meat cooked with 100 Fold Flame Ginseng would be at the center, whereas, the Azure Serenity Spirit Fruit cooked with Gold Speckled Jade Liquid would be distributed in the surroundings to form a phenomenon where flames rose out of water yet never dispersed and Yin embraced Yang while Yang shot into the skies. Its taste would be so superb that it would be sufficient to cause one's mind to be unsettled and unable to control one's self." Master Qiu Feng spoke with confidence and as if it came easily to him, and it caused all the nearby spirit chefs to be dazed and click their tongues in admiration while feeling heartfelt admiration.
As expected of Master Qiu Feng, he dealt with the problem of water and fire, and Yin and Yang conflicting with each other in a few words, and he brought forth the spirit energy of the mere four ingredients to the limit. His method is so ingenious that it's unbelievable!
Even the elders of the Taotie Clan nodded their heads in secret because this method of cooking was indeed original and profound to the limit.
"Eh, he seems to have other thoughts," said someone with surprise.
Everyone was stunned and raised their eyes to look over. Sure enough, they noticed that Chen Xi had really started to cook, but the method he utilized was completely different to Master Qiu Feng.
"Hmph! If he were to cook just like the answer Master Qiu Feng gave, then wouldn't it mean that his culinary skill can compare to Master Qiu Feng? Is that possible?" Someone refuted.
"Right, he's so young, so even if he has grasped the Culinary Dao, it's absolutely impossible for him to compare with Master Qiu Feng."
"Haha, I can already predict that so long as the Taotie Clan doesn't do anything underhanded, then this kid will surely lose in this second round of the competition!"
"So in this way, the first place in the second round belongs to Master Qiu Feng?"
"Is there any doubt about this?"
Everyone started discussing, and they didn't pay attention to every move Chen Xi made any longer. On the other hand, they started to inquire about the final outcome of the second round with each other, and all of them looked extremely favorably upon Master Qiu Feng.
Qiu Feng stroked his beard with a smile on his face while he acted modestly, yet he couldn't help but be complacent and smug in his heart.
He'd gone into closed door cultivation for 20 years to study the Culinary Dao in detail, and he was only a step away from becoming a Grandmaster Spirit Chef. He'd participated in the Spirit Chef Gold Rankings this time firstly for the sake of observing the culinary skill of others, and secondly for the sake of feeling pride and satisfaction.
According to the situation before him, he was entirely capable of easily advancing to the final round, and this was beyond all doubt. He only cared about who would gain the first place in the competition.
Right at this moment, his gaze glanced over inadvertently, and his pupils instantly constricted while the grin on his face froze slightly when he saw Chen Xi's cooking technique.
At this moment, it wasn't just Qiu Feng, the eyes of Tao Zhentian who sat at the head seat focused as well as he stared fixedly at Chen Xi while revealing a shocked expression.
In next to no time, those spirit chefs that were jubilantly discussing the rankings of the second round noticed the unusual expression Master Qiu Feng revealed, and besides being slightly astounded, they couldn't help but shoot their gazes at Chen Xi. After that, their smiles froze on their faces as they revealed expressions of shock.
This sort of strange atmosphere spread out like silent wave and stretched throughout the entire hall, causing the hall to be perfectly silent in practically a moment.
The atmosphere was silent to the extreme, and there was only the hissing sounds of the spirit flames as Chen Xi cooked.
Chen Xi's mind was empty as he concentrated on the stove before him, and his powerful Divine Sense was like the myriad of tentacles possessed by an octopus as it acutely and smoothly controlled the changes in the spirit flame.
His movements seemed as if they'd been measured before. They were precise, clean, and simple, yet they carried rhythm that flowed like water or like a skilled butcher cleaning up an ox.
Spirit flame, ingredients, utensils… Under the control of his hands, a miraculous change was produced, and it wasn't like he was cooking but like he was completing a work of art, causing it to be filled with wonderful visual enjoyment.
Within the iron wok, hot air curled up while the glimmer of oil flowed about, and it emitted hissing sounds as strands of tempting fragrance that seemed to be able to bore its way into the depths of one's soul effused out.
He was so concentrated, yet it just so happened that numerous scenes from the past frequently appeared within his mind. Learning in Pine Mist City, the trials within the Southern Barbaric Mountain Range, annihilating the Li Clan, the Hidden Dragon Rankings, annihilating the Su Clan, the Allstar Meeting, the Primeval Battlefield, joining the Nine Radiance Sword Sect, the Dark Parasol's Abyss…
The distant past, the upheaval and hardships he faced, the fluttering of blades and blood, the mix of tears and death, the bumpy path and thorns all along the way. Has it only tempered his cultivation?
It had also tempered a heart that sought the Dao!
If one asked the sages and gods since time immemorial about how to attain the Dao, then it would only be by subduing one's heart!
If the heart was calm, all thoughts would soar, and it would be like the reflection of the moon within a well, impossible to be disturbed.
It one's intent was stable, then the hell in the eyes of others would be heaven in one's own eyes, and one's mind would be unrestrained.
Chen Xi's current state of mind could already be considered to be utterly settled, it followed his will yet didn't conformed to morals, free, and unrestrained, causing impulse and illusions to be unable to disturb his heart.
In less than 15 minutes, a dish had appeared. The dish was very simple like an ordinary plate of meat sautéed with green peppers. But when one looked at it, the sky above the dish was suffused with two completely different phenomena.
One was a ghastly and terrifying realm of fiends where Heavenly Fiends fluttered about and vengeful spirits howled, and there were even horrifying scenes like a river of blood and bones and purgatory.
The other was a paradise, its ground was covered in gold while flowers fluttered down from the sky. A dragon and phoenix flew about and brought prosperity while golden lotuses sprouted up from the ground, and it was filled with light and radiance.
These two phenomena weren't incapable of fitting together, and they transformed each other instead. It was like the circulation of Yin and Yang, the mixing of water and fire, and it carried a visual impact that shocked the heart.
Everyone was shocked, and the hall was deathly silent.
They were faintly capable of hearing an imperceptible chanting of the Dao —
When the heart isn't pure, it's impossible to differentiate between immortal and devil.
When the intent isn't fixed, then good and evil is impossible to distinguish!