Mr. Song was going to establish a school!
On the sixth day of the Lunar New Year, the main room of the Song family courtyard residence was full of people. Tao Mu called everyone together to discuss the idea of running a school under the Song Ji brand.
“This sounds good!” Qin Miaoru patted her thigh and was the first to agree: “Mr. Song is so good at cooking, and Song Ji’s brand is also very notable. Establishing a school at this juncture just happens to rub off on the current heat on the Internet. Let Xiao Mu publicize it on FlyNews.com, and there will definitely be many people willing to sign up. At that time, Mr. Song will have disciples and grand-disciples all over the world, and all the good cooks in China will be from Song Ji. Let’s see if they dare to say that the Song family will die out without a successor.”
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The current editor-in-chief of FlyNews.com’s entertainment department, Da Fei, who once wanted to recognize old man Song as his godfather, also slapped his hands and cheered: “I also think this can be done. Aren’t Yao Shengan and the Sheng’an Group just relying on their large numbers to bully Song Ji. Now after opening a school and cultivating some students, training them to be good cooks, let them open Song Ji branch restaurants all over the country. We can also try to get Song Ji floated on the stock market as well. Push them out of the consumer market.”
In contrast, Liu Yao and Meng Qi’s thinking was much more realistic.
“It’s a good thing to establish a school. The Song family is upright and honest, and Song Ji is a century-old brand. If it can be passed down in this way, it will be a really good thing indeed.” Meng Qi said with a smile, “It’s just, about the teachers and teaching materials. Mister is getting old. If he really taught on the front lines, I am afraid that his energy will not be enough. Besides, it will also be too busy with just himself. It will be great if we can find other senior brothers and sisters of Song Ji.”
Tao Mu turned to look at the old man Song: “I remember that old Mr. Song accepted a total of two disciples at that time. Besides Yao Shengan, there was also a second disciple, called Wang Yipin, right? Can you still find this senior uncle now?”
The old man Song shook his head slowly: “He is long gone.” The Song family was not a big family, and after the disaster that year, the senior brothers and sisters in the same sect also died and scattered. In the years after Mr. Song returned to Beijing from the farm, he also inquired about the whereabouts of the other people. It was a pity that most of those senior brothers and sisters were much older than him. Some didn’t make it through that era. Some of them survived to their 70s and 80s, but they all also passed away one by one. The remaining family members of those senior brothers and sisters were fine at first, but as time passed, they gradually lost contact.
Song Daozhen was the only one left to guard the Song Ji plaque, quietly waiting for when he would also pass away and take the Song Ji plaque into the coffin with him.
But Song Daozhen did not expect that one day, he would have the opportunity to revitalize Song Ji.
“Although there were not many direct disciples of the Song family, Song Ji also trained a lot of apprentices. These apprentices were recorded disciples rather than direct disciples. Because of their poor talent, they were not included in the Song family’s direct teaching. They were not allowed to use the Song Ji signboard when selling food. Just don’t know if these people are still alive and if so, will they like to be teachers?”
Song Daozhen said this, but in fact he held no hope. At the beginning, the Song family disliked these people’s low talent, and did not allow them to use the Song Ji name even though they passed on their craftsmanship to them. So those people may not have any feelings for Song Ji. Of course, they would also have no obligation to revitalize Song Ji. Besides, the Song family looked down on them back then, but now that Song Ji had declined, they now thought of them again. Old man Song didn’t know whether those people would be agreeable or not.
Liu Yao frowned and said, “Actually, we don’t have to make things so complicated. It’s good to be able to recruit chefs who are related to Song Ji. Even if you can’t recruit them, it’s the same as recruiting chefs from outside. I remember that Wen Juxiang’s boss also studied at Song Ji back then, right? Boss Wen has been engaged in the catering industry for so many years, and he should have contact with many chefs. We might as well ask him to help introduce a few reliable chefs, and then let Mr. Song check them out. If there is no problem, just invite them to be teachers at the chef school.”
This was also a solution. However, Tao Mu knew the knot in old man Song’s heart. The old man wanted to revitalize Song Ji, and of course he wanted to find someone who had a relationship with Song Ji. Otherwise, when the school was opened and yet none of the teachers who taught were really from Song Ji. It was estimated that the old man would not be able to overcome this hurdle.
“I’ll call Wen Bao, forget it, I’ll go directly to Wen Juxiang and talk to Uncle Wen.”
“That’s fine,” Liu Yao said, “I’ll walk around with your Xiao Qi Dad, and see where there are locations to set up the school. If it doesn’t work, let’s buy land and build a school by ourselves. Mr. Song can sort out the Song family’s rules at home, and the ways the Song family trained their apprentices back then. Let’s first write out a curriculum, but if that doesn’t work we can visit other chef training schools for reference.”
When the school site was selected, they could also carry out the school establishment procedures on the way. Liu Yao also had the old man stay at home and think about the name of the school. With Song Ji as the reference, whether it was called Song Ji Chef Training School, Song Ji Cooking Academy, or Song Ji Cooking Art or something…..this was a big deal.
Originally, Mr. Song was depressed and worried because of Yao Shengan’s shenanigans, but after being urged by Tao Mu and his dads, he was no longer in the mood to feel frustrated and worried. Holding the book of Song family’s family motto and rules, he wrote for several days in the small study, and finally named the school Song Ji Apprenticeship Training School.
Just like when the Song family opened a restaurant and taught apprentices craftsmanship, and then picked out the apprentices who were pleasing to the eye and passed the test as entry-level disciples. This was the inheritance of Song Ji, which was part of Song Ji’s tradition. And Song Daozhen was in charge of teaching apprentices back then.
From Song Daozhen’s point of view, the reason they founded the school now was to recruit apprentices and then select entry level disciples from the apprentices. So the name of the school described to a certain extent the traditional history of Song Ji passed down from generation to generation.
When Tao Mu and the others heard the name of this school, they all praised Song Daozhen for coming up with such a good name.
“Song Ji Apprenticeship Training School. That is to say, the students who graduate from this school are only just qualified apprentices of Song Ji. But what we have to do is to make it so that even just apprentices from Song Ji will be better than those professional chefs.” Qin Miaoru praised with thumbs up. Then she asked with some puzzlement: “Then how long will the training period take?”
The training period at a general chef school ranged from three months to two years. Qin Miaoru was particularly curious about Song Ji’s training time. If it was short, she was also ready to apply and learn a few skills.
Song Daozhen fell silent. When Song Ji trained apprentices back then, the rules were not strict. Because the apprentice was not an entry-level disciple, he could not use the Song Ji brand. So they were generally free to come and go. Some people studied hard for three years to five years, and some people quit after studying for a few months.
“How many years do chefs who can usually stay in the back kitchen of Song Ji have to train?” Tao Mu asked in a different way.
This time, Song Daozhen answered quickly: “At least three years.” Chinese dishes were exquisite in appearance, flavor, and aroma. If it was less than three years, one couldn’t even master the basic skills, and couldn’t even get a small kitchen job in Song Ji.
“Then it will be three semesters.” The same time as that of vocational colleges: “The systematic study time will be three years. But our Song Ji can provide kob distribution. All apprentices who graduate successfully can stay in the Song Ji back kitchen. Anyway, in the future we will be opening branches across the country, and are not afraid of having too many chefs, just afraid that there will not be enough.”
“What about tuition fees?” Da Fei, who had already become the editor-in-chief of the entertainment department of FlyNews.com, was still haunted by his dream of being a chef. He wanted to polish his cooking skills when he had some spare time from work.
Tao Mu was a little stuck: “…..First take some time to visit other training schools and get a reference.” He felt that with Song Ji’s brand name, at least it had to be on the high-end level, right?
Mr. Song said, “When the Song family taught apprentices craftsmanship back then, but in fact we didn’t ask for any fees. Our family just wanted more people to master a craft to support their livelihood and families. Of course, if we want to run a school now, we can’t teach for free. But I still don’t think it should be too expensive. Just enough to keep the school running. At least it should be affordable for most people. As for those who can’t afford it but really want to learn the craft, the school can also pay for them to learn the craft. Anyway, in the future they will be working in Song Ji.”
Compared with Tao Mu, who was a shrewd businessman, old man Song’s thinking was very simple. He always believed that the Song family’s cooking skills were priceless, but the apprentices were not considered the descendants of the Song family, nor could they learn the essence of the Song family’s cooking art. So if they charged too much money, it seemed a bit unfair.
Tao Mu scratched his eyebrows with some regret, but decided to follow the old man’s idea, after all, this was all to fulfill the old man’s wish.
Tao Mu had always been resolute and decisive. After discussing with the old man about establishing a school, that afternoon he took the old man to Wen Juxiang to eat Mongolian hot pot, and on the way consult on the teaching staff part.
Boss Wen was Song Ji’s apprentice back then. It was also with the imparted skills that Wen Juxiang was opened. Now he was also a respectable boss himself. In fact, he was especially grateful to the Song family for their kindness in passing on the cooking skills back then. It had been so many years, yet he hadn’t found a chance to repay. Now that he learned that the Song family wanted to open a school and pass on their skills, Boss Wen directly stated that he himself would like to become a teacher at the school.
“Mr. Song, you don’t know. In fact, we apprentices are also very grateful to Song Ji. If Song Ji didn’t hand us the craft back then, we wouldn’t have the capital to start our own business. In fact, there are many apprentices of Song Ji who are all working as head chefs in major restaurants now. As long as you say a word, at least half of these people will be willing to come to the school to be a part-time teacher.”
Song Daozhen didn’t expect that he could hear such words from Boss Wen’s mouth. Looking at Song Daozhen’s appearance, Boss Wen gulped down some white wine and said sincerely: “Mr. Song, I know that us apprentices do not have much talent, and the Song family did not have much regard for us back then. And we were not allowed to use the Song Ji brand name. But no matter what you think of us, this craftsmanship has been passed down to us. The Song family had done good deeds for several lifetimes and taught so many apprentices. There are ungrateful bastards like Yao Shengan. But there are also many people who remember the kindness of the Song family.” He was one of them.
“Therefore, please don’t worry about this. Isn’t it just to be a teacher? Although we apprentices are not as skilled as you, we still have no problem in teaching students and sifting out good seedlings for you.”
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Boss Wen said so, and smiled again: “Speaking of this, I want to say one more thing. If you trust me, you can leave the specific matters of running the school to me. For example, the kitchen utensils and the ingredients needed. I can find cheap and good suppliers for you. And the materials that are used up every day, such as shredded potatoes, shredded radishes, etc., I can also help sell them. Although the money will not be much, it can avoid being too wasteful.”
Song Daozhen looked at Boss Wen several times. After a long while, he raised his glass and said, “Come, let’s drink together.”
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