Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 5
The food competition series continues with the results of the breakfast cook-off from volume 4. The students, after being up all night, have to successfully serve 200 plates of an egg dish to breakfast buffet customers.
Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma volume 5 once again provides cooking education along with its challenges. To satisfy a customer, a chef has to take into account how a dish will be served in order to keep it attractive in appearance and consistent in taste. The choices needed for a buffet are completely different from sit-down dining orders.
There’s a new character, Alice, a show-off who creates a totally ridiculous triple dish where what appear to be eggs are really asparagus, salmon roe, and a milkshake. It sounds amazing, but the reality of someone creating hundreds of these “molecular gastronomy” fancies reminds me that this is an overheated exaggeration of cooking. I kept confusing her with Erina, the girl with the super-sensitive taste buds and the power of her family running the school behind her. The character designs for these two women are very similar, but there’s a plot reason for it (only explained after I was totally confused).
Erina hasn’t been seen very often. It’s as though writer Yuto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki came up with her concept but aren’t sure what to do with her. The new plotline should resolve that problem, though, as Erina gets yet another rival, beyond our hero Soma. Where Soma often stands for the emotion behind honest cooking, Alice represents the future and technology, a clever contrast, and one in keeping with current trends.
Just as the kids think the crash-course cooking camp is over and they have a minute to catch their breath, a new challenge rears its head. The school’s Fall Classic will be another public tournament. But first, there’s a vacation weekend, during which Soma returns home to his family restaurant and neighborhood, where fellow chefs are losing business to a new fried chicken chain. Soma decides to help the street market folks take on the corporate behemoth, once again demonstrating creative thinking in how he solves the problem by considering his target audience.
Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma is very predictable, but due to the cooking knowledge, I find this version of the standard competition manga enjoyable. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)