6: Nobody didn't actually DIE, okay?! Please, don't sue us!
Chef Namimori was a competition held every year that was open to everyone, regardless of age and skill. It was separated into three categories: children, amateur, and pro. The pro competition was remarkably cutthroat considering the prize, which was pretty much just a giant chef's hat and a year of bragging rights. It wasn't to the level of the Underground – that was, nobody had ever actually died in Chef Namimori, but the intensity was still there.
Both Tsuna and Kyoko had first entered the competition when they were eight years old. See, the children's section was beloved by the audience who enjoyed watching cute, small kids cook somewhat passing blobs while it was abhorred by the judges who actually had to eat the blobs and pretend to smile and comment on how delicious it was and how talented the young cooks are. It was the same kind of routine every year. Until Tsuna and Kyoko came along.
It was something to be said to see two kids taking over the entire competition and reducing judges, audience members, and fellow competitors alike to tears. It was a disaster. It was awesome. Never before had anyone else seen a competition so intense that the two kids were fighting in hand-to-hand combat while they came up with dishes that showcased their talent at the same time.
Incidentally, they were banned from the children's section until they were old enough to join the amateur's at thirteen years old. Cooking skills vastly improved, they were determined to prove themselves against each other.
Remembering their names, the chairman and event coordinators glanced nervously at each other and unanimously decided to move the two up to the pro section.
"They're skilled enough," one tried to justify.
"Exactly! There are also more sponsors for the pros so they can easily pay off any reparations," said another.
"We had a hard enough time trying to dodge the lawsuit from last time," added another. Then more worriedly, "Would moving them up even be acceptable?"
"Silence!" The event coordinator for the pro competition stood up slowly, the windows casting a dramatic shadow over her features. Unknowingly to the others, she used to be a chef for a prominent mafia restaurant and sometimes it showed a little too zealously in the way she handled certain things. "There is no reason to hem and haw over this." She gave a sharp smile, "I will gladly accept those kids. After all… a true chef lies in the pure feelings of their food. Who says that delicious food is made only with love? No, that is WRONG!"
She banged her fist on the table, making everyone else in the room jump. "It's passion! Passion in our hearts! Passion in our regards! Those children… their passionate hatred for each other have created a miracle in their cooking! Passion – that is what drives humanity forward! Yes, perhaps that will create a change in this year's competition! Perhaps they will be the one to lead the others to the light! To going back to being real cooks! To true passion!"
Maybe this wasn't a good idea, the others thought as they watched the pro coordinator rant incoherently.
But it was done and Tsuna and Kyoko found themselves being able to participate in the pro competition.
There was something wrong here, Tsuna came to realize during the preliminaries. 'Wrong' as in ingredients going missing, knives being dulled down, and rusty pots and pans replacing the good ones. Looking over to the next stall, he could see Kyoko's shoulders tense. So, she was having the same problem?
He looked around. There were malevolent eyes on them and surrounding them. His hands clenched the front of his apron. This… this wasn't cooking. A true cook would never interfere with another cook's table. Their space. No, even though Tsuna hated Kyoko vehemently, she was also the person he respected the most. The only person he could acknowledge as his rival and he wouldn't try to sabotage her in such a cowardly way. Cooking was the only part of his life that Tsuna felt confident in and he wouldn't let the other contenders try to take that away.
He looked back at her and her eyes met his. She nodded. He smiled. Fine then, if the others were going to try to play them like this then they would blow them all away.
Literally, they had it coming. Tsuna grinned in satisfaction from hearing the screams of fear that the other pros were letting out while they continued to fly around in a whirlwind that Kyoko had created with her (Umami Tsunami!) technique.
Nobody was actually sure what to do with this blatant breaking of the law of physics, but first place went to Tsuna with Kyoko coming in a close second. They also managed to get along for a few more minutes to visit the losers and teach them a little lesson on why cooking should be respected.
It was the first time they worked together and everyone involved agreed that it should never happen again.
(Unfortunately for Tsuna, Kyoko would win the next Chef Namimori. He would blame Reborn. Reborn would mutter that their kind of relationship is something he wouldn't even try to touch, let alone hold him back from. 'Level of God', remember? Damn Iemitsu for not warning him)