It was an extraordinary experience dining at a Michelin 3-star restaurant.
In addition to serving bread to start the meals, there were also appetizers. Instead of the pickled cucumbers and relish served in regular restaurants, the restaurant's hors-d'oeuvres were black caviar with crab meat.
The beautiful and elegant waitress brought it over and introduced the dish as a token from the restaurant for its patrons to have a taste of.
This restaurant's specialty was French cuisine, and caviar had always been the pride of French recipes. The restaurant's gift of caviar was an indication of how premium a place it was.
There was a thick layer of caviar at the center of the plate. Under the soft glow from the light, the caviar was glisteninga sign of the finest caviar.
However, it wasn't only caviar on the plate. Otherwise, the expense would be too much and there would be no profit margin left for the restaurant.
The caviar formed only the top layer; underneath there was fresh crab meat. All the crab meat was arranged like carvings, resembling the layers of paper cuttings in Li Du's family home.
Roger invited Li Du to start eating. "Please have a taste, Li. The black caviar here is exceptional and not for sale. Only when you dine here will you be offered a complimentary portion of it."
Li Du took a piece of the croissant and spread some caviar and crab meat on it. This way, the aroma from the pastry complemented the freshness of the crab meat. The resulting taste of the two fusing together was very delectable.
As for the caviar, when Li Du but into it, he could feel the fish eggs popping in his mouth, but he couldn't taste anything delicious.
Soon, the starter was served. Li Du had ordered the truffle seafood salad. The dish was exquisite. It was not served on a plate but in a large shell.
It might be a salad but there was no salad dressing. In its place was a clear seafood jelly and cheese sauce, which was sprinkled with a layer of black truffle powder; it was a dish to be paired with champagne.
Having eaten this scrumptious salad, Li Du had to concede that Michelin 3-star restaurants were really worth the splurge.
Dining at such places was the epitome of living life and enjoying the finest cuisine there was. In comparison, dining at ordinary restaurants was simply for filling the bellies for survival.
Next was an English pea soup flavored with peppermint and pepper. Two servers were responsible for this bowl of soup. One server was in charge of putting the dish down onto the table. Once that was done, the other server poured the thick pea soup from a small jar into the fresh onion-flavored foam in the dish. It was assembled right before his eyes.
Every dish was unique, all of which were unfamiliar to Li Du's palate. For the main course, his order was a king's crabs in cream sauce, which came with a thin piece of gold foil as garnish.
During the meal, Roger dominated the conversation. They didn't talk about jewelry or business but spoke about fine cuisine.
In terms of managing the business, Cole's capability was considered average. But when it came to food, he was quite the connoisseur. Since middle school, other than spending his time studying, he had spent his time traveling around the world.
Naturally, he not only appreciated beautiful scenery and looked out for beautiful women, but also enjoyed delicious food.
Roger was someone who enjoyed the finer things in life; he was very particular about his food. Li Du loved life and was good at cooking. Hence, the three people chatted incessantly about the topic of food.
During the dinner, they discussed the flavors and textures of their choice of dishes. The servers heard their conversation and listened in on them from time to time.
When they finished dinner, the manager of the restaurant came over specially to offer them some complimentary dessert. He also checked in on how they felt about their meal and whether they had any suggestions.
Li Du thought everything was excellent. He told him that he had no further suggestions, and thanked them for their warm hospitality.
As a result, when they were about to leave after paying, the manager gave them some pastries for supper.
As he walked out of the restaurant, Li Du said, "The service at a Michelin 3-star restaurant is really outstanding. Great value for the money."
Cole laughed, "No, Li. I think they must have mistaken us for Michelin's food inspectors, and so put in extra effort to please us."
Michelin's rating of restaurants was done by a select group of food inspectors, who were known as "gourmet inspectors." When the inspectors visited a restaurant or a hotel to review it, they would need to be discreet about their visit and rating. However, they would often discuss the food at the table while they undertook professional reviews.
Perhaps today, the servers and manager of the restaurant had really misunderstood who they were.
In any case, Li Du was very satisfied with that evening's dinner.
Roger had arranged for him to stay at a hotel. There was no news about the gemstones all night but by the time they had lunch the next day, the result of the appraisal was ready.
The 600 pieces of fire opals were worth a total of 72 million US dollars; the average value of each gemstone was more than 100,000 dollars.
The reason why the value was so high was that in this pile were some remarkable ones of good qualityit was those which had contributed to the higher worth.
The opals that Li Du had gotten from Surgi and Hughes were relatively higher. They were worth about eight million dollars in total.
Having made about 70 million dollars in 20 days, Li Du felt that this was his chance to become the world's richest man. This meant that if he worked hard, he could earn a billion dollars within a year!
While he was immersed in this appealing thought, Cole's words interrupted his daydream. "Li, I don't know how you managed to get hold of so many precious gemstones. Firstly, I have to congratulate you. Next, I want to ask if you still intend to supply these stones to us in the future?"
With a tinge of pride, Li Du said, "Of course. As long as the group needs it, I can continue to provide the gemstones."
Cole shook his head. "Sorry, after this acquisition, the group won't be able to take in any more fire opals. Besides, if you continue to offer fire opals later on, we wouldn't be able to offer the prices we are offering now."
Dumbfounded, Li Du asked, "Why?"
"Because the market would be saturated then. The fire opal is not a gemstone that is popular globally. It has only has market value in Europe and the US. If we continue to push them out, its value will keep decreasing," Cole explained.
Li Du understood what he meant: things that were rare had higher value. Because of its scarcity, the fire opals could fetch high prices repeatedly. When it was no longer so rare, it would not be able to retain the value.
But what he didn't understand was, "In terms of the whole European and American market, this shouldn't be that big a quantity, right? How could this affect the market pricing?"
"If you base it on the 365 days in a year, it's not much. But in terms of a one-time launch, it's sufficient to bring about a certain impact on the market," Cole explained.
Li Du nodded to express his understanding.
He had understood what Cole's unspoken words were. The truth was that Harry Winston didn't have the ability to continue buying the fire opals. On the other hand, the other luxury companies would still have the purchasing power to do so.
Cole didn't dwell on this topic. He asked again, "Li, as far as I know, you're currently acquiring the shares of the group, right?"
Li Du nodded. "Yes. I have great confidence in the company's growth."
Hearing that, Cole smiled and said, "I'm very glad to hear of your positive view. I would like to know, what would you be doing with the money you gain from selling these gemstones? Are you using all of it to buy the group's shares?"
"Yes." As he had nothing to hide, Li Du gave his answer frankly.
Cole's smile widened. "Then are you interested in buying my shares?"