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During his voyage to China and his stay there, Temeraire grew very fond of the Chinese style of cooking. In order to be able to provide him with Chinese dishes, Laurence employed two cooks, Gong Su and Jing Chao, to return from Macao with him and Temeraire to Britain.
Gong Su almost turned back when the omen he received at the Jiayu Gate told him he would never return to China. However, Laurence persuaded him to continue with the rest of the party, and it was Jing Chao who absconded.
Gong Su's skills proved quite useful in several respects on the journey across Asia and Europe to Britain. He figured out ways to make unappetizing foods (e.g. camel) more palatable. When supplies of food were scarce for both dragons and humans, Gong Su stretched them out by creating soups and stews. He also knew how to improvise ovens so that food could be cooked without creating smoke that would give away Temeraire's position to the enemy.
By the time Temeraire, Laurence and the crew reached Britain in December 1806, every dragon in the Aerial Corps had been struck down by the Dragon Plague. Gong Su was promptly put to work creating spicy dishes that would tempt the sick dragons to eat despite their dulled sense of taste, a symptom of the plague.
Gong Su accompanied Temeraire, Laurence and the rest of Lily's formation to Cape Town to find a cure for the plague. The other dragons were so ill and spent so much time sleeping that Temeraire felt that eating while they were asleep was like sneaking food behind their backs. He started refusing to eat himself. It was only when Gong Su, insulted by Temeraire's lack of appetite, gave notice that he was quitting that Temeraire was persuaded to explain the problem. After this, he was given his food in smaller meals throughout the day, and everyone was happier.
When Gong Su reached Cape Town, he was at first dismayed to learn that he was expected to recreate the dish that had cured Temeraire of the plague during his voyage to China. This dish had been created by the Imperial cooks travelling with Prince Yongxing, who were from northern China. The style of cooking in southern China, where Gong Su hailed from, was quite different. Ultimately, however, the cure was found, and Lily's formation was able to bring it back to Britain.
After Laurence was convicted of treason, Gong Su was taken into employment by Laurence's mother, Lady Allendale. However, when Laurence and Temeraire rejoined the Aerial Corps during Napoleon's invasion of Britain, Gong Su came with them. His skills in stretching out sparse supplies into meals for many dragons again proved useful. Temeraire much appreciated this, as the British herdsmen's attempt to make soup for the dragons had resulted in a lumpy, overcooked mess that appealed only to Gentius, an ancient dragon with very few teeth left.
Gong Su stayed with Temeraire through the French occupation, his journey to Australia and brief respite there and later to South America. All this while, he was a loyal and dependable member of Temeraire's crew. But when the mission to restore peace in Rio was concluded, Gong Su revealed that he had been in contact with the Crown Prince of China (going so far as to refer to Prince Mianning as "his master") who wished for Laurence and Temeraire to return. Laurence was dismayed to learn that Gong Su may have been reporting back on his movements the entire time, and considered it a betrayal. Temeraire, on the other hand, was happy to be invited back to China.