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7 points. That was the best Jo Minjoon could get right now. It was a rather low score compared to 10 points, however Jo Minjoon felt by instinct. That whenever the score went up by 1, the difference would not be a mere point.

For the past 15 days, Jo Minjoon tried many restaurants of New York. Among them were two places that had received Michelin stars. One was a two star, and the other a one star. Both places were so famous that if you were a resident, you couldn’t not know about it.

However there were no cookings that had 10 points. They were mostly 8 points, and sometimes even a 7 points appeared. Also there was a 9 points dish which probabilities of appearing were lower than the 7 points.

Precisely speaking, Jo Minjoon could eat only one 9 points dish. And that was on the two star restaurant ‘East rabbit garden’. It was a restaurant that was soon expecting to get the three star.

And the 9 points dish he ate on that place was the best experience he couldn’t compare to anything on his life. It was a perfectly roasted sheep ribs with curry sauce.

Jo Minjoon never thought that he would be shocked by a dish on his entire life. He did think that he would be shocked by a disgusting dish. However he never thought that a dish so delicious would even make your marrow shocked. But he was wrong. Firstly, it was the unique harmonious aroma of the curry. When it flowed through the tongue and was going to get to the nose, the sheep ribs followed back. When it was seared, I mean, when the exterior of the sheep ribs was well roasted, it possessed an aroma unique to the sheep ribs and invaded your mouth. For the aroma to invade the mouth and not the nose was a really miraculous and trance like feeling.

When he got a hold of himself, he couldn’t enjoy the flavor properly and had already eaten all the sheep ribs. At that moment, the shock Jo Minjoon got wasn’t a normal one. How high the dimension of cooking could get, it was at that moment that he felt it clearly through his tongue.

That’s why Jo Minjoon didn’t frustrate himself  over getting 7 points on his dish. In the first place, he thought that was the ability he had right now. Perhaps it was the results of hard work. So it wasn’t a score to be frustrated over, but a score to be thankful to.
Jo Minjoon loaded the cart with the plate that contained the bream and went to the room where the judges were. Because of many participants going in and out, the broadcasting place was filled with food scents.

Jo Minjoon looked at each of the judges. The first one he looked at was Emily Potter. Precisely speaking, it was at the window that appeared next to her.

[Emily Potter]

Bakery level: 6

Decoration level: 6

It was a generally high level. He couldn’t help but sigh in amazement at the delicacies level. If it was at that level, eating the same food could be felt entirely differently.

Alan’s delicacies level was also 9. Differently, Joseph’s was only 8. Jo Minjoon thought that it was because of his age. If someone got through their forties, they would start to lose their sense of taste.

However, in the case of cooking, it was the contrary. Joseph’s cooking level was 9, and Alan’s was 8. Thinking at Joseph’s age it was understandable. He didn’t know well, but he would be near his sixties. Because he had 10 years more experience than Alan, it couldn’t be helped that his level was higher than his.

However at the same time, Jo Minjoon couldn’t help but wonder. If someone of world class like Joseph didn’t have a level 10 on cooking, then who did have a level 10? No, in the first place, would they even exist? It was at that moment Alan Craig said with a blunt voice.

“Minjoon. How long are you going to make us look at your face?”
“Ah, I’m sorry.”

Jo Minjoon, after tilting his head a little, picked the plate that contained the bream and went towards the table. Just as he left the bream on the table, the first to walk to the front was Alan. He had a slim and well built body. So just by looking at his looks you could tell that he was a perfectionist.

“Is it bream?”

“You will know that when you eat it.”

Alan replied with a picky attitude. That didn’t particularly hurt Jo Minjoon. He could clearly know through the broadcasts that he was originally that kind of chef. Although he didn’t know if it was his real character or just a concept.

Alan ate the Bream after slicing it with a knife. Jo Minjoon silently looked at him. It was a 7 points dish. He already knew that he hadn’t failed. There was no need for him to get nervous. If you knew how to properly judge a dish, this bream was a dish that didn’t deserve any criticism.

While Jo Minjoon was still looking at Alan, Alan cleaned his mouth with a napkin and went back. There wasn’t any comments, but Jo Minjoon’s face was as calm. After that was Emily Potter. She brought the bream to her mouth with an expression of expectation. And after closing her eyes, started to savour it. Although she had a poker face, Jo Minjoon couldn’t help but think that there was a smile formed on her face.

The last was Joseph Vincent. He couldn’t help but feel that from Joseph’s wrinkly face, Jo Minjoon could sense the aura of a master. At that moment, he couldn’t help but feel nervous. It wasn’t because he was afraid that Joseph would evaluate his dish frivolously. Now he was going to try his dish. One of the top chefs was going to try his dish. Even before reincarnating he was peeling garlics on a restaurant that didn’t even have a Michelin star. But now he was going to try his dish. Before Joseph tried it, he asked a question to Jo Minjoon.

“Do you think you cooked well?”

“Then if it is not delicious, means that you will have no future.”

Joseph said as if he was trying to scare him. However Jo Minjoon didn’t back off. Jo Minjoon replied with a calm voice. To say that his voice had strength, it’s tone was too low.

“It will be delicious.”
“Good. I hope that what you are saying is true.”

After Joseph said that, he ate the last bream whole. He savoured for a while, and after that, he smiled and went back to his place.

The three of the judges held a conversation. It was low to the point that Jo Minjoon couldn’t hear it. The conversation didn’t last long. After the judges nodded, they soon repositioned themselves. The first one to open his mouth was Alan.

“Minjoon. How do you think our evaluation will be?”

“On what basis?”
“If it was a failed dish, I wouldn’t have placed it on the plate in the first place.”

Alan smiled at what Jo Minjoon said and looked towards Emily. Emily continued the evaluation instead of Alan.

“Cooking the bream with the arroser technique was a really good selection. While I was chewing I could feel the aroma of the butter and the fish oil roam on my mouth”

“The pepper sauce was also good. Normally you would put  paprika sauce on the bream, but the spiciness of the pepper pulls a more unique flavor. It isn’t hard to eat, but it tenses the mouth necessarily so the flavor of the bream can be felt more clearly. I ate it well. So you passed.”

Emily smiled brightly and finished her evaluation. Alan that was next to her nodded and looked at Jo Minjoon..

“My opinion is the same as Emily’s. Personally I think it was the most delicious from fish variety’s. The pepper sauce that is on your signature menu, shows a color that only you can make. If I had to point that I was disappointed in,it would be the plating. It was very minor key and a typical plating. A cooking that has creativity, over decoration with no creativity. I’m sad that it’s a bit disappointing.”

“Good. Then I’ll relieve myself and pass you. Your decoration wasn’t so good, but Ii’ll say it again. Your cooking is delicious. Minjoon. You know how to give flavor to the food. It’s good if you have confidence.”

At that moment, Jo Minjoon smoldered and felt that something in his chest was rising. He felt that the frustrations and upsets he felt until now were eased by some words. Those were only words. But he was grateful and happy over those words.

Personally, he thought that those who shed tears on auditions were set up for the emotional parts. However, after coming to this place and listening to their compliments could Jo Minjoon, only then realise the meaning of the tears. It was as if his past life and passions were recognized. If those passions were real, he couldn’t help but shedding tears.

However Jo Minjoon didn’t cry. Even if those tears were real or not, to shed tears on a place like this was really seedy. He wanted to shed those tears when he was holding the winner’s trophy and holding the glory of Grand Chef.

Thankfully after Joseph opened his mouth, Jo Minjoon could relieve his feelings more easily. Joseph said with a soft tone.

“Minjoon. The first time you came here said that. That Grand Chef is going to be a nice stage. Now I can seem to agree with that. Grand Chef is a stage that exists for the sake of people like you. It’s your stage. I just hope that you can keep showing your skills in the incoming stages. I ate well. It was a good cooking. Minjon.”

After Joseph took some air, he said with a smile on his face.

“You passed.”

< Grand Chef preliminaries, and… (3) > End

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