The live broadcast was over. The last message in the chat window was [I'm hungry]. The meal, and the competition was over. It was when the staff and producers were all about to leave the room. Samuel spoke to Rachel with a serious look on his face.
"Rachel. If it's okay …… can we speak in private?"
"I'm okay but……"
Rachel turned to look at Martin. Martin nodded his head yes, as if to say it was okay. Samuel started to speak with a slightly brighter expression on his face.
"I will not take much of your time. Please come this way. I will escort you there."
Samuel took Rachel to the empty room next door. Rachel casually walked and sat down on a chair. Samuel sat down next to her but remained silent. Was it difficult to even speak about it? Samuel's clasped hands were shaking and his tongue just continued to wet his lips. In the end, Rachel was the first to speak.
"If you continue being silent like this, saying you won't take much of my time will end up a lie, no?"
"I'm sorry. I'm not sure how I should start……"
"I will help you. First of all, what is it you want to say? Is it a question? A request? If it's not even that, is there something you need to let me know?"
"…..If I really had to classify it, it would be a question. At the same time, a request as well. My restaurant…… how was it?"
"You looked extremely serious so I was wondering what it was, but you asked that already during the broadcast, didn't you?"
"I was curious as to what your answer would be when there were no cameras around."
Samuel's eyes were serious. Rachel looked at him like she couldn't understand.
"Samuel. You are the head chef of a three star restaurant. Why does a chef, who is at the pinnacle that the rest of the chefs in the world wish for, care so much about something like my response?"
"……Not all head chefs of three star restaurants are the same. If you were just an average chef, I would not be asking this question. I would not want to show you my weak side. However, you are Rachel Rose. Together with Daniel Rose, you are every Western cuisine chef's legend and idol. Even I have at least one foot in the same puddle as those Western cuisine chefs."
Rachel's gaze shook at the name of Daniel. Rachel let out a sigh before speaking.
"It would be better if I had not heard what you just said. All it means is that what I have to say will impact you greatly. This was the first time I visited your restaurant, and I did not try all the items you serve here."
"I know. And I have enough abilities to know which advice to heed and which ones to let go. So you do not need to worry about me."
Rachel still did not look like she was okay with it, however, she could not just avoid Samuel's earnestness. Finally, she opened her mouth.
"What Jeremy pointed out earlier, that would be the concern. Whether to cater to the locals or the foreign tourists. I'm sure you've worried quite a bit about that decision."
"Yes, that is definitely the case. I thought that if I meticulously harmonized the two, I could catch both crowds, but that was not the case. The harmonization of the two ended up not bringing together all of the positives, but rather, ended up just being poorly stuck together. I was happy when I received my third star, but I have no excuse for the opinions of the epicureans who visit."
"What kind of opinions did they have?"
"That it is ambiguous. It comes off like something amazing, but it is neither Japanese nor Western, and just a mutt. They even said something like that."
Rachel let out a small sigh. Samuel's voice started to become more passionate. An anger not necessarily directed at anybody was shaking in the middle of his voice.
"Someone even said that the head chef did not have any thoughts and was not putting in any effort. Even though I was definitely putting in all I had! I've even been losing sleep everyday, contemplating on how to make an even better dish. Whenever I heard something like that, I wanted to just throw everything away and just relax., but…… seeing even the slightest smile on the face of my customers ……it made me realize that I really was someone who could not leave the kitchen."
"All chefs in the world are like that. We feel the most alive when we are in the kitchen. Samuel, I know how you feel. It must be painful. However, especially in those times, steady the pillar that you have built up in your mind."
"My teacher was my pillar. Before he passed away. ……That's why now, I want to use your opinion as a support to hold up the pillar that my teacher helped me to build."
Hearing Samuel's serious voice, Rachel could not answer simply. If the head chef of a three star restaurant would ask her like this, it meant that his mind was seriously wavering. It was not easy to say something so important to steady that wavering mind.
That was why when Rachel opened her mouth, what came out was not words but her mind.
"Just because I am a legend does not mean that I don't waver. You said that your pillar started to shake after losing your teacher. I was the same way. My husband was my pillar."
"Yes, it was a tragedy. I thought that I would not be able to handle that tragedy. And truthfully, I could not handle it. That's why I have been withering like an old lady for the last ten years."
"However, you've overcome it."
Rachel slowly started to think about that word. Did she really overcome it? No, she had yet to overcome it. Afterall, she had yet to achieve anything. Overcome was a word she could only say after reclaiming all of her past glory.
However, she did not say such low-confidence words. She did not want to show how far she had fallen, and most importantly, she did not feel like such words would help Samuel. Rachel slowly reached out and put her hand on Samuel's shoulder, on top of the scar of this little boy who had turned old with the years.
"There is no ocean that does not have any storms. However, without the storms, ships cannot sail. Sometimes, just like me, you can take shelter on a nearby island and continue to rest without ever going back …… but if we do not forget our goal, we must return to the ocean and set sail again."
"What do I have to do…….what needs to be done to make sure the ship doesn't sink?"
"The reason a ship sinks is simple. It either meets a natural disaster, or strikes a reef. But both of those can be avoided to a degree if you set the right course. And based on which island is your destination, that course will of course change as well."
"……You're talking about what you mentioned earlier. Rachel, you set your course on the outer appearance."
"That's difficult for me. I tried to find the meeting point of different world cuisines and Japanese cuisine to show their fusion, but the concern that focusing on that fusion may not have been the right choice, that doubt continues to torment me."
When he received his third star, he was happy that his philosophy and his cooking was being recognized. However, that was short lived. Rather, the third star made customers' expectations significant shoot up and meeting those expectations was harder than he imagined.
"Sometimes, I am envious. The Japanese elders who focused on just one type of cuisine and arrived at the plateau……no, rather, not just in Japan but the grand chefs throughout the world. I'm sure all of them have their own worries, but I doubt they would doubt their cooking philosophy."
"It's a useless doubt."
Rachel firmly stated like there was no reason to think it over, as if she was answering an obvious question. Samuel looked at Rachel with a slightly surprised expression. Rachel responded with a voice full of confidence.
"The path you have chosen is definitely new. As the pioneer, I'm sure the path will be difficult. I will focus on one aspect of what you just said. Just because you focus on one type of cuisine for a long time does not make you a master. A master is someone who is able to perfectly express the taste they want to show on their plate. No matter what path you are walking down, when you get to the end, I'm sure you will be that way as well."
Samuel could not say anything in response. The only thing that was coming out of his mouth was a sound of admiration that almost sounded like a moan.
"It will rain. The waves will crash. Your sail will get wet and your rudder may break. However, that cannot change the path you must take. The storm also can't engulf the island at the end of your journey. Let your ship float."
Rachel smiled. Samuel could not respond and could only stare at her face, as he was overwhelmed by her words. Rachel opened her mouth again. This time, she was not talking to Samuel but to herself.
"I will let my own ship float."
"This……is the end."
Night time. Drying his wet hair with a towel, Jo Minsoon muttered in a sad voice. Anderson peeked towards Jo Minsoon and started to speak.
"Why. Are you disappointed?"
"You never know. If you become a star chef, you'll be called to these types of programs often."
"Allen and Joseph had no problem filming broadcasts. Doing broadcasts like this rather helps the restaurant's sales. Of course, if you want to make a lot of money, it would be better to run a hamburger joint than a fine dining restaurant."
Jo Minsoon smiled bitterly at Anderson's response. What he said was not completely wrong. In reality, there were many fancy restaurants that ended up in the red because of the burden of paying for the ingredients. The ones that frequently saw black numbers were only the best restaurants that were always full of reservations.
Jo Minjoon asked.
"Is there somewhere you wanted to go, but have not been able to go?"
Anderson answered shortly. Jo Minjoon asked again with a surprised look.
"Korea? You never told me you liked Korean food. What is it you want to eat?"
Truthfully, Japanese and Vietnamese food are everywhere even in America. Korean restaurants are starting to rise these days, but still, there still aren't that many. That's why I want to try real Korean food at least once."
"……I started to think about this after hearing what you said, and even though it is my home country, I don't think I truly know Korean food."
Living just in the Seoul area all of his life, the only time he got to try to local cuisines of the provinces were when he went on field trips as a student.
'This, may end up being a problem.'
No matter what you say, Jo Minjoon's cooking basics were in Korea. Without understanding the food of the country he was born and grew up in, it was like trying to learn English without even knowing how to properly speak Korean. Of course the circumstances were a bit different, but still."
"Do you know American cuisine pretty well?"
"……He's really ordering me around quite a bit."
"Even though Jo Minjoon was pouting, he still went and brought the black tea." Looking at the quickly boiling water, one question came to mind.
'……Just how long does this penalty last?'
Walking back with the black tea with some fear on his mind, Anderson arrogantly lifted up his tea cup. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth as he started to pour the tea into the cup.
"How long does this penalty last?"
"……I won't do that."
"Do whatever you want."
Anderson agreed too easily. As Jo Minjoon looked at him in disbelief, Anderson answered in a casual manner.
"There are many people in the world who easily throw away what they said. It is a bit disappointing that you are that type of person."
"Let's be honest. You knew there was no duration. Did you not say anything about it thinking you were going to win?"
It was an unexpected and unfounded speculation. However, it sounded so reasonable that even Jo Minjoon, who was on the receiving end was almost convinced. The moment Jo Minjoon was about to quickly refute what Anderson said, a bell started to ring. It was Jo Minjoon's smartphone.
"We'll talk after I pick up this call."
"Who is it?"
Even though he asked, his expression was one that said it was obvious who was calling. Even though wanted to say Anderson was wrong, he couldn't. It was as Anderson expected. Jo Minjoon let out a cough to fix his voice and put his smartphone to his ear.
"Yes. We are currently resting. Over there?"
"Is your schedule based in the US from here on?"
[To be specific, California. I think I'll be in LA for quite a bit. Being the head chef of the new Grand Chef Restaurant there… well, being the mascot pretending to be the head chef.]
Jo Minjoon silently looked back into his memory. After winning Grand Chef, for one year, one of the roles they had was acting as the Head Chef of a Grand Chef restaurant. So that was nothing new. But was that region in LA?
"I think Rachel's restaurant is in LA as well. Specifically in Venice, within Santa Monica."
"Rather than how big or fancy it is, is it close? No, it should be fine. If it is in LA, unless it is at the furthest point, it should not be that far. Maybe we will be able to see each other pretty often."
[I don't know……I hope we can, but these people treat me too harshly.]
Her voice was full of silliness. Seeing the smile on Jo Minjoon's face, Anderson opened his mouth with an uncomfortable expression.
"Are you going to make me lose my appetite?"
[Hmm? I'm going to eat breakfast?]
[Hmph, that pig needs to starve a little. Maybe then, he'll come to his senses.]
Jo Minjoon silently looked at Anderson's body. No matter how he looked at it, it was too buff to be called a pig. Maybe a muscle pig. Anderson opened his mouth.
"What did Kaya say?"
"……I command you as your master. Right now, tell Kaya that you think she is the one who has gained quite a bit of weight and really needs to go on a diet."
"And then hang up right away. If you do that, I will end this penalty right here, right now."
He wasn't going to agree to it, but Anderson's offer was quite tempting. Jo Minjoon's eyes shook from hesitation…and that hesitation eventually led Jo Minjoon's lips to move.
"Kaya. Listen without being angry. Uh……you can't be angry, okay?"
"If we're being honest, I wonder if you don't need to go on a diet yourself."
[You son of a …….]
Jo Minjoon quickly hung up the phone before Kaya could even finish her sentence. Maybe, on the other end of this hung up call, all sorts of swear words may be flowing out. Anderson laid down on the bed with a satisfied look on his face as he muttered to himself.
"The taste of power."
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
The unspoken taboo of telling a woman she is fat! What will happen to Jo Minjoon? Is Kaya really swearing like a sailor on the other end? Dun dun duuuuuuun….