'The real Rose Island' has appeared.
The name Rose Island was not foreign to most Americans. There were 12 locations throughout the United States, and around wide, there were a total of 37 restaurants with that name hung across their entrances. All of the head chefs were disciples of the Rose couple, and they were all really close with each other that at one point, they even had the nickname of 'The Rose Division.'
However, the thing that made Rose Island famous was neither their skills nor their friendship. In order for a restaurant to be called Rose Island, they needed to get the complete approval of the Rose couple; the disciples who proceeded with that name would not do anything to smear their masters' brand. As there were no Rose Island locations without a star in the Michelin Guide of recommended restaurants, it only made sense that the general public had a good understanding of the Rose Island name.
That was why it was terrible for the main restaurant to have been closed for 10 years. The older generation, as well as many epicureans, had always claimed Rose Island's main location to be the best of them all, and the chefs of the other locations did not reject that notion. Since they could not go to the main location, how much must have the epicureans imagined and desired that taste?
The situation was different now. Rachel Rose publicly announced to everyone gathered in front of Rose Island's Venice location that the restaurant will reopen along with a New Chef Audition. The judges for it were going to be Rachel Rose, as well as Anderson Rousseau, runner-up of the Grand Chef competition, and Jo Minjoon, who was known for his absolute taste. As everybody was focused on whether Rachel Rose could overcome this 10 year long break, in the midst of that……
Janine Fischer: The people auditioning are going to be facing hell. A world-renowned chef, an absolute taste, and Anderson as judges.
└Yulia Lott: Anderson's not that difficult, no?
└Janine Fischer: @Yulia Lott Think about how Anderson is on a normal basis. He'll be ruthlessly blunt with them.
"……That's what they are saying. What do you think about it?"
Jo Minjoon smiled as he showed the screen to Anderson. Anderson skimmed the feed before snorting.
"When was I so blunt? I definitely wasn't as blunt as you were."
"When did I do that?"
"Don't you remember Peter?"
"Peter? Oh, him."
He had to think for a moment, but he remembered. He was the Indian guy who got scolded by him after fighting with Kaya in the past. Jo Minjoon let out a 'hmm,' before asking curiously.
"Do you know what he is doing these days?"
"He seems to have been completely burnt. People didn't have any good opinions about him. After showing that type of personality, unless they were planning on doing some noise marketing, no decent restaurants would hire him."
"……If you think about it that way, I do feel bad for him. If it was anywhere else, it would have just been a minor incident, but it just had to be on broadcast that he got a negative stamp on his life."
What did he tell Peter who was extremely disappointed? If people hate him, take in all the hate and use it to grow. Jo Minjoon had no way of knowing how much of that warning Peter listened to, and how much he had grown.
(TL: I have a baaaad feeling Peter is going to show back up…)
"How's Kaya? Do you chat with her these days?"
"…..What's gotten into you? You never ask about Kaya."
"I'm asking because I'm worried you might be concerned. She hasn't been around in the chat room either."
"I'm not sure how she's doing. She may be suffering by herself again. She doesn't seem to be contacting the others much either."
Jo Minjoon let out a sigh with a frustrated expression. Maybe her feelings about not causing him to worry had grown compared to before, but that growth was not necessarily sweet.
[Me: Are you very busy?]
Jo Minjoon looked at his phone's screen with a blank expression. Since she does not answer even when he calls, he felt like he was losing by even just calling. Anderson peeked at Jo Minjoon and remembered what Amelia had said to him on their way back.
'See, it's a lot of suffering outside of home, isn't it?'
'What are you talking about?'
'No matter what, at least your mom and dad love and cherish you the most. But Rachel isn't like that. Are you confident you can turn her gaze around?'
He hated the fact that …… he could not confidently answer that question.
The audition was already only four days away. Jo Minjoon's current routine was simple. Other than working out to maintain his health, he was always stuck inside Rose Island's kitchen. What he was doing in the kitchen was simple. Cooking, and eating. Of the two, Jo Minjoon was more often than not, eating.
"Hmm……try the carrot soup with this red wine bread."
"The pairing doesn't seem to work too well. Because of the unique bitter smell of the red wine, if you don't make the soup a bit sweeter, I don't think it'll taste right."
"You think we should fix the soup? Or should I fix my bread?"
"I don't think there's a reason to do that. Hand me that butter roll."
At Jo Minjoon's request, Lisa handed over a butter roll in the shape of a beautiful conch. Jo Minjoon ripped apart a piece of the roll and poured the carrot soup on it before eating it.
"How is it?"
"It's perfect. If we improve the soup a little more, we should be able to give it to our customers. As it is right now, I feel like it is a bit too simple."
After listening to Jo Minjoon, Lisa also tried the butter roll and carrot soup together. If there was a difference, it would be that she dipped the roll instead of pouring it. Lisa nodded her head.
"It is definitely much better. The soft taste of the butter and the sweetness of the carrot seem to create a perfect harmony. You really live up to your nickname of absolute taste."
"……It's something any chef in the world can do, Lisa. It just seems more natural because of the nickname I have."
"I like that modesty of yours. I also think it is amazing. If it was me, I think I would be extremely arrogant."
Although she was speaking with a stoic expression and without even a trace of a smile, it was quite a nice and gentle. Jo Minjoon smiled brightly.
"Lisa, you are amazing as well. You wake up early to put the bread in the oven and make the dough for the next day. After that, you come here to work until after dinner. I don't even know when you find time to sleep."
"I may look really dedicated, but I sleep the full amount I need to sleep. While the bread is baking, while waiting for the dough to rise, I just make good use of the waiting periods."
"That is the definition of dedication."
Lisa just shrugged her shoulder at Jo Minjoon's words. From the bar facing the hall, they heard two tapping noises. When they went to take a look, Ella, who was wearing a yellow one-piece, was tapping her chin at the edge of the bar while looking towards them.
"What's going on, Ella?"
"Hmm. Lisa, what should we do?"
"Since that's the case, we might as well eat lunch. When are Anderson and Rachel supposed to come back?"
"Grocery shopping should take at least one hour……so it'll probably be better for us to eat first."
With that, the table was set. All they had ready was soup, but Jo Minjoon was a chef. It wasn't hard for him to make steak or two plates of pasta within ten minutes.
The dishes were pretty simple. Caesar salad, carrot soup, spaghetti alle Vongole, and steak tenderloin with cheese cream sauce. Jo Minjoon had to go back and forth between the kitchen and the table a few times in the middle, however, watching Ella smile while getting sauce on her lips made him feel like his fatigue was being completely washed away.
"You must be happy. You have a beautiful daughter like this. I wish I could be like this too."
"Do you even have to worry? You are handsome and your girlfriend is beautiful too. I'm sure that if you were to have a kid, they will be beautiful."
"Ah. Anderson did mention that if I bring up Kaya Lotus in front of you, that you would deny it."
Listening to Lisa, Jo Minjoon put a dice-sized piece of steak in his mouth with an awkward expression. Surrounded by the soft texture of the cheese cream, the special flavor of the steak tenderloin spreading through his mouth was stylish yet comforting. Lisa started to speak.
"Are you going to be okay? That has cheese in it. You said it's not good for your stomach."
"I need to start training it. How could a chef have food that they cannot eat? Since it is just a stomachache and not an allergy, I'm sure I will get used to it the more I eat it."
At that moment, as Jo Minjoon randomly turned his head, he noticed that Ella was watching him with a tearful expression like the world had just ended. Jo Minjoon's eyes opened widely as he looked at Ella.
"What's wrong, Ella? Is something stuck in your throat?"
Without responding, Ella started to cry and used her hand to wipe her tears. Then, she looked at Lisa while sniffling. Ella asked a question. Her voice was shaking, as if she had received a large shock.
"Mommy. Minjoon……has a girlfriend……"
"Yes. He does."
Even though it might be reasonable to lie to your daughter when they were asking with tears in their eyes like this, Lisa just bluntly answered. It made sure that Ella's tears continued on. Jo Minjoon, who pretty much figured out the situation, did not know whether he should be happy or not as he looked at Ella.
Ella strained to get off the chair as she headed to Jo Minjoon and looked at him. Why was she staring at him like this even though he had done nothing wrong? Ella held Jo Minjoon's hands tightly as she asked.
"Minjoon. Are you going to marry that girl?"
"What do you think I should do?"
"Ella doesn't want Minjoon to go……but if you really have to go, I'll let you go. Ella can handle it."
"Let's blow your nose first. Here, blow."
Jo Minjoon took out a napkin and brought it to Ella's nose. Ella blew into the napping and then, with a red nose and cheeks, her lips seemed to start to frown.
That expression was very cute. What kind of thing was this kid saying? Once Jo Minjoon lifted Ella to sit her back in the chair, Lisa spoke casually, like as if she was talking about someone who was not present.
"Looks like you've stolen my daughter's heart."
"Surprisingly, I must be popular with the children."
"They say that children like pure people; Minjoon, you must be that type of person. Kaya must be happy. Although I've never met her before."
"Even I can't remember the last time I saw her. It's been about a month. We haven't even talked in over a week."
"You can't contact her?"
"I don't know. Maybe she's busy or……I can't say it. If I say it, I'd be talking about Kaya's life without her consent."
Jo Minjoon answered in a bitter voice. Lisa took a drink of water with a contemplative expression and slowly continued to speak.
"Don't overcomplicate things. There are only two reasons a woman will not contact you. She is either no longer interested ……or it is a sign saying please contact me. Have you done anything wrong recently?"
"Not that I can remember."
"Then you have your answer. Call her."
(TL: You jerk. Do you not remember how you told a beautiful young lady that she needs to go on a diet?!)
"I tried to call her and text her, but she has not responded. Whether she is busy, or avoiding me ……it's probably the latter. No matter how busy you are, there's no way you would not look at your phone for over a week."
He could guess the reason. Kaya said it herself last time. She didn't want to rely on him. She didn't want to put any burdens on him. He could not figure out what the right answer was. Should he respect Kaya's wishes, or should he still try to protect her? Lisa laughed as she answered.
"At least I confirmed one thing. There is no man who would struggle so much like this when there is no relationship. Why do you keep saying there is nothing? Nothing will change if you admit it."
"……If there was no relationship, there is no point to struggle like this while being apart. Since there is nothing between the two of you."
"That logic is kind of weird. Right now, you look like you are struggling quite a bit."
(TL: The raws here really don't make sense. It makes it sound like Minjoon is saying there's no reason to struggle if there is no relationship when he is struggling. Maybe the raws are wrong, but I kept it as is.)
Jo Minjoon simply started to smile. It made him feel good that it looked like he was struggling. It showed that his feelings were sincere.
Yes. He needed to accept it. Jo Minjoon liked Kaya. As a chef, as a role model, as a woman. At first, even he wasn't sure whether his feelings were simply as a fan. However, now he was certain. Even if was feelings he was having as a fan, if it was this hot, then it already ……
"You are right."
"That you are having a hard time?"
"My heart. You are right about my feelings."
"I know even if you didn't say that."
Lisa smiled lightly for the first time. However, Ella could not do that. After chewing a piece of meat with a sorrowful expression on her face, she quickly pushed her plate away and put her head down on the table. This seemed to be Ella's way of showing her disdain.
To see her daughter suffer like this when she was so young. Lisa let out a quiet sigh before lifting Ella into her arms.
"Don't be impatient and just trust her. I don't know why she hasn't been contacting you, but she might find it more appealing for you to trust her rather than to console her. Of course, take my advice with a grain of salt, since I don't know her as well as you do."
Jo Minjoon lifted up his smartphone. He slowly put his whole heart into each and every word he typed. He then closed his phone. Jo Minjoon was smiling as he looked at Lisa.
"Thank you for your advice."
"Can I ask what you wrote?"
"No. You can't."
Jo Minjoon pointed at Ella, before speaking quietly in a mischievous tone.
"It's not appropriate for children under 7 years old."
"What should we do?"
The agent was looking at Kaya with a stiff expression. Kaya silently looked at her reflection in the mirror. At one point in her life, she thought it was a pretty face, but now, it was just annoying.
'Are traces of him……remaining in this face?'
"……Please send him back. I have no desire whatsoever to meet with him."
"Are you sure? This would be the second time."
"Then I will say it again for the second time. My father passed away a long time ago. Please tell that imposter to get lost!"
The agent left the kitchen with a grim expression. Kaya bit her lip. She thought she could push back the problem by avoiding the calls, but her birth father even showed up to her signing events. Twice.
Her phone made a noise. After looking at the screen, she started to smile happily. A name she was familiar with, was saying warm words to her as usual.
[Jo Minjoon: I may not believe in Santa Claus, but I believe that you will overcome it.]
Kaya held her phone at her chest and leaned her back into the chair. Maybe it was because she was tired, but her eyes, that were slightly closed, started to shake.
"Yes…..I will overcome it."
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
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