The reason Jo Minjoon was critiquing each individual dish like this wasn't only because he didn't want to see ingredients go to waste. It was also for the applicants' benefit. If they were going to lose points anyways, it would be better to get it now and serve a proper dish rather than later after making a failure.
Also, if this could help them see what kind of mistakes they were showing, they could even fix it for the future, which meant it was like they were being mentored at the same time.
In the end, Jo Minjoon walked around the countertop until all of them finished cooking. This made it possible to predict how he would be as the demi chef, no not just as a demi chef but also as a sous chef or head chef in the future.
Javier started to mumble.
"I'm glad I'm a demi chef. If I had to work with him as a prep cook, my ears would fall off."
"To be specific, you are not a demi chef but a demi chef applicant."
"It doesn't matter since I will be picked anyways. Do you plan to remain an applicant Janet?"
"I am just speaking about the prese……."
"Are you fighting right now?"
Ella looked at them with a stern expression. Janet stopped talking and let out a sigh. Ella opened the pink leather children's backpack she had on her back and took out a small bag and pushed it to the two of them.
"Eat this and stop fighting."
"……What is this?"
"It's jelly that my uncle made. Don't eat the yellow one. That one is my favorite."
Food that Jo Minjoon made. It might just be jelly, but that was still considered food. Javier's eyes started to sparkle. He took out a jelly with great anticipation and put it in his mouth. The one he picked up was a clear jelly.
"Apple flavor. Oh …… the fact that it is not too chewy should mean that he didn't use gelatin."
As Javier was giving a verdict, Janet slyly reached her hand out. Soon after, Ella started to tear up.
"I told you not the yellow one!"
Janet didn't seem to care and put the jelly in her mouth with a calm expression. It was as Javier said. Maybe it was because he was thinking about a child's teeth, but you could tell the amount of care he put into it based on the fact that it was soft and sweet rather than chewy. (TL: Who has had chewy jelly before? I'm confused…)
"…..She says it's tasty. After stealing someone else's!"
"You gave it to us."
"The lemon flavor ones are mine."
Ella clenched her fists tightly and her body started to shake. Janet put on a smile so small you couldn't see it unless you focused really hard, and spoke to Ella.
"I'll make it for you. One that tastes even better. I'm good at making jelly."
Ella seemed to be lured for a second, but she quickly started to speak in a voice full of tantrum.
"It's not like you're going to come back if you fail. Even I know that. I'm an adult too you know?"
"I am an adult. I can even wash my doll's hair on my own now."
Ella opened her shoulders wide as if she was showing off. Watching that, even Janet could not maintain her cold demeanor. In fact, she was even debating whether to reach out and rub Ella's head. At that moment, Javier opened his mouth.
"Oh, the judging is starting."
Hearing that, Janet turned her head. Rachel was standing in front and started to speak slowly.
"This time it was a little more difficult. Minjoon did help you, but thinking about the fact that this was all of your first time attempting this dish, I believe you all did a very good job. So it is a bit disappointing that we can only bring four of you onto our team."
Jo Minjoon just silently looked at the half empty dishes. The biggest thought in his head was just one thing.
'…… Do we have to throw all of that away.'
When he was young, his parents were quite strict. They were the type to tell him to scrape it up and eat it if there was even one kernel of rice left in his bowl, and they did not look kindly to leaving food on the plate or being picky. Remember the sweat of the farmers who let us have this rice. It was a cliché statement, but even so, it remained on his mind.
Things were different now and he was more likely to hurt his body by overeating when he was already full and would probably say just throw it away, but ……he actually ended up caring more about the importance of the ingredients than his parents. It felt like each of the ingredients were whispering to him. 'Are you really going to throw us away? Even though we grew up nicely like this?'
Jo Minjoon turned around in surprise after suddenly hearing Rachel's voice in his ear. Anderson flicked his tongue tsk, tsk, and then started to speak.
"She asked you a question. Do you have anything you want to say to the applicants."
Jo Minjoon let out a noise as he looked towards the applicants. There were different types of gazes coming at him from the group. Because he was nagging at them the whole time they were cooking, there were some people who were looking at him with an uncomfortable gaze ….. while a certain someone had been looking at him with a look of gratitude since the beginning. (TL: Sighs…really? Must we?)
The gazes were better than when they first stepped into Rose Island though. There was no way that couldn't happen. They saw it with their own eyes. The value that the name Jo Minjoon had was not packaged and exaggerated. They saw that he was a 'real' chef.
Even if they didn't want to accept it, they couldn't help but accept it. Even those who thought he wasn't much because he had no experience could no longer take him lightly. With the attention on him, Jo Minjoon debated what to say before speaking.
"Somehow I ended up nagging you a lot. I feel like I may have also raised my voice, so if anybody felt uncomfortable, I want to say I'm sorry."
He didn't get any response. He continued to speak calmly.
"Four of you will end up a part of my family while the rest of you won't. However, even if the restaurant we are working in is not the same, since I believe you will all be working in a kitchen, I believe that in the large scope of things, we are all on the same boat. Let's all enjoy this trip together."
Two or three people started to clap quietly before stopping. Rachel started to speak.
"I will announce the selected individuals."
"……It's finally our turn."
Both the apprentice and the prep cooks were selected. The bakers were having their own test with Lisa by the oven. It was now time for the Demi chefs to be tested. Javier looked towards Janet and started to speak.
"What do you think the topic will be?"
"I don't really care. No matter what it is, I will be selected."
"……Now I am envious of that confidence."
If Javier had seen Janet's hand, if he had seen those slightly shaking hands, he would not have said something like that. However, Javier did not see them. But Ella did. Ella let out a grunt as she swung her legs that were dangling and jumped off the chair. She then headed to Janet and stuck out her pinky.
"Will you really make me some lemon jelly?"
"You said it earlier. You said you were going to make me lemon jelly. Although it probably wouldn't taste as good as my uncle's."
Janet just quietly looked at Ella after listening to her sassy voice. Ella kept her eye open widely to look at Janet, as if she was trying to have a staring contest with her. Janet also stuck out her pinky.
"I will make it for you. One that is even tastier."
Her hands were no longer shaking. Janet let go of the finger and started to walk. It was quite a scene to watch twenty seven applicants get up at once. Rachel stood in front of them as she spoke.
"Due to the size of the kitchen, I think it will be difficult for all of you to be testing together. The 14 of you here, please come in to the kitchen. The rest of you, please wait in the office. You can't find out the topic for the mission until right before you start cooking.
Rachel pointed to the middle of the group as she spoke. It was right between Javier and Janet. Watching Javier's back as he headed into the kitchen, Janet followed Isaac's lead into the office.
'……I should have stood one more step over.'
She just felt like it would be less nerve-wracking to finish first. Of course, the people who are cooking now will also have to wait while she was cooking …… but at least they could sense their result to some degree.
Janet sat down on the couch located in one of the corners and leaned back. Her heart was thumping. Of course it was. Rachel Rose. That name held a lot of meaning in Janet's life. When she could not find a reason for living another day, that name was what gave her hope.
The reason for it wasn't actually that big of an issue. Rather, it was pretty obvious and also somewhat childish. Rachel Rose was someone who proved that you could stand on top of the world as a woman. Kitchen. In the small 'country' that is full of dangerous things like knives and fire, she was …… a chef who was able to push forward past the rough guys with a woman's body.
Honestly speaking, when she first had the dream of becoming a chef, she was not really interested in the name of Rachel Rose.There were many chefs in the world, and it didn't seem right to be her fan just because there were not many female chefs.
However, as she started experiencing the kitchen, her thoughts changed. The work was harder than she had expected it would be, and a woman's stamina was weaker than what she had believed. If she looked like she was showing even the slightest sign of fatigue, the chefs in the kitchen would start to talk: 'Are you acting like a girl again?' Janet hated that statement so much that she clenched her teeth and pushed forward. When she felt like she was going to die, she told herself that 'if I'm going to die, let's die' as she lifted packages and prepped ingredients.
So every time she felt completely terrible and felt like she couldn't do it anymore, she thought to herself, 'how would Rachel have persevered past this?' Of course, she had no way of finding out, but she was sure about one thing. Rachel managed to persevere. So she needed to persevere as well. She couldn't use the fact that there were many microaggressions against female chefs as an excuse. No matter how bad it got, it probably wasn't as bad as what Rachel had to go through.
She worked like that in the same restaurant until she got promoted to demi chef. Since she was so good that everybody in the kitchen was saying that she was going to be the next sous chef, the results of her perseverance was very sweet.
But there was really a simple reason that she submitted her resignation and came here. When she heard that Rachel was looking for her new family, her body felt so itchy that she could not handle it. She wanted to be a part of Rachel's family as she wrote a new chapter in history. That was why.
'……So that is Minjoon.'
Janet thought about the jelly she had just eaten. It was decent. Just by looking at the jelly, she could tell the level of his foundation. The way he cooked in front of the prep cook applicants also looked very seasoned and spotless.
'However, the spot of her favorite disciple is going to be mine.'
She was able to persevere in her cooking career thanks to the push she got from Rachel. Rachel was already Janet's teacher in her heart. That is why she wanted to be accepted by her. 'You grew up to be a great chef. It's amazing.' She wanted to hear that from Rachel.
That is why Janet's expression was quiet fierce when she got in the kitchen an hour later. Jo Minjoon took a peek at Janet. As Janet did not avoid his gaze and continued to stare at him, he freaked out and whispered to Anderson.
"That girl keeps staring at me."
"……Fix that prince disease of yours. (TL: How Koreans phrase narcissism?) Otherwise, I'm going to tell Kaya."
"No, it's not like that …… she keeps staring at me. DId I do something wrong?"
"How should I know when you don't even know?"
Anderson answered in a sassy voice. However, Jo Minjoon could not help but continue to peek at that woman from time to time. The fact that she was giving him a fierce expression like she was trying to challenge him wasn't the only reason.
'Cooking level …… 8.'
She was the only applicant today with a cooking level of 8. That meant that if she was able to show her true abilities, there was a very high chance that they will be working together."
Looking past that, he could not help but be amazed. Jo Minjoon knew what having a cooking level of 8 meant. The lady did not look any older than 30 on the high end. Of course, Anderson and Kaya also had cooking levels of 8, but …… there was Anderson who received elite cooking lessons since he was young from his famous chef parents, and Kaya, whose natural talents could easily topple the level of a genius. These two could not serve as comparison to your average people.
"I will first announce the topic of your mission. Signature dish. Oh, seeing that none of you are surprised, I guess everybody expected it."
It was understandable. Demi chef was the level that you started to be called a chef. To be a chef meant that your individual flair, as well as cooking philosophy has been developed to a certain level. Of course, it is not completed, but you needed to have enough vision and knowledge to discuss a recipe with the sous chef or head chef.
That is why many restaurants often ask for a chef's signature dish when they are looking for a new demi chef. They wanted to see a dish full of a person's individuality. Jo Minjoon started to speak.
"If it is an ingredient in our storage room, you can use anything."
It was the moment Jo Minjoon said that. Isaac, who was standing in the hall, was sending some type of hand signal to Rachel. After looking at Isaac doing that for a while, Rachel had a moment of realization as she went 'Ah.' And whispered in Minjoon's ear. Jo Minjoon made an awkward expression before he let out a fake cough and continued.
"……Hmm hmm, apparently anything except caviar and foie gras.'
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
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