There was a reason Jo Minjoon was answering so firmly. It was not that he disliked molecular gastronomy. Rather, he was very much interested in molecular gastronomy. However ……
"I still have a long way to go with traditional cooking. I want to try molecular gastronomy once I gain a little more confidence."
If traditional cooking was the basics, molecular gastronomy was like art. Jo Minjoon personally believed that rather than focusing on something so technical, he needed to still focus on the basics. Jo Minjoon took a peek at the other demi chefs before speaking.
"The three of them all have better skills and more experience than I do, so I wonder if molecular gastronomy wouldn't be a better fit for one of them."
After listening to what Jo Minjoon had to say, Rafael slowly made eye contact with the other three. They faked a cough as they avoided his gaze. Rafael let out a sigh before speaking.
"In the end, I am still rejected."
Rachel smiled bitterly as she started to speak.
"No matter what, I trust that you will all sincerely learn it. We will be teaching you molecular gastronomy for the next ten days. After the ten days is up, you will need to have come up with a molecular gastronomy menu item. Of course, we do not need any ice cream."
"……Are you perhaps using the completion of these dishes to determine our sections?"
"Yes. The people that eat your food will be voting. I will give you the opportunity to pick your section based on the result. 2nd place will get to pick first, 3rd place second. Of course, 4th place has no choice."
Jo Minjoon tilted his head after hearing what she had to say. Something was odd.
"……1st place doesn't get to pick? Then what will the 1st place ……?"
The person to respond was Rafael.
"Molecular Gastronomy of course."
Ella stuck her tongue out like a dog as her whole face expressed disgust. Javier had a sad expression as he asked in an eager voice.
"Is it really terrible? Try one more bite. It might be different!"
Ella clamped her mouth shut and glared at Javier as she shook her head left and right. Janet glared at Javier as she started to speak.
"I told you it wouldn't work on Ella. Pasta made of espresso. You think a kid would like that?"
"What is wrong with espresso pasta? She enjoyed the asparagus sherbet that the sous chef made."
"The cherry sauce added sweetness to that dish. Plus, the harmony of the ingredients were great as well."
"Sob sob, the internet said it was a good recipe."
"Maybe for adults. But kids will only find it to be bitter. But more importantly, your pasta is terrible even to me. Are you doing this on purpose so you don't end up in 1st place?"
"……Have I been found out?"
Janet's eyes became cold at Javier's words. Javier quickly continued on.
"Joking. Just joking."
"……Okay Ella. You can get rid of that plate. Will you try this?"
Janet pushed forward the dish she made. With a quick glance, it just looked like the typical BBQ Pork Rib. But if you looked closely, you would be able to see that there was not a single burnt area. Javier had a displeased look that seemed to say that she was cheating.
"Hey. Sous vide is cheating. All that requires is time. Aren't you putting too much on this competition?"
"Who said I made a dish for the competition? I just ……"
Janet looked toward Ella. Ella tried hard to rip apart the pork rib with her fork, before giving up and using her hand to lift it up and eat it. Janet wiped the sauce on the side of Ella's mouth with a napkin as she started to smile. It was the smile she did not show to the other kitchen family members.
"Is it good?"
"Yes. It is as good as bread my mom makes for me!"
"Then I guess it is really good."
Ella nodded her head as she took another bite. Janet just quietly muttered to herself.
"If I had a kid, I would always feed them tasty food like this."
"You can start having one now. Ah, you need a boyfriend first."
Janet did not respond. She seemed to be happy just watching Ella enjoying the food. Jo Minjoon, who was watching from a distance, whispered to Lisa.
"Lisa, you might lose your place of loving Ella the most to Janet."
"I'm glad. It seems like Ella will have someone to take care of her no matter when I die."
"Ay. Why would you say something like that?"
"You never know what might happen."
Lisa shrugged her shoulders. Since she wasn't trying to say it was a joke, it must be something she thought about a lot. Jo Minjoon looked toward Ella before he whispered to Lisa in a quiet voice.
"I promise. If something happens to you Lisa, I will take care of Ella. So please stop worrying. Don't even bring up something like that again. Especially for Ella."
"……I understand. But I am very thankful. Hearing you say that."
There was a sudden cough coming from behind them. It was Rafael. He looked toward Jo Minjoon before asking.
"Minjoon. Isn't it about time you started to determine a direction? The menu item you will put out. Have you decided which method you are going to use?"
"No. Honestly, the easiest method to use in molecular gastronomy seems to be something like the sous vide ……but I don't think it is appropriate to use in the challenge."
"Outside of the challenge, what is your favorite method?"
Rafael looked toward Minjoon with curious eyes. The first ever wielder of absolute taste in history. How will that title be used in his ability as a chef? Jo Minjoon fell deep into thought.
His eyes looked toward an empty area in front of him and his eyes were hazy. He was not looking at the system window. He was just deep in thought.
Rafael personally like that gaze of Minjoon's. That 4th dimensional type of look that felt like he was lost in his own world. Chefs were artists. And just like artists, they needed that type of peculiarity to succeed.
'These days, there are only stubborn and inflexible fools in the culinary world.'
Of course that was good too. The world needed chefs who will maintain the taste of tradition. But for Rafael, he was someone who prefered to twist and change the old rather than protecting it. To make an analogy, rather than digging a well deeper than anybody else, he prefered to dig many decent sized wells and connect them.
In that aspect, Rafael really liked Jo Minjoon. After spending the last few days with Minjoon, Rafael could feel it. Jo Minjoon and he were the same kind of people. If you put it nicely, they were both geniuses living outside the scope of the normal people's line of thinking. If you wanted to be mean about it, they were both showing signs of being geeky lunatics.
'This type of person can never be satisfied with traditional dishes alone. If there are more ways of cooking, he would want to make all of them his to release his frustration……'
Although Jo Minjoon did not want to take part in molecular gastronomy right now, that was because he still had a lot of things to learn about traditional cooking. Once he understands the variety of options molecular gastronomy offers, Jo Minjoon will also be seduced by its charm just as he had been seduced. Rafael was certain of it.
Jo Minjoon was lost in his thoughts for close to five minutes. Usually, he wouldn't contemplate this long for a question someone asked, but when it came to cooking, he tended to do this every so often. Should we call it losing track of time? But Rafael even found such tendency to be a positive thing.
Jo Minjoon started to speak.
"The taste of the ingredients."
"Not only for molecular gastronomy, but the type of cooking I like is about that. Making sure that each and every one of the ingredients don't hide the flavor they contain. With cooking, usually there is one main aspect of a dish. The rest of the ingredients or herbs are just the sidekicks helping to add on to the flavor…… but I prefer a dish where every ingredient plays the main role while not getting in the way of each other's taste but actually helping ……and being perfect the way it is. Am I speaking nonsense?"
"No, not at all. Continue."
"The most charming aspect of molecular gastronomy is that you can turn a liquid sauce into a dry powder sauce, turn it into a jelly, or even into a syrup. I think something like that is what I like the most. Some people might think the only change is the texture, but that's not true. Based on how it touches your tongue and the texture, your perception of the taste can change completely. Just like how the same actor can play completely different characters in different movies …… although it is the same person, they bring out a completely different flavor. That …… that is really beautiful to me."
Maybe just thinking about it was touching his heart, but Jo Minjoon's voice started to shake a bit as he was finishing his words. Rafael looked toward that Jo Minjoon with a blank expression. Jo Minjoon truly did not have much interest in molecular gastronomy. No, to be specific, he did not have any thoughts about starting molecular gastronomy right now.
But the fact that he can still get that excited talking about molecular gastronomy…… that showed that the feelings he had for cooking, the feelings he had for food in general, were plentiful. What surprised Rafael the most was that while thinking about the methods of changing the state of matter of a sauce, he focused on the taste rather than the texture.
"Is it weird?"
"It is not a sin for chefs to be weird. Rather, you need to be weird to a point where it feels like you might be slightly crazy, in order to create dishes that will surprise people. Maybe in a family restaurant it would be fine, but what people expect from a place like this is not just the taste. It also has to be fun."
That was Rafael's iron rule about cooking. Go past the taste and make sure the cooking is fun.
No matter how good the taste is, if it is boring, they won't look for it again. Just like how no matter how much cool effects are in a movie, if it is not fun, you would never watch it again. Rafael continued to speak.
Of course the base of it all is the taste. But I am surprised. Barely twenty one …… it is difficult to get such insights at that age. The impact texture has on taste …… did you perhaps hear that from someone else?"
"I'm…… not quite sure. I just had that thought."
There were many people who influenced his cooking. Of course the greatest influence was from Kaya, but it would be a lie to say everything he did was similar to Kaya.
Rafael started to speak.
"Since things are like this anyways, try hard to get 1st place. Doing molecular gastronomy doesn't mean that you will only increase your molecular gastronomy skills. You don't need to worry about your traditional cooking level going down."
"Do you really believe I don't need to worry about that?"
Rafael's gaze shook. He continued in a not so confident voice.
"……I think so?"
Sinc Kaya arrived, there was a slight change in Jo Minjoon's daily routine. Usually, he would be laying on his bed this late at night, but he was running across the Santa Monica beach. Of course the goal wasn't exercise but something else. The only time he could spend with Kaya was during the night, and this was the best way to make most of their evening time together.
Not long after Minjoon started running, a woman naturally started to run next to him. It was Kaya. Jo Minjoon took a peek at Kaya. Under the street light and the moonlight, he could see her skin-tight workout outfit. Jo Minjoon started to frown.
"Hey, why are you dressed like that?"
"The line is showing too much. There's a lot of people here."
"It's normal to wear something like this when you are working out."
"……You never said anything to Chloe."
Jo Minjoon could only open and close his mouth. Rather than the content of what Kaya said, he felt like his heart sank when Kaya mentioned Chloe. Kaya still did not know that Chloe had confessed to him. Jo Minjoon looked away as he started to grumble.
"At least wear a vest over it next time."
Why are you nagging so much when people aren't even paying attention to us? It'll just increase the amount of laundry I have to do. If you sweat and don't wash it right away, it'll smell like sweat.
"Now that you mention it, who is doing the laundry? Do you do it yourself? Or does the agent do it for you?
"I can't stand the thought of someone else touching my underwear. It is too embarrassing. You don't think so?"
"……I don't know. Not really?"
"Start being embarrassed. Even to me. If you make me do your laundry in the future, I will kill you."
She talked about living together so casually that Jo Minjoon didn't realize what was weird for an instant. Jo Minjoon continued to walk as he looked toward Kaya. Kaya tried hard to not make eye contact with him, before speaking in a grumbled voice.
"Why do you keep looking at me like that."
"Nothing. Just curious."
Jo Minjoon smiled mischievously as he answered.
"What the person who will do my laundry for me in the future looks like."
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
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