Kaya's words must have been shocking. Chloe, who had been drinking orange juice, started to choke. Kaya started to tap Chloe's back with a casual expression.
Jo Minjun could not figure out how he should respond to Kaya's words. If Kaya knew about Chloe's feelings, she probably would not have been able to say something like that so easily. But it wasn't like he could tell her about it. It could end up making the two of their friendship more awkward. Jo Minjun cautiously started to speak.
"I don't think that's something we can determine right now."
"I know. So let's start slowly thinking about it. We still have a lot of time."
They talked about a lot of other things after that, but the only thing on their minds when they left Kaya's hotel was about how she asked them to live together. At first, it was a bit nerve-wracking, but the more they thought about it, the more charming it started to sound. If there was a problem, it would be that ……
"Anderson. I'll take Minjun home. I have something to say to him. That's okay, right?"
Anderson nodded his head. He didn't point out the fact that Chloe's house was in the opposite direction.
Jo Minjun got into Chloe's car. Chloe started to speak in an embarrassed voice.
"Sorry. The car is too small."
Chloe's car was a 2-person Mini Cooper that was pretty small for a man to fit. Jo Minjun smiled as he started to respond.
"It's not too bad. It feels like I'm in a spaceship."
"Your teasing skills seemed to have gotten better."
"It seems to get better naturally the more time I spend with Duksam."
A warm laughter filled the inside of the car. Jo Minjun decided to take the offense.
"You seem to have something you want to say. What is it? Is it about what Kaya said earlier?"
"There are many other things as well, but let's take care of that first. Would you be okay with it? If we …… were to live together."
Jo Minjun could not easily answer that question. Such a cautious question required a cautious answer. He needed to think about it. The path that would prevent both Kaya and Chloe from getting hurt. But if one of them had to end up getting hurt, then……
"This might end up being the tool that returns our friendship to how it used to be."
"It could also make it much worse."
"I don't plan to make it that way. I also believe that you would feel the same way."
Rather than trusting, it was more of a 'you have to do it' type of tone. It was a Jo Minjun like decisiveness. The car stopped. They had arrived at Rachel Rose's house. Chloe started to respond.
"You seem to trust me."
Jo Minjun answered in a confident voice.
"I don't trust all of my friends like this. But Chloe, I trust you. You are not the type of person to hurt others."
Chloe did not respond. She just had a faint smile on her lips as she slowly started to speak.
"Have a good late. Later, we ……"
"Okay. Call me once you figure things out. Thanks for bringing me home."
Jo MInjun opened the door and stepped out. Chloe started to mumble to herself as she quietly watched Jo MInjun's back.
"……He doesn't even look back once."
Kaya's proposal did not make Minjun's head complicated. Well, to be more specific, he didn't have the time to let it complicate his head. Rafael made Jo Minjun memorize tens, no hundreds of molecular gastronomy recipes that Minjun could have never even imagined being possible. At the same time, he had a different type of homework. He didn't think it would be difficult, but it was more annoying than he expected.
"……So, there is still nobody who wants to do molecular gastronomy?"
Jo Minjun asked in a depressed voice. All of the prep cooks were working hard not to make eye contact with Minjun and kept their mouths shut. If you think about it, it was to be expected. All of the demi chefs tried their best to avoid molecular gastronomy, so would the prep cooks be any different?
It made more sense that the prep cooks tried to avoid molecular gastronomy even more. The job of the prep cooks was to prepare the food for the demi chef in their area. If the demi chef puts the finishing touches, that means that the prep cooks had to be responsible for everything up to that finishing touch.
This meant that they needed to do all of those complicated and delicate processes. There was nobody who would welcome such job. That led to the current result. He told all of them to step forward if they decided they wanted to volunteer for the molecular gastronomy section, but there was nobody who volunteered.
Jo Minjun let out a sigh.
"Why are you all so scared of molecular gastronomy? In the end, it is a type of cooking. The only difference with traditional cooking is that you approach it in a more scientific way."
"……You say that chef, but didn't you not want molecular gastronomy either?"
"I was in liberal arts ."
It was a confident answer. Jo Minjun said that as he looked at Maya.
"Maya. Liberal arts or science?"
"I studied art."
"Gerrick, what about you?"
"I was an athlete."
"Science …… but my grades were really bad! I swear!"
Jo Minjun looked at them with a frustrated expression. Javier was having a hard time holding back his laughter on the side. He started to chuckle as he whispered to Janet.
"For a 1st place to have this much trouble. Isn't the world so ironic?"
"For the last place to be this happy, it is indeed ironic."
"……I'm still working main you know? In most restaurants, it is the most popular section."
"Yes. You are amazing. Last place."
He knew it would repeat like this even if this conversation dragged out longer. As Janet mentioned, in the end, he did get the last place. Javier looked back at Minjun with a bitter expression.
Jo Minjun was saying all sorts of things to the prep cooks right now. Rather than forcing someone to work with him, it seemed like he wanted someone to volunteer on their own. The problem was that there was nobody who wanted to be the sacrificial sheep.
"Gerrick. You told me that you wanted to be a chef like me. Then wouldn't you learn the most by working by my side?"
"In order to see the forest instead of the tree, it is better to be at a decent distance."
"……You sure know how to talk."
Honestly speaking, there were only two prep cooks Jo Minjun was interested in. Gerrick, and Maya. In Gerrick's case, his foundation was a bit better than the other three. As for Maya, it was because of her hands. The small hands that women tend to have given an advantage when doing precision work like molecular gastronomy.
"I have no other choice. I wanted to be a gentleman and settle this with words, but I guess not. Maya. Gerrick. One of you will be my assistant. You two come to a decision on who that will be. I cannot wait any longer. Your deadline is tomorrow."
Maya and Gerrick looked at each other with a nervous expression. Jo Minjun put the mental battle between the two of them behind him as he headed to the kitchen. Rafael, who had been watching him, chuckled as he started to speak.
"How is it? Do you now understand how I was feeling?"
"……I guess so. I think I was a bit too much."
"Molecular gastronomy is like that. Even if you start it because you want to, it is so complicated and annoying that it is easy to drop. But Minjun, I will tell you something that will give you some hope."
Rafael brought his lips close to Minjun's ear.
"At least among the four demi chefs, you have the most talent for molecular gastronomy."
"……How do you determine that? Because of the results of the tasting?"
"I have a decent understanding of your cooking style. You are interested in how ingredients work together in harmony. Rather than being a master of one type of cooking, you want to combine all sorts of methods to create a new type of cuisine. To put it simply, you have a lot of creativity. You have the soul of an artist. And for molecular gastronomy, that creativity is the most important."
Jo Minjun answered with a stiff expression.
"You're praising me quite a bit. You're giving so many carrots that I'm afraid about when the stick will come."
Rafael chuckled as he answered.
"Shouldn't be that long now."
"Here. What about this house? It's in Mar Vista. The location is pretty good for everyone…… I guess somewhere in Beverly Hills is better?"
"……The house seems to be the only thing on your mind these days."
"Of course. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat faster."
Kaya's cheeks turned red as she answered. Jo Minjun pulled on Kaya's cheeks as he started to speak.
"Chloe needs to answer first."
"I thought Chloe would be the first to agree to live together."
"Be understanding. Something like a house is something you need to think hard about."
Kaya leaned on Minjun's shoulder with a disappointed expression. But she quickly moved her head in shock. Rachel was coming in toward the kitchen. In her hands was a pot full of paella. Jo Minjun's eyes started to sparkle.
[Lemon Paella with Shrimps and Scallops]
Origin: (Hidden due to too many ingredients)
Cooking score: 9/10
'……How does she make a 9 point dish wish such simple combination?'
She either put it through a special process, or her prepping skills were each at the master level that it was possible. Rachel smiled softly as she started to speak.
"Minjun seems to be wanting to eat rich dishes these days so I put in some effort. Kaya, do you like paella too?"
"There are not many things I don't like. Thank you for the meal."
Kaya smiled as she responded. That smile made him think about the past. Her thorny appearance made her seem as pretty as a rose, but this pure lotus-like appearance was pretty too.  Although the roots might be in the mud deep in the bottom of the pond, now, she had bloomed beautifully.
Eating the paella with that smile serving as the pickle, he felt like he could taste the dish more clearly. These days, he had been eating high-level food often like it was fast food, but appreciation for delicious food did not go away even after a long time.
Salty yet sweet. At the same time, a spicy fragrance that accompanied the shrimps and scallops. Paella was known for the unique texture it created, with the seafood and vegetables seeping into the rice that just eating the rice alone made it feel like you were eating it all together.
"Wow……it is really good."
Kaya was full of admiration. Rachel smiled gently as she responded.
"I can't feed terrible food to my disciple's girlfriend."
"Thank you for inviting me over. I was kind of nervous at first."
"I like that you are honest. So, you are running a restaurant in LA these days?"
"I'm not really running it. There is a different head chef actually running the show. I am more of a mascot……and menu developer."
Kaya shrugged her shoulders as she answered. There was no shame in her response. At her age, just coming this far was really good already. Rachel nodded her head.
"There is no need to worry about a title like head chef. The important thing is whether you can cook or not. At your age, you just need to do whatever you can to stand in a kitchen. Then your skills will go up naturally."
"……Teacher, when you were young, weren't they terrible to female chefs? How did you survive?"
"With an attitude."
Rachel put her spoon into the paella as she fell into thought. Memories. The faintness of someone being nostalgic filled her eyes. She slowly started to continue.
"If they would cuss at me or annoying me, I returned it ten times as much. Although that did lead to my being kicked out quite a few times. In fact, later on, I was cut from many interviews after being called crazy. Then I ended up in the restaurant my husband was working as a sous chef……"
"And you fell in love."
"No. I fell into shock. I was pretty egotastic back then. I thought that all male chefs bragged about their skills but couldn't really back it up. But he was different. It was shocking, and it made me angry. I wanted to surpass him ……but before I realized it, rather than surpassing him, I had become his partner."
The soft smile remained on Rachel's lips. Jo Minjun felt like he could understand where Rachel was coming from. His feelings about Kaya were not much different. There were many times he felt small compared to her abilities, to the overwhelming gap between them, and was angered by it. Rachel continued to speak.
"I hope the two of you can become that type of relationship as well. Being each other's stimulus, pushing and pulling each other as needed."
"It would be good if that can happen."
"At times, you might not say something because you are thinking that it might worry the other person. And there will be times where it will be smarter not to say anything. But sometimes, those secrets can kill you inside. If you are hurting, tell them you are hurting. If something is hard, tell them what you're going through. Sorry. I never wanted to become so preachy, but I seem to talk more the older I get."
"No. It is very good advice. I will always remember it."
Jo Minjun smiled as he answered. Kaya seemed to be deep in thought at Rachel's words. Jo Minjun sent a confused expression toward Kaya.
"What's up? Is there something going on?"
"Well……it is a bit embarrassing to say."
Kaya's expression became weird. It looked a bit embarrassed, and a bit bitter. Once she started to speak, Minjun's eyes turned into a glare.
"Maybe it is because I'm popular. How should I call it? An obsessed fan? I seem to have one of those."
"Ah, don't take it so seriously. I just get random text messages from time to time. You know. Love you, Kaya! Sleep well. Those types of messages."
"What kind of crazy bastard does that to another man's woman……"
"You don't even know if its a guy or girl. And don't worry. I'm good at fighting."
Kaya clenched her fists as she said that. Of course, saying that did not loosen Minjun's expression at all.
Rachel was the same. Rachel looked outside before starting to speak.
"It's already dark. Kaya. Are you busy tomorrow?"
"No. Nothing special, just going to work at the restaurant like normal."
Rachel nodded her head.
"Good. Then why don't you spend the night? I will allow it for today as the owner of the house."
 In Korea, in your sophomore year of High School, you decide whether you will be in the department of liberal arts, or department of science.
 Isn't this more fitting of her last name of Lotus? xD
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Dragneel
Everybody say hi to Dragneel! He PRed this chapter and may be coming onboard to keep doing it
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