Once they finished tasting the Rose Island team's dishes, everyone there was certain. The scales of victory had already tilted. There was no other way. Even the audience could tell that the judges were full of admiration, no, completely overwhelmed by the dishes.
THe four dishes Rose Island presented were perfect. Each and every one of the details were alive and the plating was clean. It was hard to believe that they made all of this in 30 minutes. Most surprising was the synergy between the four dishes. A course meal is not eaten all at once. Because of that, you could say each of the dishes are in its own individual territory……but their course was helping fix that type of thought.
The first salad jelly was not there just to round out the assortment. The taste of the greens inside helped cleanse the palate of the food you ate before that. But that wasn't it. The taste of the greens remained until you bit down onto the carrot gnocchi and shrimp balls, and only started to disappear once you started to eat the main eel roast.
And then the moment the strong taste of the eel seemed to remain in your mouth, Jo Minjun's white chocolate pasta with strawberry sauce filled your mouth with both a sour and sweet taste at the same time…… that it cleared the inside of your mouth completely without needing to stop to drink some water. It was too good of a composition. It was a course that would make anybody who knew a thing about food start to drool. Chloe closed her eyes and let the taste take her mind away.
'This……Minjun made this.'
The dessert itself was amazing, but the fact that Jo Minjun did not make even a single mistake in putting this together was even more surprising. To perfectly make such a complicated molecular gastronomy dish without making a single mistake……
The composition of the dish, as well as the sophistication and whimsical nature of the recipe was amazing as well. She felt like she could finally understand just what kind of person Rachel Rose happened to be. And Jo Minjun was working under such a person. While Chloe stands in front of the camera, Jo Minjun was standing next to the greatest chef of this generation.
"……Amazing, Minjun. No, the entire Rose Island team. You really made some amazing dishes. I am envious and think you are very cool."
"Thank you very much."
Jo Minjun shortly answered. Chloe was not disappointed. It might seem cocky to respond to a compliment with anything more. Matthew, who was lost in his thoughts, slowly started to speak.
"I am a failure as an MC. Miss Chloe, you as well. How could we not say a single thing while eating a four course meal? Look at the frustrated faces of our audience."
"Ah. I really feel sorry for all of them. It's so sad they do not get to eat this."
"Hmm hmm, Miss Chloe, maybe you should stop with the compliments. As an MC, you can't show favoritism for one team?"
"Right. I must be fair. But their dishes make even an MC unable to be fair. Ah……I am full of admiration. I didn't know the order of the dishes could bring forth such amazing tastes. I really wish my words could become the flavor to reach all of your tongues. Judges, don't you agree?"
Chloe looked around to the judges. But the majority of them were not in a state to respond. Someone was sniffling while still lost in thought, while another one was just blankly staring at the empty plate. The only one who managed to say anything was Emily. She started to speak with a complicated expression on her face.
"Yes, I agree. This is the first time in my life I've had so much trouble describing a taste. For molecular gastronomy to land in the hands of Chef Rachel Rose…… this feels completely different than anything I have eaten in my life."
"Which aspect is different?"
"I guess a feeling you get from not. No, that is not enough to describe it. I feel like I am being told a story as I eat it. If I had to say so myself, the majority of molecular gastronomy restaurants have an issue because the chefs are still not completely familiar with the composition of molecular gastronomy dishes. It can't be helped. Molecular gastronomy has only been around for about 10 years. Even the so called molecular gastronomy experts would have no more than 10 years of experience."
"That means……Chef Rachel Rose has completely mastere molecular gastronomy?
"It is difficult for me to answer that. However, what I am certain about……"
Emily pointed to the empty plates. Her voice was full of admiration and awe, as well as excitement. It was so hard to believe that she had been giving cold scoldings to the chefs prior to this.
"Out of all of the chefs i have met, Rachel Rose has the greatest understanding of molecular gastronomy. She also utilizes it the best. I'm sure everyone here today has feltl that. That is why they can't sit still right now."
Chloe looked around at the other chefs, the epicureans, at Emily's words. Emily was right. All of them didn't know what to do with themselves. Chloe was finally certain. Rose Island did not just make a perfect and tasty dish. They had shown something different than all of the other dishes here today. While other people were admiring the view on top of the mountain, the Rose Island dishes were helping people see everything in the sky.
'They made it so……you could experience the food with your whole body.'
There is always just one piece for a single-bite dish. Rachel overcame that issue with multiple courses. Rather than letting you feel many dishes in one bite, she made it so you can feel one taste with multiple dishes. The taste that remained in people's mouth right now was exactly that. THe amazing thing was that she managed to do this with not her strength, traditional cooking, but molecular gastronomy. This molecular gastronomy that she should not have much experience with.
The fact that Rose Island was not the last team was terrible for both the judges as well as the remaining teams. The judges could not get any type of positive feelings for their dishes. It was not that it was not tasty. In fact, there were many dishes you couldn't help but proclaim that they were great. However, after trying Rose Island's course, the other course meals did not even feel like course meals. The difference you could clearly tell from looking at an adult and a child was completely visible in the dishes.
'10 years ago, Rose Island was always the last to go in this competition.'
Since things always ended up like this in the past, the anticipation from the competition disappeared when Rose Island went first. After not having Rose Island here for 10 years, they must have completely forgotten about that a well.
'Everyone will need to remember it once more from now on.'
The island that everyone believed to have sunk had resurfaced. Now, everyone will have to look toward that island once more. They will dream about coming onto that island. JEremy started to snicker and mumble to himself, as if just thinking about it was funny.
"The cooks will start to get busy."
"The winner is…… Rose Island!"
Nobody was surprised when Matthew announced the results. Everybody had anticipated this result. Of course there were people who hoped for an upset, but seeing the rebirth of a legend was more refreshing. Almost everybody had a smile on their faces.
Hundred, no thousands of claps filled the auditorium. The chefs were the same way. They all turned toward ROse Island's team and sincerely clapped for them.
Jo Minjun did not start to walk right away. He closed his eyes and engraved the glory of the moment in his mind. This fervor of clapping that resonated not just in your ear, but also through your body. The thousands of eyes and cheering that filled the auditorium.
Jo Minjun slowly started to open his eyes. He then turned toward the other team members.
"……All of us?"
Janet asked in a surprised tone. Jo Minjun calmly answered back.
"We all cooked together. WE should all get the trophy together as well."
Jo Minjun started to walk. Of course there was nothing like a red carpet. However, walking in the midst of chefs clapping for him felt more glamorous and amazing than walking the red carpet. Chloe and Matthew looked toward them from the stage. Matthew slowly started to speak.
"Everyone longed for the legend and were curious about it. Thank you, chefs of Rose Island. You have proved that the legend still exists. Now, the legend is no longer just a memory but among all of us!"
"Congratulations. Winners of the 53rd LA Cooking Competition. If possible, we want to give each of you a trophy……but unfortunately there is only one. Is there someone who will receive it as the representative?"
The demi chefs silently looked toward Jo Minjun at Chloe's question. Anderson pushed Jo MInjun forward. Jo Minjun seemed to be nervous for a moment before gently smiling and receiving the trophy from Chloe. Cameras started to flash all around them. The words 'Grand Prize' that was engraved on the crystal trophy was clearly visible. Chloe had a comfortable smile that you would normally show your friends as she asked. Her tone was pretty formal.
"How do you feel?"
"……This is the first trophy I've ever received in my life. My first victory. Although it is a trophy that I did not earn alone and earned together with the rest of the team, I think that actually makes this more worthwhile."
"Is there anything you want to say?"
Jo Minjun gulped at those words. He then slowly turned to look at the other demi chiefs, as well as the audience and the judges.
He then slowly started to speak.
"Long time no see, Emily, and JEremy."
"I was planning on being really tough on you if it wasn't good, but you brought a dish that made me unable to do that. Amazing."
"I am not amazing. I just did as Teacher Rachel taught me."
"The majority of demi chefs tend to not be able to do as they are taught. At your level, you can be a little more arrogant."
"Thank you for praising me like that."
Jo Minjun started to smile. The competition was over and a lot of them gathered together outside the competition grounds. Rachel was in that crowd as well. As soon as Rachel arrived, the majority of the epicureans looked like they were dying to go speak to her. But that was not just the case for the epicureans. Even the other demi chefs that took part in the competition were the same way. Rachel looked toward her demi chefs and started to smile.
"Good work. I was worried you might be too nervous, but I worried for nothing."
"Teacher, your gaze was more difficult to handle than thousands of eyes. At least to me. That was why I wasn't very nervous."
"That's a praise right?"
"That's how big of an impact you have on me, Teacher."
Jo Minun mischievously laughed as he responded. At that moment, someone suddenly hugged Jo Minjun's neck from behind him. They then whispered in his ear in a husky voice.
"Then what about my impact?"
"……Kaya. What are you doing in front of all these people?"
"That's going to become your catch phrase or something. You're always nagging at me when people are around."
Kaya started to grumble as she let go. Emily looked toward them with a slightly foreign expression.
"I did hear that the two of you were dating, but it is kind of odd seeing it with my own eyes."
"Don't worry. I'm sure I'll feel the same way when I see you with Allen, Emily."
Kaya casually responded back. IT was pretty relaxed, as if she had no reason to worry now that Emily was no longer her judge. Emily looked toward Rachel with an embarrassed expression.
"Anyways, congratulations Rachel. No, thank you. As I expected, there is nobody who can make me so overwhelmed with food like you."
"I think Allen will be sad to hear that?"
"Let him be sad. That idiot needs to suffer a bit."
Seeing Emily grumble like that, they must have recently fought. Jeremy Started to smile as he asked.
"Anyways, what are you going to do with the prize money? $30,000."
"Minjun said some pretty memorable words earlier."
Rachel looked toward Jo Minjun. Jo Minjun tried to remember what he said. He didn't know what Rachel was talking about. Rachel slowly continued to speak.
"'The reason we were able to have this glorious moment is all thanks to our teacher. Thank you for cherishing and teaching these lacking students. We are always thankful and we love you.' I was very thankful that you said something like that, Minjun."
"……I heard it is best to be honest with your feelings."
Jo Minjun responded with an embarrassed expression. Rachel started to smile as she started to speak again.
"That was why I had this thought as well. The Reason I could win this competition, is because all of you properly completed your mission as my hands. So of course……"
Rachel continued in a soft voice.
"The prize money belongs to all of you."
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Dragneel, Illidanstormrage
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