First Steps (3)
‘Level 6, finally . ’
A small smile appeared on Minjoon’s face . This was a meaningful moment for him . Not just because he levelled up, no . What was important to him was the fact that he had levelled up shortly after joining Rose Island .
Of course, he levelled up pretty fast during grand chef . But that was pretty much inevitable . After all, he had been competing with several chefs that were better than him . There, he’d have been kicked out the moment he messed up . Having to make new dishes in that much pressure… It was inevitable that he’d grow there .
‘At least I knew a bit more about the themes beforehand . ’
The themes changed several times later on in the show . But still, during the early stages, his knowledge from the future helped him out quite a bit .
‘I wish I could use this in the store, too . ’
If he had had a lot of experience with restaurants, he would have been able to predict the food trends of the future quite well . But he had only worked in a single restaurant previously, and he had only really studied various recipes or food cultures around the world . Trying to predict food trends with just that would be a foolish endeavour .
“…Plus, trying to be aware of trends here would just be stupid . ”
“What was that?”
“Oh, sorry . I was talking to myself . ”
Maya seemed to be pretty nervous, seeing how she flinched the moment she heard Minjoon speak just now . Minjoon smiled apologetically at her as he shook his head . Rose Island was a restaurant that didn’t follow the trend . That said, it wasn’t like it was a restaurant that set the trend either .
Rose Island was… Like an anaconda . Most of the times, it slowly and carefully figured out what the customer wanted, but… Sometimes, it would just choke out the customers’ preferences with raw power as well . To Rose Island, that raw power was perfection .
That happened every once in a while . The score of the dish would come out to be 7, but Rachel would simply raise that score with words alone . Minjoon had had this happen a few times during the competition, but this was only when he had entered the zone . But Rachel was able to make this happen any time, anywhere .
‘She can see something that we can’t . ’
Minjoon wanted to see exactly that . He wanted to feel it . He wanted to make that his . Right now, he just did his job as an extension of Rachel’s hand . But he wanted to become her brain some day . He wanted to know the feeling of being able to treat countless chefs as extensions of himself . This was what Minjoon’s dream was . He wanted to create his own perfect dish .
This made Minjoon hungry . This desire only got worse and worse the more he pushed it away . But right now, he had to push it away even further . He had to cut his desires off as he worked . This was Rachel’s kitchen, and he was her hand . He couldn’t dirty Rachel’s dishes with something as stupid as his desires . He couldn’t feed such a thing to his customers .
Minjoon wasn’t stupid . He knew very well what other chefs and gourmands said about him . Rachel Rose’s heir . A person who might take charge of not just the main restaurant, but all the other branches as well…
A person who might be worth befriending for the future . He had heard this quite a bit from the people around him .
But such words only served to make Minjoon nervous . Minjoon didn’t want to think about anything other than the food laid out in front of him . He didn’t want to respond to Rachel’s kindness with stupid greed . Some people would call Minjoon stupid for thinking like this, but Minjoon liked that side of himself .
And this attitude that Minjoon took for himself was very noticeable . At least, it was to Rachel . After all, Minjoon was doing his best not to act out despite having heard of all the rumors about himself . This made Rachel feel ever prouder of the man .
She wanted to keep pondering on the word, but she couldn’t . Rachel raised her voice .
“Havierre! That rack of lamb is going to overcook in 5 seconds . Take it out!”
“Damn, how the hell are we supposed to go to other restaurants after this?”
“It does taste almost too good, yes . ”
Joseph grinned as he took a bite out of the pasta dish in front of him . It was spaghetti served with snapper and snapper stock puree . As soon as the food entered his mouth, his eyes became incredibly sharp . This tasted far more powerful than the version Anderson showed back in the competition . Almost too good, even after taking Rachel into account .
“The puree… is extremely smooth . The snapper doesn’t overwhelm the pasta either . How nice . I’m not too sure if I should be praising chef Rachel for her leadership or chef Anderson’s skill for this…”
“Is commanding a kitchen that difficult?”
“If I’m being honest, a head chef who can actually follow the flow of the kitchen is very rare . It’s inevitable . A head chef is only human, after all . It’s not easy trying to follow the actions of tens of different chefs in the kitchen . ”
One could easily detect a hint of admiration from Joseph’s voice . Sera couldn’t help but be surprised at this . Joseph was a respected chef in the restaurant industry . He was famous, too . A person of that standing was expressing quite the bit of admiration towards Rachel .
Sera took one more bite of the pasta, trying to focus on the flavor a bit more this time . Was it thanks to the way Joseph described it? The dish tasted far better than it did last time . When she chewed, she could feel the tiny bit of uncooked pasta in the middle of the noodles .
The ‘perfect al dente’ was a hot topic amongst many people, but most accepted that it was a subjective thing . Well… At least, it was either that or just trying pasta in Italy .
But the spaghetti wasn’t subjective at all . It was absolute . It was hard to imagine a more perfectly cooked pasta when she tasted this . Sera smiled . Not a fake one for the television, but a true joyful smile .
“This tastes quite wonderful . It might even be better than the pastas in Italy . ”
“The person in charge of the pasta must be quite talented . Plus, Rose Island only handles the best ingredients from the most famous producers . Though, I suppose it’d be more accurate for me to say that the young producers who worked with Rose Island all became incredibly famous over the years . ”
“So Rose Island wasn’t the only restaurant that experienced growth . ”
“Most restaurants grow like this . Though of course, one would have to pick out good people to grow with . ”
“Rachel was really lucky, huh . Speaking of which, Joseph, how was growing for you? Do you think you picked good people to work with?”
“Most of the time, yes . Some of them gave up in the middle, wanting to be carpenters or actors . That is why I approached a few producers for Rose Island once, but… They didn’t seem very willing to work with me . ”
Joseph emptied his plate as he said this . The pasta’s texture was simply irresistible .
“I was wondering if chef Anderson had improved or if chef Rachel was just that good, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter . With the food being this good, it’s obvious someone’s skill had to have improved . ”
“There’s a reason why the head chefs of Rose Island are all called monsters . ”
“The chefs at my restaurant are quite something too . ”
“Not as great as the chefs here though . ”
“…Still poking me where it really hurts, huh . ”
Jeremy made a silly grin towards Joseph’s bitter face . Sera let out a sigh of disappointment .
“I’m a little sad about coming for a TV show . I want to take my time to enjoy the food . ”
“Tsk tsk, you shouldn’t be saying that as a celebrity . You should take joy in explaining the flavors of the food you eat . ”
“I still have a way to go, huh . ”
Sera put on an embarrassed face at Jeremy’s jab . The servers brought out the sorbet . The mint + lime combo cleaned their palate quite well . It was to reset their tongue before they headed over to the main . Sera turned to look at Joseph .
“I think Minjoon was the one who made this . What do you think?”
“Amazing . Minjoon seemed very nervous with desserts some time ago . Of course, this didn’t come out as a dessert, but it’s still very tasty . Almost unbelievably good for just a palate cleanser . ”
“It seems Anderson and Minjoon grew quite a bit here . ”
“There’s a reason why so many chefs want to work here . They experience tremendous growth at a place like this . ”
By the time the main dish was about to come, a thunderous applause sounded from the hall . Rachel had come out of the kitchen to speak .
“Thank you for believing in a person who has been dead for a decade . I hope you are enjoying the food I am serving you today . I’ve tried my best to meet your expectations that have only been growing over the last ten years . ”
Another round of applause . A few people were even whistling . Lisa, who had been looking at Rachel from the back, seemed to want to cry . This was the place her father had been waiting for for over ten years . She was happy that she could be here in place of Jack, but… She also felt quite sad for her father . A baker who stood next to her exclaimed in surprise .
“Lisa, are you crying?”
“… No I’m not . ”
A different baker stopped him before the other one could say any more . Lisa quietly looked over at Rachel . The head chef was now greeting each customer individually . Of course, this was no different from Joseph & co . in the room .
“I’m been too long, Rachel . ”
“Ah, Sera . I haven’t seen you since the hunger trip . How did you find the food?”
“Is that even a question? It’s amazing! I won’t ever be able to forget about this restaurant like this!”
“Thanks for the compliment . What did you like best so far?”
“The dessert isn’t out, so I can’t comment on that, but…”
Sera paused to look at the other two at the table . The three of them took a breath before exclaiming in unison .
Rachel raised her brows in surprise .
“So that really is the most popular dish . My other disciples thought so as well . My customers, too . ”
“It really was perfect . The potato soup itself was good, but it wasn’t too special . The bacon foam was a game changer . I would never have thought that a foam of all things could taste so strong . ”
“It was a combination of the charm of molecular gastronomy and the charm of traditional methods . I think this is the best form of fusion cuisine that one can create . ”
Rachel turned to look at Jeremy . The man shrugged in response .
“It was tasty . I really don’t have much to add after those two . The bacon foam wouldn’t have been too tasty by itself . Probably a little too salty, in fact . But man, are you good at making stuff taste good…”
“Is that a compliment or an insult?”
“A compliment . I’m just a little annoyed . I want to insult you sometimes, but you just don’t give me any chance to do that . ”
Rachel smiled a little . Sera piped in to ask a question .
“What did Minjoon say? I recall he had this habit of putting scores on food?”
“Ah… that scoring thing . ”
Rachel smirked .
“Ten points, apparently . ”