How To Draw The Eye of a Dragon (1)
Minjoon’s eyes burned as he looked at the system screen . They looked unbelievably energetic for someone who was supposed to be sick . Almost terrifyingly so . Anderson decided against asking the man if he was alright, and put his hand off of the doorknob .
‘That bastard… He thought of something again, didn’t he . ’
He’d seen Minjoon like this several times . Every time this happened, Minjoon managed to come up with something spectacular . Anderson looked at Minjoon with a complicated look .
Minjoon’s eyes wandered the air aimlessly, seemingly looking at something with great focus . His body was almost paralyzed with anxiousness, and he seemed like he wasn’t even breathing . After quite some time, Minjoon finally turned to look at Anderson with a tired face . He spoke up with an exhausted voice .
“Yo, Anderson . ”
“Done? Let’s go . ”
Anderson opened the door without saying anything else . He felt like he was burning up with something inside every time this happened to Minjoon . It could’ve been jealousy . After all, Anderson didn’t have this power of focus that Minjoon had .
Every time he saw Minjoon display feats of a genius, Anderson felt a strange wave of powerlessness wash over him . But it wasn’t exactly caused by something like jealousy . Anderson wasn’t that low of a person .
“How did it go? Did it work out well?”
“Yeah . I think I can satisfy Rachel with this . ”
“That’s good . This is an especially important moment for you, after all . ”
“I think that’s why I could focus . Since I had a clear motivation this time . ”
Anderson thought to himself for a second . Motivation . It’s true . At some point, everyone in the kitchen lost a clear goal that they used to have . Of course, they all still wanted to make good food, but that was… too general . What would be a good motivation for him? As he thought this, he looked at Minjoon . Minjoon looked back at Anderson confusedly .
“I was thinking you might end up becoming my motivation to cook . ”
“Well, that’d be an honor,”
“Oh, you guys are back?”
Kaya stood up from the sofa she was laying on . She walked over to Minjoon and put a hand over his forehead .
“Do you still have a fever? I can’t tell . ”
“Don’t think so, I took some meds . I’m not tired either . ”
“Told you you’d get sick . ”
“Hey, you were pretty clingy too when you were looking after me . ”
“Why don’t you get me sick as well if you feel so annoyed about it?”
Kaya cocked her head backwards a bit to invite a challenge . Minjoon just laughed it off, and flopped down on the sofa . Anderson sighed in annoyance .
“Stop it with being so sick all the time . I can’t afford to get sick either . ”
“No worries, it won’t happen . ”
“Who knows, you might already be infected already?”
Kaya teased Anderson with a playful voice . Minjoon proudly opened his mouth towards her .
“I thought of a recipe . ”
“Thought of? But it didn’t get passed or anything?”
“It will . It’s a great recipe . ”
“…You’re really confident, aren’t you? What is it?”
“Not telling . It’s going to be a surprise for you . You’ll find out on the day . ”
“You’re really, really confident about this, aren’t you?”
Minjoon nodded .
“There’s absolutely no way this is going to get a fail . ”
Even if one had a great recipe didn’t mean the dish was going to turn out great as well . Minjoon realized only after trying to make the pomegranate candy that his recipe was far more difficult than he imagined .
“… . The shape looks off, too . ”
The other aspects of the dish weren’t that difficult . But shaping the pomegranate toffee into an actual pomegranate was far too difficult . He had to insert air into the candy to shape it, but it wasn’t going as well as he had hoped . Maya sighed next to him .
“Chef, do you think I’d actually be able to make this?”
“Forget about that, it might actually be too hard for me as well . ”
Minjoon stepped back with a sigh after messing up yet another attempt . This was the most annoying part of molecular gastronomy he had experienced to date . Of course, it wasn’t like the flavor was going to be ruined, but the fun of the dish was in the shape of it . He couldn’t ruin that experience for the customers .
“Give me that . ”
In the end, Raphael stepped in . And a pomegranate formed in his hands in an instant . Raphael shrugged towards the astounded couple in front of him .
“Do you know what you two are doing wrong?”
“The beginning . This right here . ”
Raphael held the toffee in his hand . He carefully took off a piece to shape it into a ball, and pressed the center with his finger . It looked a little off, but it still came out quite nicely .
“This is where the result gets decided, right here . You were getting the first step wrong, so it was inevitable that you’d get everything else wrong, too . ”
“What’s so different about your piece of candy?”
“Look at how even it is . ”
Raphael pointed to his work as he said this . Minjoon observed it carefully, and became rather amazed . It was just like he said . Every part of the candy was even .
“How did you make it like this?”
“Just the way I make the rest of my dishes . I focused . Put all of your focus into that one piece of toffee . Your work can only get better the more you focus . It’s just like how you can get your finger cut if you rely too much on your muscle memory as you cut . That’s why all great cooks become incredibly cautious when they grab a knife . ”
“…You’re saying I wasn’t focused enough?”
“Are you going to tell me you were?”
Raphael quietly looked back at Minjoon . Minjoon asked himself the question . Was he lazy? Was he not focused at work? Perhaps . This was different from his time at the competition . It wasn’t like he was being tested daily, and his job here was just following Rachel’s orders .
There was no way he’d feel too pressured by that . He was being paid well for his work, and that work wasn’t all that taxing, either . There were only two people, Rachel and Raphael, working as his bosses, so there wasn’t any need to feel stress either .
‘I guess I really might’ve gotten a little dull . ’
Perhaps Minjoon had been too taken in trying to enjoy the moment, rather than trying to improve himself . He needed to feel more pressured to get better .
“Would you like to try again?”
“Of course . ”
Minjoon took his gloved hands to touch the toffee . The piece he took off was quite a bit stiffer than it actually looked . It was candy, after all . Due to this, controlling his strength when molding it was more difficult than he thought . He had to put more strength into it compared to kneading flour dough . That alone made it far easier to break it .
‘Focus, focus, focus…’
Minjoon chanted the word in his head as he worked the dough . Funnily enough, the candy became visibly more even as time went on . Minjoon didn’t let go of his focus even after flattening the candy completely . He slowly shaped it into a tulip, before beginning to blow air into it .
This step, to him, was even more difficult than shaping the candy itself . After all, it was very difficult to judge the state of the candy when it was getting pumped full of air .
Raphael quietly observed Minjoon . He didn’t show it, but he was rather surprised at what was going on .
‘To think a person would change this much after just one advice…’
He did expect Minjoon to improve after the advice, but he didn’t think it would happen so instantly . He had thought the improvements would come after one or two more failures .
But Minjoon was different . He was someone who could enter the zone almost willingly . This made Raphael feel almost jealous .
‘Focus and patience . What more would a cook need in his career? No… Really, if a person has those two things, it’s inevitable that they’d succeed in anything . ’
Raphael watched as Minjoon pumped the candy with air . This was different from shaping the candy by hand . Making mistakes here would ruin the candy completely .
Was it because of that? Minjoon’s speed in blowing air into the candy was incredibly slow . If this was happening during service time, he would’ve gotten tens of different complaints from the customers . But Raphael didn’t bother to tell him that . This was just the beginning . Success was more important here than speed .
The candy began to turn into a beautiful sphere as it became more and more full . After some time, Minjoon put a torch next to the blower, and took the machine off once the candy had melted enough .
Then, after reshaping the molten part of the candy a little bit, he began to pour the pomegranate ice cream into the hole . Only after closing the hole with the pomegranate cream did Minjoon step back with a smile . He turned to look at Raphael, who shook his head in mock disgust .
“You really did it, didn’t you? First try, too . You’re too impatient . ”
“I didn’t think I could do it . ”
“…I can’t do it . ”
Maya made a depressed face as she handled the uneven candy in her hands . Minjoon quickly put his work on top of some dry ice to chill it . Raphael looked a bit confused by this .
“Why put it there? It should do fine in the freezer . ”
“I want to show it to Rachel as fast as possible . ”
“Oh, how nice of you . ”
Raphael couldn’t help but smile at this childish side to Minjoon . Minjoon looked at the clock anxiously for a few minutes, before grabbing a plate and the pomegranate jam .
“I’ll be off to serve this real quick . ”
“Alright . good luck . ”
Minjoon looked at his candy . It was 8 points so far . Still 1 point off from the expected score . But it was fine . The dish wasn’t completed just yet . Only when it got the jam on it would it really be complete…
He knocked on the office door with the dish on one hand . He heard Rachel’s voice coming from the office .
“Come in . ”
Rachel’s eyes shone a little when she noticed Minjoon . Seeing from the dish in his hand, it seemed to her that he had already made a dish for her . She smiled .
“So, did it go well?”
“Yes . It’s perfect . ”
“Alright . Bring it over, then . ”
“Yes ma’am . ”
Minjoon looked visibly excited . Rachel looked at him with warm eyes . Minjoon put the dish in front of her, and gave her a knife and fork .
“Would you try breaking this for me?”
Rachel gave the candy a few small taps . It wasn’t as hard as she thought . The candy broke a little after one tap, then fell apart after the next . Rachel gave an exclamation of surprise when she saw the ice cream pour over like a waterfall .
“You made this with the pomegranate, huh?”
“Yes . Ah, please don’t eat it just yet . There’s still more to be done . ”
Minjoon picked up the teapot as he said this . It was about time . Rachel had been giving it a few curious glances all this time . When Minjoon tilted the pot over the dish, the warm jam poured out over onto the powdered ice cream . At the same time, a screen popped up in front of Minjoon .
[The final score of this dish is 9 points!] [You’ve managed to complete every step of the dish by yourself!] [Your skill in molecular gastronomy has increased!] [Your skill in plating has increased!]
Numerous screens of congratulations exploded in Minjoon’s eyes . But the one compliment Minjoon looked forward to the most was one from Rachel . Rachel laughed to herself as she looked at the dish in surprise .
“Justin’s going to be annoyed at you for giving him extra dishes to clean . ”
“We can think about that later . How is it?”
“It looks good . The plating was done well as well . What’s important is the taste, though . Let’s see…”
Rachel put a spoonful of the ice cream into her mouth, and smiled . Minjoon nervously asked his question when Rachel turned to him .
“Do you think it’s possible? To… put this on the menu on Christmas?”
Rachel answered .
“No, it’s not . ”