Kaya is a sensitive person in general . This was sort of due to her being raised in a poor marketplace neighborhood, but that alone wasn’t a great excuse .
Due to this, Kaya reached a single conclusion . She was just born this way . She just had this personality from the start . Then… Her next question naturally became: Who did she inherit it from?
It wasn’t Grace . Grace had quite the personality of her own, but Grace was more akin to a bear, where Kaya was something closer to a wolf . The viciousness was different . Then… who did she inherit it from? There was only one answer .
‘…I knew it . ’
Kaya finally found her answer as she observed Bruce glaring at everyone around himself . She resembles her father . Everything from looking at the people passing by with a glare in nervousness, to stiffening up trying to hide said nervousness .
“Are you scared?”
“No, I’m no… oh, you’re not going to believe me, are you? What do you want? Do you want me to look more confident? Or do you want to be honest?”
“You kind of answered that question already . ”
“That’s… true . ”
Bruce nodded with a small sigh . Kaya smiled .
“I must’ve inherited my idiocy from you . ”
“…I’d like to say something about that, but I’ll refrain for now . ”
Kaya had been hurt too deeply for the two to start acting like a normal father/daughter couple again . While Kaya understood Bruce, she didn’t like how he kept acting like a sinner . She let out a small word of complaint .
“You weren’t there when we needed you most . I understand why, but I think it’s still your fault for leaving us . But…”
Kaya paused . She thought she’d be able to say this confidently, so why was she hesitating? She turned away to look at something else as she continued with a trembling voice .
“Ah, hm . I think I need a bit more water… Anyways, stop acting like a sinner . I’m not saying this for you . It’s just really depressing being next to you when you’re like that . Please . …Father . ”
Kaya was wondering if she really wanted to add on that last word to her sentence, but it ended up coming out even before she could make a decision . Bruce looked at Kaya with a grateful look, and Kaya tried her best to ignore that look .
“You called me father…”
“It just came out on its own . So don’t be so happy . I never told you to be happy . ”
“Sure, sure . ”
Bruce tried his best to stiffen up again, but it was impossible to hide that smile away from his face . Only then did Kaya realize . No matter what, she still loved her father .
It wasn’t like she knew Bruce wasn’t a bad person . Perhaps the story Bruce told her was fake . Even then, she wanted to trust him . She wanted to love him . She wanted to be loved .
It made her mad thinking this, but it was the truth . She’d never seen her father in her life . She thought she would be able to give him the middle finger with a big grin on her face . She thought she’d be able to say, “oh, alright then”, when she heard the news of her father’s death . But this wasn’t possible .
It wasn’t because they were tied by blood . It wasn’t because Kaya was weak . It was simple . Kaya wanted a happy ending to her life . She wanted her life to become like a family sitcom from a TV . That was all, really .
“You’re really going to have to steel yourself when you meet mom . She’s really mad . ”
“…Of course . ”
“Don’t expect to be forgiven . But don’t be too scared either . She doesn’t have a gun . ”
“Hah, that’s a relief, I guess . ”
Bruce tried to look casual about the whole affair, but Kaya couldn’t help but notice how much he was trembling . Kaya felt a bit of satisfaction when she looked at this . Yeah . This was what she wanted to see . He hasn’t done anything good . Seeing him be confident would just have made her mad .
The conversation stopped right after that . Bruce just looked dumbly at the passing crowd in nervousness . He probably forgot about even continuing the conversation with Kaya .
But ironically, Kaya was actually feeling relieved looking at Bruce like this . If he really didn’t care about her or her mother, he wouldn’t be so nervous . Looking at him be so emotional… was kind of satisfying, really .
‘It’s a really cruel way of thinking, isn’t it?’
Realizing this pissed her off quite a bit, but thankfully she didn’t have to dwell on the thought much . Grace appeared not soon after her thinking this, after all . Bruce nervously opened her mouth as Grace stomped her way forward .
“Grace, it’s been a long…”
He didn’t get to finish . There was a fist going straight up his gut, and Bruce drooped down onto the floor gasping for breath . Grace shouted at him with a very strong English accent .
“You! You fucking bastard!”
Kaya grinned .
“Chef! They’re here!”
Maya whispered to Minjoon in excitement . Minjoon turned to look at the hall . His eyes met with Kaya’s, and he immediately turned back to look at his station . Maya asked him a question with a saddened voice .
“I mean, what else did you expect me to do? Jump around in happiness?”
“No, but… That was so dry . You were so excited about this!”
“That’s why I need to try my best today . I can’t ruin my work because of my excitement . But you seem more excited than me right now?”
“Other people’s stories are always more fun than your own, you know . ”
“…True, that . But still, be focused . We’re going to have to satisfy these people out in the hall one way or the other . You gotta have some more responsibility about that . ”
“I do, you know . You need to stop lecturing me about that . ”
Maya pouted, which just made Minjoon sigh inside .
“Those yuzu candied carrots over there . Did you harden those properly?”
“Of course . Just lo… eh?”
“Don’t you know the coating doesn’t stick if you harden them that fast? You need to focus . ”
“…Yes . ”
Minjoon glanced at Kaya’s table again . It was a moment to celebrate, but Bruce looked almost dead inside, and Grace looked like she was on fire . But Minjoon wasn’t worried .
He was convinced that Rose Island’s food would calm the two right down . He was confident the family would find peace . Food was almost magical, after all .
‘I’m going to be like gandalf, just for today . ’
Magic was crucial for today . Minjoon was never more thankful for the fact that he was in charge of molecular gastronomy than today . Molecular gastronomy was always somewhat involved in everyone’s dishes, which meant Minjoon had a hand in almost everything .
He could see countless scores on each and every dish, but the only thing he could really focus on were the turkey cooking in the sous vide machine, or the stock jelly cooling down next to him .
But what he was most excited about, of course, was the dessert . Minjoon turned to Maya .
“Don’t take the thing I prepped for Kaya’s table somewhere else, alright?”
“I know, don’t worry . ”
Minjoon started visiting tables with dessert along with his jam kettle . He started up a few conversations as he poured the jam over their desserts .
“How’s the meal?”
“Yes . It’s… Ah? Minjoon! You’re here in person?”
“Yes . I thought to serve you a special tea . Could you please crack open the pomegranate for me?”
“It’s a bit too pretty for that, though…”
The customer reluctantly broke open the candy, and the pomegranate powder and jellies revealed themselves . The female customers all let out a gleeful laughter .
“It’s so cute . Chef Rachel’s quite something for coming up with something so girly and cute . ”
“Unfortunately for chef Rachel, I was the one who made the dish . Men, too, sometimes need to have a bit of a feminine side when making art . ”
“Did you just call yourself an artist?”
Minjoon smiled at the joke, and poured . The customer became confused for a second . Why was he pouring the tea over the dish? But when the jam hit the ice cream and let off steam, the customer understood exactly why . The resulting smell was just so sweet and charming .
“Wow, this is… !”
“Taste it . It’ll get better when you do . ”
The customers quickly took up their spoons . The pieces of candy, ice cream, jam, and jelly all got put on their tiny spoons .
As soon as this mix entered their mouths, they weren’t able to say anything . The explosion of pomegranate flavors mixing together just left them speechless . All they could do… Was savor the flavor in utter bliss .
‘This was made by Minjoon, not Rachel?’
The price of going to Rose Island was not cheap . It was incredibly steep, especially for the poor . That’s why many of the tables were filled with foodies and critics here . People who wouldn’t hesitate to drop big bucks on food .
That’s why they realized exactly how advanced this dish was . It was sensual, revolutionary, and full of experience .
‘Is Rachel just that good of a teacher? Or…’
Many people thought this, but none dared to actually asked it . After throwing this massive bomb of a dessert into the hall, Minjoon finally headed over to the table he’d been waiting to serve . Kaya looked at Minjoon with a smile .
“You’re here . ”
“Congratulations to all of you for finally reuniting . How was the meal?”
“It was good . But I can’t say I enjoyed it, having had to eat with this person . ”
Grace glanced at Bruce as she said this . Minjoon smiled bitterly . He could feel the air from Kaya’s table even in the kitchen . It was inevitable, really . It wasn’t like they could just smile at each other after all the pain they had gone through .
“I wanted to do something for you guys, but the only thing I could really do was just cooking . So I prepared something for you . I can’t give you the answer to your problem, but I could always help you solve it . ”
Minjoon said this as he put the dessert on the table . It was different from the ones on other tables . The toffee had the word “hardship” written on it . Grace asked Minjoon a question with an annoyed look .
“Are you asking me to swallow this hardship?”
“No, break it . Take your fork and just smash it . ”
Grace hesitated before lifting up her fork . She seemed to have gotten a little mad seeing that word . She smashed the candy with more force than Minjoon expected, and the toffee shattered everywhere on the dish . And… a new word revealed itself from inside . Jemma read this with a dumb look .
The hardships had passed .
And like all hardships, happiness would follow it .