Anderson looked at Rachel with a tired face . Rachel just shrugged .
“Don’t be like that . I told you, didn’t I? I can’t stand watching my disciple suffer . He must be going through a lot from stress already . Can’t give him stuff like this to worry about on top of that . ”
“…How charming . Would you do this if I was in the same boat?”
“You’re my disciple too, aren’t you?”
Anderson grinned . He was quite happy just hearing that . He looked away and coughed a little .
“Hm, hm . So what are you planning on doing now? You just invited the man . ”
“Yeah . What are you going to do?”
“What? Do what?”
“I just wrote him to try and distinguish between my dishes and your dishes . So obviously now you guys need to make new dishes . ”
“…You were serious? To begin with, are you even sure he’s going to take up the challenge?”
“He has to . Well, he’ll want to . After all, this is his big chance to get famous . ”
“He might get humiliated though?”
“Not many people ever think of losing . They just look at the fruit they’ll taste upon victory . Especially children like him . ”
Rachel smiled coldly . Anderson could see for a moment what kind of a life Rachel must’ve lived right there . Rachel continued with an ice-cold voice .
“It’s an adult’s duty to teach the young what reality is like . It looks like I’ll have to be a little strict with this one . ”
“…Why didn’t you stop her?”
Janet seemed pretty pissed . Anderson could only shrug .
“How could I? I can only go along with it . ”
“Ah… The recipe from last time took a month to make . I have to do it again? In less than a month?”
Janet sighed with a hand over her forehead . Javier looked equally nervous . It was understandable . He was, after all, the only chef who was unable to put up a recipe on the menu last time .
Javier balled up his fits tightly . Minjoon walked up next to him with his arms crossed .
“It shouldn’t be too hard this time . ”
“We don’t have to try to make a recipe by our selves like last time . There’s no competition here . We can’t run the kitchen alone . Same goes for developing recipes . Why should we try to make stuff all by ourselves and just make things harder? Plus, it isn’t like the recipes from last time were purely developed by ourselves either . ”
Minjoon seemed to be targeting Javier the most with his words . There was no need to make a recipe by yourself . It’d actually be quite stupid to do so . Minjoon wanted Javier to get help . He didn’t want Javier to suffer .
Minjoon didn’t know if Javier noticed his intent . But under all the other chef’s gazes, Javier opened his mouth .
“I want to be alone . ”
“…Do you have to?”
“You guys did, too . You still managed to do it, even though it was the stupid thing to do . I didn’t . ”
The air of the kitchen got heavier in an instant . Javier quickly tried to wave it off .
“Hey, hey, don’t make a face like that . I’m not mad . Well, I’m mad at myself . You know, I’d feel like I’m always behind otherwise, and whatnot… Sorry . I guess that’s not really like me, huh . Haha… I don’t know what I’m even trying to say . ”
“It’s fine . We get it . So, should we just watch?”
Javier smiled lightly . His eyes hid a lot of pain underneath it, but he clearly didn’t want to show it .
“Yeah . I promise to succeed this time . ”
“Alright . We trust you . ”
Minjoon grinned . Javier smiled awkwardly in response, then immediately fell into deep thought . He was coming up with ideas already .
Right then, Anderson waved the crew over . He was looking at his smartphone .
“The dude responded . ”
Jasper Vasaeli: Alright Rachel Rose . I’ll play your little game .
Christmas dinner . Even today, Minjoon had to run around everywhere pouring the pomegranate jam on everyone’s desserts . At the same time, he was questioned by numerous worried faces . Like right now .
“Ah, Minjoon . It’s great to see you in real life . ”
“Thank you for coming . How’s the food?”
“It’s amazing . I’ve been to the branch restaurants, but the main store is something else . You must be quite happy here . ”
“Especially when I meet someone as kind as you . ”
“Oh my, you speak like a movie character from the 90s . Are you doing this on purpose?”
“Who knows? Why don’t you try breaking open that toffee for me?”
“Ah, like this?”
The candy broke, and Minjoon started pouring . The jam met with the ice cream, and the plate got covered with steam . The customers all exclaimed in pleasure when they ate the dish . One male customer even said this .
“I really wouldn’t have known this was made by you if you didn’t tell me . Does working here automatically level you up into an amazing cook or something? Or… Were you just this good from the start? This dessert… It’s one of the best I’ve ever had . ”
“Thank you . I did come up with it, but chef Rachel definitely was the one to guide me in the right direction . So I guess you could really call it her dish . She just borrowed my head to come up with it . ”
“Haha, that’s one way of putting it . Ah, I’ve heard that story about the crazy blogger . I was wondering why he would say something that he did, and eating the dish is only making me more confused about his statement . ”
“Thank you for telling me . His words hurt me quite a bit, but you’re making me feel better already . ”
Minjoon smiled . He’s already heard the same conversation tens of times, but he didn’t seem to get tired by it at all . After all, he didn’t want to ruin their meal at all just because he was tired . That’s why he was feeling rather complicated inside .
‘…Do I really have to be kind even to people like him?’
People who try to find faults even in good food, and people who look at everything in an offensive manner . Would he have to treat them like normal customers? He wasn’t sure .
That night, Rachel called over all the chefs for a meeting . She opened her mouth calmly .
“The date comes after ten days . January tenth . It’ll be annoying coming up with a recipe during the holiday season, but I hope you won’t feel too bad about that . ”
“…How can we not? We have to come up with something that won’t lose to your dishes . ”
“Work hard together . You four just have to huddle up together to create the best three course meal that you can . Ah, but you can always ask me or Raphael for feedback . Nothing’s different here . ”
Javier put up an awkward face . After all, he just came back from saying he’d work alone . Minjoon glanced at Javier for a second . He wasn’t about to say Javier should give up . He could only help the man do his best .
‘…Nothing worse than feeling like you’re being left behind . ’
Minjoon’s experienced being the runt of the kitchen at the age of thirty . He was easily able to understand what Javier was going through .
It was a complicated day overall . It was nice seeing all the customers, but he didn’t feel that great by the end at all .
There was a party that night between the staff and their friends in the restaurant . Food critics and chefs that knew Rachel came, and even Emily, Sera, Chloe and Kaya were there . Kaya looked quite dissatisfied .
“My chefs would be really mad at me if they knew I was here . I told them I was sick . ”
“Why? You shoulda just stayed with them . ”
“I’d rather spend my Christmas with my boyfriend . ”
Kaya said this as she picked a hair off of Minjoon’s neck . Minjoon blushed and brushed it off himself . Emily stared at the two with jealousy .
“You two look really nice together . ”
“How about you? Is Alan being nice?”
Minjoon remembered her being mad last time about Alan . Emily seemed pretty unhappy this time, too .
“My fault for dating an Italian, I guess . He just gets swarmed every time…”
“…Alan? I didn’t think he’d be a playboy . ”
“You’re dead wrong . He’s got a real soft heart, so he’s just terrible at saying no to women…”
Minjoon coughed . Listening to Emily talk with Kaya and Chloe… made him feel pretty guilty . Kaya smiled brightly .
“I’m glad Minjoon isn’t popular with the ladies . I don’t have to worry about a situation like Emily’s . ”
“Well… he might be more popular than you think . ”
Anderson piped in . Kaya’s eyes narrowed savagely towards him .
“What? There’s someone who likes him? Do you know? Who the hell is it?”
Anderson couldn’t dare say it was the person right next to Kaya . Especially with Chloe looking so desperately at him . Anderson shrugged .
“Just saying . He’s a good guy, you know?”
“…You’re making me feel real suspicious right now . ”
Kaya glared at Anderson, but the man didn’t even budge . Sera smiled looking at the two .
“Speaking of which, you guys got attacked by a real weirdo, right? What was his name again?”
“I forget . It’s not anything memorable, anyway . ”
“Whoa, you must be really mad to say stuff like that about him . ”
Sera honestly seemed quite shocked . It wasn’t easy to see Minjoon this mad . Minjoon cooled his head a little before responding .
“I’m fine with people insulting me, but insulting the people around me is… Especially when it’s bullshit coming out of their mouths…”
“I heard you guys are going to compete with something?”
“Yes . We’re going to see if the man can distinguish between our dishes and Rachel’s . With a three course meal . ”
Minjoon sighed . He continued to talk with a low voice .
“It’s not the first time I’ve come across a bad customer . I’ve seen a few during Grand Chef as well . But a person who’s so obviously trying to start a fight… I’m not sure if I have to really treat him like a customer . ”
“All depends on his intent, I guess . If he’s here to enjoy a meal, that’s fine . If he’s trying to find a fault in the dishes, that’s not really fine . ”
“That’s true, I guess . Mindset is everything . ”
Minjoon nodded, and grabbed a mac and cheese ball from the edge of his dish . He put it up right next to Kaya’s mouth, who took a bite almost subconsciously . Her eyes immediately went wide . Something was wrong about that ball . It was green . Like wasabi . Minjoon quickly put his hand under Kaya’s jaw . Kaya put a hand over her nose, and managed to spit out the piece in her mouth . Her eyes started watering, and she started almost flailing about in agony . Minjoon smiled kindly at her .
“Thanks for the breakfast this morning, Kaya . ”