Minjoon wasn’t joking . Marco didn’t think much of the conversation since he thought the man was just playing, but Minjoon really did send him plane tickets . Thanks to this, Marco found himself boarding a plane to LA just a few hours after the conversation took place .
‘The hell am I doing?’ Marco thought .
He hadn’t expected anything like this . LA? Now? Buying a ticket out of nowhere like that? He couldn’t understand what was going on at all . Marco looked back at the cameraman behind him .
“Muhammed, do you know how much it costs to go to LA?”
“Oh yeah, I remember . It cost the company about 395 dollars for my ticket . ”
Marco sucked in a breath in surprise . 395 dollars? That wasn’t an easy amount of money to drop for just a meal . He looked at the ticket in his hand with a tearful face . He could tell how much Minjoon cared for him from it .
“Sorry, I look like a kid, don’t I?”
“No, anyone would have the same reaction in your situation . Don’t beat yourself up so much . You did nothing wrong . ”
“I can’t believe I would get scammed like this while other people are succeeding in their own places . ”
Words of encouragement only made Marco feel more depressed . So the cameraman decided not to say anything more . Of course, the silence didn’t really help, either .
Thanks to all this, Marco boarded the plane looking like a sick patient . It was no surprise that the woman sitting next to him stiffened up from discomfort because of it . Or maybe she stiffened up because Marco was just that big .
Soon, the woman noticed the cameraman who was right behind Marco . A question mark floated up in her face for a few seconds, which quickly turned into a face of realization . The woman turned to Marco with an excited voice .
“Ah, would you be Marco from Grand Chef?”
“Yes . ”
“Wow! I loved you in the show! My name’s Rebecca . Why are you going to LA today?”
“To eat dinner . ”
Marco realized how pretentious and rich that made him sound . Kind of like a person who eats pasta in Italy for lunch, and escargot in France for dinner? Marco quickly attempted to correct himself .
“I’m the one buying, actually . ”
Didn’t make it any less weird .
“You think you’re rich or something? You can’t just shoot plane tickets at people willy-nilly, you know . ”
“People need to think a lot before they shoot . I thought a bit before I decided to go for it, too . ”
“That’s not what I mean and you know it . ”
“This isn’t the problem here, is it? The problem is that Marco’s in trouble . Can’t we help him out?”
“So you’re going to empty your wallet just to cheer one guy up? You need to think about how you’re going to spend money unless you want to become debt-ridden . ”
“Debt? You know I never miss my payment deadline for my credit card, right?”
“I’m telling you, if you keep using money like this, it’s going to turn into a habit . Do you think those beggars in the market became like that from the start? They became like that because of just one mistake . So… mmph . ”
Kaya stopped . Minjoon had put a finger on her lips .
“Ub ah ah?” Kaya managed to say with a frown .
“Stop it . You don’t need to go overboard like this . ”
Kaya smacked his hand away . She looked at Minjoon with an angry look for a second, before bursting out the door . Anderson looked at Minjoon with a surprised face .
“You’re not following her?”
“We have to go to work, don’t we?”
“You’re being cold today . Trying to be manly in front of the camera?”
“You act like she has me on a leash or something . ”
“Because she does . ”
Anderson didn’t even hesitate . He could tell from Minjoon’s face, too . The man’s eyes were constantly looking at the door in concern .
Minjoon had hoped that Kaya would come back before he left, but that didn’t end up happening . Due to this, he looked quite down when he went to work . Enough to make Maya get worried for him .
“Did something happen, chef?”
“No . Nothing . ”
“You look really down . ”
“Why don’t you cheer up for my stead, then?”
“Haha, that’s not how that works . ”
Looking at Maya laugh made Minjoon feel a little bit better . Right then, Ella came to ask him for a hug . Minjoon looked at the little girl with a troubled look .
“Ella, sorry . I need to cook . I’ll hug you later . ”
“Ella’s not asking you for a hug, Ella’s giving you one . Getting a hug makes people feel better . ”
“…How do you know stuff like that?”
“Ella’s not young, she’s a big girl! I know everything now . ”
“Well, who knows . And Ella, you know you’d be too small if you stopped growing there . You need to grow some more to be a big girl . ”
“I’m talking about thoughts, not height, uncle . ”
Ella shook her head with a big sigh . Minjoon let out a small laugh before kneeling in front of her . Ella pat his back gently with a hug .
“Good baby . ”
“…I’m a baby now?”
“Shh . Mommy told me that this is how you do it . ”
He wanted to tell the girl that Lisa only said that to her daughter, but decided against it . Instead, Minjoon just pat the girl’s head .
“You’re too kind, Ella . I’m really going to hate your husband when you marry . ”
“Ella’s not gonna marry . ”
“You know, people who say that kind of stuff usually get married the fastest . ”
“But Ella’s really not going to…”
Ella pouted . Minjoon stood up with a smile, which made his eyes meet with Lisa’s . Lisa smiled tiredly at him . Working by herself really must’ve taken a toll on her, even with lunch hours disappearing .
‘If Marco was here…’
“Lisa, can I ask you something?”
“Sure . What is it?”
“You wanted a better patissiere, didn’t you? I was wondering how you’d find one . ”
“Who knows . Auditions are a bit too much for me, so I was wondering if I could ask a few friends for connections . …Why do you ask?”
Just before Minjoon was able to continue, Rachel stepped into the kitchen and clapped . Minjoon turned to look at Rachel, who looked around the kitchen with a smile .
“You’re all working hard today . I came with some interesting news today . I don’t know if you’d take well to it, though . ”
“What is it?”
“You all should’ve known that this would happen . But it should still be interesting nonetheless . I got some news from a friend of mine . Apparently, sooner or later… a few friends of ours will be coming . ”
Rachel paused to take in the expressions of the chefs . She looked like she was at a party .
“The michelin inspectors, that is . ”
An angry Kaya, Marco’s situation, and the Michelin inspectors, to boot . Minjoon felt like he was getting slogged with a ton of homework out of nowhere . It almost felt like having to make a 7-course meal in 15 minutes . This made it difficult for Minjoon to maintain his usual composure .
‘The story’s turning out quite nice, actually . ’ The cameraman next to Minjoon noted .
He’s actually heard from Martin a while back . That people from season 3, like Minjoon, were blessed by the god of television or something . That something interesting always happens around them . The cameraman couldn’t help but agree with Martin at this point . Something interesting DID always happen near them, after all .
‘I heard Asians were quite polite from a lot of people, but Minjoon seems a little different . He’s just a good person, politeness aside . It’d be nice if I had a friend who gave me a plane ticket when I get depressed . ’
Most people watching the show would feel the same for sure . Minjoon was a really great friend . His actions were so over the top sometimes to the point of making a person wonder if he was just doing it for the TV .
Marco arrived around thirty minutes later . He was looking at Minjoon with a series of expressions . Confusion, conflict, happiness, and thankfulness . The confusion came from the fact that Minjoon looked even more conflicted than Marco himself .
“Hey Minjoon, Anderson . It’s been too long . How have you been?” Marco asked .
“Good, good . We felt bad hearing about your situation though . ” Minjoon responded .
“Minjoon’s probably feeling really conflicted right now . Kaya’s mad at him, and there’s you and your situation as well, and the fact that a michelin inspector is coming soon…” Anderson added .
“You don’t have to worry about me… Wait, hold on . Michelin?!”
“Yeah . We don’t know for sure when, but we know they’re coming . You know how they are . It’s actually pretty amazing that we got to know that they’re coming . ”
“…As expected of Rose Island, I guess . ”
Most normal restaurants didn’t even get a visit from Michelin . Marco couldn’t help but feel a little inferior to the two in front of him . Right about then, Minjoon opened his mouth .
“So, what are you planning on doing now? Got a workplace in mind?”
“Well, there are some, but… . They’re not all that great . ”
“I guess . Especially with people starting to forget about Grand Chef . ”
“Yeah, that’s why I’ve been troubled recently . I want to be careful about this . Can’t afford to make mistakes . ”
Marco spoke with a bitter voice . Minjoon couldn’t feel sorry for this massive friend of his . After a moment of thinking, Minjoon decided to say something that’s been on his mind .
“Can I give you an offer?”
“Why don’t you come here? It’s expensive to live in New York, isn’t it? This place is a bit expensive as well, but I’m sure you can learn a lot here . ”
“Are you talking about Rose Island?”
“Kind of… I want you to introduce you to someone . I think you can make a great partner to her . ”
“Of course . I understand . But… I want you to know one thing . ”
Minjoon grinned mischievously .
“The ticket I got you isn’t round trip . ”