The cassoulet was art . But the scotch egg wasn’t great . Minjoon wasn’t the only one surprised by this . As a matter of fact, pretty much everyone in the kitchen were making a surprised face .
Minjoon tried a bite of the egg without saying anything . The texture of the breading tickled the tongue a little bit before revealing the cassoulet inside . The egg broke away like tofu, coating the tongue with the sauce .
It was delicious . How was this worse compared to the cassoulet? Minjoon thought as he took a bite of the cassoulet by itself . His eyes widened in surprise .
“Like you said… The cassoulet by itself is better . ”
Surprisingly, it was . The scotch egg was pretty fun to eat with its texture . It tasted pretty high-class as well . But the cassoulet itself was neither fun or high-class . It was just tastier .
“The idea is noble . An improvement from the standard scotch egg . But it feels like you’re just mashing two things together here . We can’t sell this . ”
“…I understand . ”
Minjoon lowered his head sadly . She was right . He didn’t think about improving cassoulet when he first started with the dish . He only thought about making a new “scotch egg” .
The cassoulet just kind of came up in the middle of it . Now that he thought about it, that was where everything went wrong . He should’ve thought a bit more about if cassoulet really was the right choice to use with the egg .
“Are you feeling hurried?”
Rachel’s question came to Minjoon rather strongly . She was right . It’s already been a month after Jo Reggiano . It wasn’t like he wanted to make something that popular again . To begin with, the dish itself only got that popular out of chance . Rachel muttered with a bitter face .
“A dish from a restaurant has to be different in one way or the other . All chefs and critics say this . But that precise sentence can choke us at times . After all, it restricts us from making something normal . Making dishes from around the world is difficult enough . ”
Minjoon and Anderson nodded . They felt this multiple times during Grand Chef . After all, people kept trying to critique their food as if they were in a high class restaurant . Rachel continued .
“I’m not saying that’s bad, no . Improving in just one area does make you an expert in that field, after all . But… Going too deep can sometimes leave you with stranger results . Here, take a look . ”
Rachel pointed at the naked baby angel fountain in the middle of the hall . Occasionally the restaurant would get customers who would stare at the fountain for several minutes instead of eating the food .
“What if someone tried putting baby clothes on that angel, saying the original sculpture was incomplete?”
“Uh… . It’d look really cheap . ”
“That’s exactly what this is . ”
Rachel pointed at Minjoon’s dish .
“You were being a bit too greedy by using cassoulet here . You wanted to show off . Because this is a restaurant . ”
“But taking off its clothes… Is also hard, isn’t it? Like you said, this is a restaurant . The dishes here require something special . What should I do?”
“Let’s say a woman came out into the streets wearing only her underwear . People would call her crazy, no matter how beautiful she was . But what if she was taking photos for a magazine? What do you think the woman would be then?”
“Beautiful… I suppose?”
“That’s what the plate is . Depending on how you plate your cassoulet, any rustic dish could become a beautiful one . ”
Minjoon recalled something Rachel said in the past . That the most important part of food was its presentation . Seeing that her plating level had reached ten, her words didn’t seem so empty to him .
“So you’re saying this cassoulet can get on the menu if I present it right?”
“Who knows… Depends on how you plate it . It tastes amazing . Almost as good as restaurants that’s been making the dish for years . But plating isn’t just about that . Once you understand the artistic nuances that come with it, you’ll find your answer . ”
Minjoon lowered his head . Not because he felt sad or anything, though . His eyes were focused right on the cassoulet in front of him .
“How long have you been playing around with that now?”
Kaya shook her head in disgust . Minjoon looked quite strange messing with clay in front of him . Kaya put her arms around him and reached for the clay pile .
“Can you actually practice with this stuff?”
“It costs too much to use actual ingredients . I have to make do with this . ”
“Ask him to sponsor you . Jeff, was it?”
“Jefferson . I wonder if he calls himself Jeff sometimes? Don’t call him that, though . ”
“I don’t like you calling other people by their nicknames . ”
Kaya smirked .
“You’re like a kid, aren’t you?”
“Don’t even . How would you plate this, by the way?”
“You sure you want my help here?”
“It’s best to get help from others when you’re stuck . ”
“Are you sure you’re the same guy who said stuff about ‘breaking through challenges by himself’?”
“Words are meant to be changed on the fly . ”
Kaya tickled Minjoon’s side . Minjoon twisted a little and the dish under him escaped the table . Shatter! The dish broke after colliding with the marble floor underneath .
Minjoon looked at Kaya with a tired look . Kaya took her arms off of him and looked somewhere else . She couldn’t ignore him forever, though . She dropped her shoulders when she still felt Minjoon’s eyes on her .
“…Sorry . ”
“It’s fine . ”
“I’ll take care of it . ”
“It’s fine, so just bring a bag and some gloves . ”
“Ok . ”
She couldn’t say much . By the time she arrived with the tools, she noticed something was off . Minjoon was just staring at the broken glass .
“Is something wrong?”
“…No, it’s nothing . ”
Looking at the shattered glass reminded him of something, but the thought went away as quickly as it came . Minjoon picked up the pieces with the feeling of wanting to sneeze but not actually being able to .
That feeling lasted for several days . Even Ella began to get worried because of this .
“Here, have this, uncle . ”
“Uncle looked hungry . You aren’t?”
“I’m not very hungry…”
“Just take it, here . ”
“Yeah . Thanks . ”
Minjoon reached for the jelly on Ella’s hand with a smile . That tiny piece of candy looked quite adorable in the girl’s puffy hands . Minjoon’s hand ground to a halt right there .
“What is it, uncle?”
“…Ella, could you hold that pose for a second?”
“Ella’s arm hurts though…”
“Don’t worry, I’ll hold it up . ”
Minjoon stared at Ella’s hand carefully . Does that piece of jelly have a plate right now, or does it not? Could you really call someone’s hand a plate?
But at the same time, there was no better plate right now than Ella’s hand . The jelly looked its best on her hand . Minjoon grabbed the jelly and took a bite . The flavor of blueberries coaxed his tongue gently with its sweetness . Ella looked up at him hopefully .
“Yes . Very tasty . ”
“No, Ella, that’s your snack . ”
“But uncle gives Ella plenty of snacks too . ”
“So that’s why you’re giving it to me?”
“Mhm, mom said I should give back to people all the time . ”
“Good girl, you’re actually keeping your word . ”
Minjoon poked Ella’s cheeks as he said this . Ella nodded with a wide grin .
“Ella, you just gave me a great gift . Don’t worry about giving anything back to me . ”
“What did Ella give you?”
“Your hand . ”
“…Ella’s hand isn’t for eating . ”
“I’m not eating it . ”
Minjoon answered her with a smile . He didn’t think of anything too strange from it . He just realized the importance of dishes . He’s realized how much food could change depending on how it got plated .
‘What plate should I use, then?’
That’s what he needed to think about now . But right then, he heard someone walk in through the door from the parking lot . Minjoon stood up in surprise .
“Yo, Minjoon . It’s been a while . ”
“How did you come here? What about your restaurant?”
“It burned down . ”
Minjoon frowned with visible worry, but Deborah dismissed him with a grin .
“Just a joke . Don’t make that face . I’m just doing some renovations over there . Do you know where Rachel is?”
“She left because the person in charge of the noodles got sick… Did you contact her?”
“No, I tried to surprise her . Though now that I think about it, she wouldn’t even have gotten surprised… Oh, hello, Ella! What are you eating?”
Deborah started talking to Ella . Minjoon used this as a chance to escape back into the kitchens . He laid out all the dishes there, and started staring at it carefully . Maya looked at him confusedly .
“Chef, what are these?”
“I’m looking for a dish that would fit the cassoulet nicely . ”
“…Do you really have to? It looks like a pain to make . ”
“I told you not to worry about it . Someone else would be in charge of it . ”
“Oh, right . But still, testing it’s going to take so long . Can’t we do something else?”
Minjoon didn’t respond . Maya sighed in defeat . Right then, Deborah walked up to them from the back .
“Working with plating?”
“Ah, yes . I’m trying to look for something that I can wow the guests with even with cassoulet . ”
“Ah, I see . Hm… Minjoon, are you any good with art?”
“Sort of . I got A’s occasionally . ”
“Good enough, I guess . You should be able to figure it out, then . You sound like you have the sense for it . ”
“No, for being able to see what’s pretty or not . ”
Deborah looked down at the dishes . She continued with a calm voice .
“I told you, right? I did all sorts of stuff to try to get two michelin stars, but that never happened . ”
“…I remember . ”
“I don’t think it was because my food wasn’t tasty . It would be strange if a michelin starred restaurant wasn’t tasty . But those guys don’t just rate you on the flavor . Flavor is subjective . So they give you a lot of points on service and decor as well . Even location has a factor in it . Plating is quite important as well, of course . Minjoon, you’re a first gen immigrant, right?”
“Yes, I spent decades in Korea . ”
“This is the difference between the West and the East . The East focuses on flavor . Interior and decor are just secondary . But the West is different . They care a lot more about looks . You could either use overwhelming flavor to beat down any critics, or you could make something pretty and delicious . What do you think?”
Minjoon began to think . Flavor or looks? Where did he really want to focus on? Minjoon opened his mouth slowly .
“I remember getting a question like that in the past . I don’t quite remember the answer back then, but… My answer this time would be…”
Minjoon sounded incredibly stiff and serious .
“Can’t I just do both?”
If you are reading from a pirate or aggregator site, please read from the translator’s site: yado-inn (dot) com I have to put the link like this or else the bots will remove it, sorry 🙁