Published at 16th of December 2020 05:34:03 PM
“Well, dishes with nice plating look good to your customers . You know everybody has a different opinion on what looks beautiful to them . In other words, their opinion is very subjective . For example, a woman might look ugly to someone, but very beautiful to you, right? She can be your beautiful lover or daughter to some parents . ”
“That’s because it involves something like a relationship, isn’t it?”
“Do you think there is no relationship between your dish and your customer?”
Min-joon just blankly looked at her without replying properly to her question .
She said with a sigh, “I’m sorry . I think I keep asking you questions that you can’t answer . Let me just tell you what I think . I don’t think putting your dish on a plate is not all about cooking . Apart from betting on cooking, it just doesn’t make any sense if you think of your dishes only in that respect . ”
“What do you mean?”
“You know people think about the dish even before they try it . As for the same dish, they feel differently about it, depending on where they eat or who eats it . Think about it . If a customer eats a dish made by a serial killer, do you think the customer can enjoy it at all?”
“Well, I don’t think the customer can enjoy it at all in a situation like that . ”
“That’s right . When customers look at your plate, they’ll think it’s your cooking even before they look into its ingredients on the plate . You know what? No matter how good you are at cooking, you can’t have that quality automatically . In other words, your existence itself is plating . To put it more bluntly, every chef can be said to be a decoration on the plate itself . ”
He seemed to have a lot on his mind after pondering over her remarks .
After pausing for a moment, he opened his mouth .
“Well, any chef can become famous by making lots of effort . You can’t call it his or her quality, right?”
“Are you serious? If you are, I want to hit you . ”
“Well, just take it as a joke . I don’t want to be hit . ”
“Okay . If I have to refute what you have just said, I want to tell you that you have to check your status a little more . No matter how good they are, whose cooking skills are as good as Rachel, they don’t get any good response when they appear on a TV show . But how about you? In less than a year, when you made your debut in the cooking world, you have drawn such a wide reaction and even popularity among the general public . They all remember that you are the one who has made Cho Reggiano . They remember your name—Min-joon Cho . ”
Did Min-joon really know that he had become the envy and jealousy of all the chefs? Even Deborah, the head chef of a One-Star Restaurant, felt like that, not to mention, other chefs .
As a matter of fact, the process of Min-joon becoming a star chef was truly shocking . He had never lost favor with the general public, nor had he served as an unknown or apprentice for a long time . He quickly became a demi chef, and at the same time, he became a star chef .
“Well, I’m so envious of you . Would you like to switch your life with mine? Let’s switch!”
“If you switch your life with mine, you have to marry Kaya . Would it be okay?”
“Yeah, I can divorce!”
“Then, I won’t change it . ”
“Huh, it looks like you’re going to switch your life with mine if I say I won’t get divorced, hahaha . ”
Deborah burst into laughter . But her laughter didn’t last long . Soon, she leaned against the wall with a gloomy expression and sighed .
When he glanced at her, she opened her mouth with a subdued voice, “Actually, I’m talking high and mighty like this, I haven’t found an answer to what I should focus on yet . I’m really frustrated . ”
“Oh, you aren’t in a position to say that! You have a Michelin star . ”
“Yeah, one star . One star, not three or two stars . I’m one who is worried about losing even one star instead of caring about two or three stars every time the new Michelin Guide comes out . ”
He could feel self-mockery and disappointment in her voice . While listening to her, he slowly opened his mouth when she was getting more and more dejected .
“Is there something wrong with your restaurant?”
“Well, the problem is that I don’t know what’s the problem . If I know, I can fix it . ”
“Can you cook any dish for me?”
“Of course, if you need my advice . It’s nothing special, but it would be possible for me to share your concern . That’s why you came here, right?”
“Oh, sure . As Rachel is not here anyway, I think that’s a good idea . What do you want me to cook for you? Any dish you have in your mind?”
“Well, how about the dish you have developed lately? It really matters how I feel about your latest dish . ”
At that moment, She turned her eyes from him with a bit of a gloomy expression . When he looked at her with a puzzled expression, she opened her mouth with some hesitation .
“To be honest, I developed my latest dish five months ago . I don’t want to hide anything, so let me confess like this…”
“Five months ago?”
Although he tried not to show his surprise, he could not help but respond with a trembling voice . It was natural he came up with such a reaction because if she developed it five months ago, it meant there was no change in the menu of her restaurant for the past five months .
She lowered her head with a bitter look .
“That’s true . Though I talked to you conceitedly a little while ago, I was so ashamed of myself . ”
“Why haven’t you developed some new dishes for as many as five months?”
“Well, I don’t know . What I’m certain of is that I don’t have the same inspiration as I used to . I’m so frustrated, but that’s my reality now . I’ve forgotten what my original dish is or how I can make my original dish . I just barely get by keeping my existing regular customers . ”
Having said that, she laughed bitterly .
“That’s why I fled to this place with the excuse of renovating my restaurant . I wanted to come here to get Rachel’s solution . ”
“How did you lose your inspiration?”
“Well, first of all, let me blame myself . I think I had a lot on my mind back then . It’s good that I thought a lot, but the problem was my thinking was so shallow . ”
“Now, let me blame the Michelin . You have seen me restless and nervous all the time, right?”
“I don’t think I’ve seen you like that all the time . In fact, I haven’t seen you often . ”
“Oh, you’re right . It’s funny I’m saying this to you like this . You haven’t seen me that often . ”
He smiled at her slightly . In fact, it wasn’t Deborah alone who confessed their ups and downs to him . Not only Justin and Anderson but also those regular customers that Min-joon saw only a couple of times lamented the absence of good luck in their lives .
But Min-joon didn’t like it . Kaya teased him, saying his look was good enough to make people want to confide in him, but he didn’t think so . Nobody would want to talk to somebody they didn’t like about their misfortune in their lives .
In other words, those who told Min-joon about their misfortunes must have thought that he was a good guy they could trust enough to talk about their stories . And he was narrow-minded enough to feel offended by somebody’s complaints about him behind his back .
“If you don’t want to tell me about it, you don’t have to,” said Min-joon .
“No . I know what I’m about to tell you is going to make me ashamed, but I can’t get your advice for free . To say the least, I was too conscious of the Michelin . ”
“Everyone would do so . In particular, if they want a Michelin star . ”
“Yeah . But I went too far in my case . When the Michelin evaluators stopped by and gave a good review of a certain dish, I tried to keep that menu as long as I could . But when their review was not good, I immediately removed it from the menu . I’ve been keeping that principle . At the end of the day, I realized that the course at my restaurant was not my own, but set by the Michelin . ”
“Have you ever had dead skin? A white one . ”
Min-joon nodded . Smiling at him, she looked at her arm . It was a clean skin with no freckles, but in her eyes, it seemed that it was covered with dead skin .
“At first, it’s small, but the more you try to get it out, the affected area gets bigger and bigger . That’s what happened to me . At first, I tried to curry favor with the Michelin evaluators, but at some point, I found myself acting like their slave . Do you know what’s the funny part of it?”
“I don’t think it’s funny, given the way you are speaking to me now . ”
“Yeah, that’s right . It’s not funny at all . Dave, who pursued his own path nicely, did better than me when I was obsessed with the Michelin . He and I are from the same class, but I’ve got one star and he’s got three . ”
“It’s always terrible to lag behind your friend . ”
“You know that feeling? I think you’ve never been outdone by your friends during your life . ”
“Well, things worked out well recently, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been on a roll . ”
“Oh, really? If you say that, I have no other choice but to take it . ”
“Please cook something first . I understand your situation . ”
“Got it . Can I use this stove?”
“Sure . ”
Although she said she would make a dish quickly, it took almost an hour for her to finish it and bring it to him . When the break time was almost over, she put down a plate before him .
“Now, try it . This dish has been well received by gourmets . It tastes the same, of course . ”
“Wow, it’s a really fresh recipe,” said Min-joon, admiring her skills .