Published at 16th of December 2020 05:33:58 PM
“Oh, she scolded me a lot . She asked me how I could already forget what I had learned from her then she told me to go back to the basics of cooking . ”
“I see . ”
Min-joon responded calmly and shut his mouth . She wanted him to ask some questions, but he didn’t, to her disappointment . Watching her face reflected on the car window, she looked at the outside while he was driving on the street . Looking back at what Rachel told her, she said, “Well, she told me I forgot the mindset of a chef . ”
“… I see . ”
“Hey, your reaction is so boring . ”
“Well, I would like to react to your liking, but I can’t overreact as I’m a novice driver as you see . ”
Of course, I was driving very well as a novice driver, which contradicted what he just said to her . She stared at him sharply for a moment then sighed deep down .
He asked again indifferently, “Are you really sure you have lost a chef’s mindset?”
“Well, I think I am a snobbish chef only caring about gourmets or their review . ”
“But you’re worried now because you still do care about your customers . ”
“Well, I don’t know if I’m really concerned about customers or their slower booking than before . I see some dining tables at my restaurant empty sometimes all day long . ”
“You have received a Michelin star . Then, you see empty tables sometimes?”
“Well, sometimes they even cancel their reservations . Of course, not all Michelin restaurants always have full reservations . Customers in your area are usually the same people, and they just stop by because they are curious at first . They come to your restaurant with anticipation at first . Right at that point, they decide deep down . If they show reactions such as ‘Oh dishes here don’t taste good even with Michelin stars?” and stop coming back gradually, that’s the signal that your restaurant will go down . In that situation, you just get by selling your dishes to unsuspecting tourists,” she said bitterly .
Min-joon pulled over the car when she stopped talking .
She looked around and opened her mouth gently, “Where are we now?”
“Gallery . Modern art gallery . ”
“Why did you take me here out of the blue?”
“Well, this is the homework Rachel has given me recently . She asked me to come here with you . ”
Min-joon got out of the car instead of answering . She also got off slowly and followed him .
When they stepped into the first hallway of the gallery, the first thing that greeted them was the paintings . He stopped in front of a painting . Each square in a checkered pattern like a checkerboard had several layers of different colored circles . And every box had a different color . She glanced at it and said, “Do you like this painting?”
“Well, I momentarily thought it looked like a plate . I mean those circles . ”
“I just don’t know what to respond to your comment . Do you like paintings? Do you understand the meaning of all that?”
“Well, I don’t know its meaning . I’m not a noble type who goes to the gallery often . But when I see a painting, I can feel something like the atmosphere of the painting . ”
When he said that, she turned her gaze at the painting as he did . But she still could not figure it out at all . She felt she could get the feel of its atmosphere, but not exactly, just like the dish she made .
“I wonder if my dishes are like this painting . ”
“Nope . I didn’t feel anything like the atmosphere in your dish . Neither in the taste nor in its look . ”
“Don’t you think you are too critical? Could you stop being mean to me like that?”
“I’m just telling you what you want to know, Deborah . You wanted to know what’s wrong with your cooking . Just imagine I went to the person who drew this picture and asked him to draw this circle as an ellipse or reduce the number of checkboxes . If the painter accepted my request and drew the painting again, do you think I can feel the same way as I do now?”
“You mean I have to stick to my basic cooking conception, right? In other words, you want me to make my own dish, right?”
“No matter how much I think what I’m doing is right, not everybody will like me . You know, when Lincoln made the case for the liberation of slaves, numerous Americans cursed at him . But he stubbornly stuck to his principle and as a result, he became the most respected US president . ”
“But I don’t know what I should stick to . ”
She sighed with a weary look . He slowly moved to the next work of art . This time, it was a toilet bowl painted in gold . A petite man dressed like a beggar was sitting on top of that with his hand on his chin . Watching it, Min-joon suddenly recalled his cuisine .
The toilet bowl would just look good as a toilet bowl . In that context, the toilet painted in gold might look weird to the visitors . Min-joon recalled he ventured to make Cassoulet a luxurious dish without even thinking about its essence .
‘Yes, the essence of a thing …’
Min-joon stood in front of the toilet and did not move for some time . When he stood there for a few minutes or more than ten minutes, she finally spoke to him, “Are you alright?”
“Oh, I’m sorry . I have been thinking about it . ”
“It’s okay . I’ve just looked around here and there while you are watching it . So, have you hit upon any recipe?”
“No way! Did you think I came up with a recipe idea while watching the toilet? I would feel so sorry for my customers if I served them with a recipe that came to my mind here, hahaha . ”
“Well, I know that the bathroom is the place where all creators in the world get the most inspiration . ”
He shrugged, smiling at her comment . She stood next to him and looked at the man sitting in the toilet bowl . She wondered if he was a professional model . The man on the toilet was casting a blank gaze into the air without looking ahead .
“It’s a bit embarrassing for me to say this as a head chef, but I envy you, Min-joon . ”
“Because you seem to be full of inspiration . You know if you look at the running race, you sometimes see a runner falling over something, but he immediately stands up and sprints faster than others . You look like such a runner . ”
“I’m just a normal guy . I always think about cooking . ”
“To be able to think about it all the time means that you are not normal anymore . ”
“Well, I’m flattered that you’re praising me so much like that . ”
“That’s why I understand Rachel’s decision . I understand why she has chosen you as her successor?”
Min-joon coughed at her unexpected remarks and looked at her with an embarrassed expression .
“How come even you mentioned it? Rachel hasn’t said anything to anybody . ”
“But I think you have also noticed that Master Rachel has really high expectations for you . I’ve never seen her paying so much passionate attention to anybody . Don’t you covet your status as her successor?”
Instead of answering, he moved to another work of art . He passed by the model on the toilet and stopped in front of a statue . He was wearing a pearl necklace in fancy clothes . But its face was not a human face, but a pig’s face . He opened his mouth, looking at the pig’s nose .
“Of course, I absolutely covet it . How can’t I?”
“Yes, I guess so . ”
“But I’m scared more than that . He pretendeds to be decent while trying to look impressive with this necklace, but he’s only a pig . If he wears clothes that don’t suit him, he looks just ridiculous, no matter how good a suit he wears . I would like to be the one that suits me no matter what is given to me . ”
“How?” She asked with a desperate tone this time .
She wanted to get his answer somehow . She also wanted to be the chef that suits her current status . She wanted to be a chef who could enjoy every day instead of being consumed with nervousness and worries .
He replied, “Well, working hard and doing my best . ”
“Are you kidding me?”
“That’s the truth, isn’t it? I’ve lived like that until now . And I’ll continue to do so . You see the top chef in front of you, Chef Rachel, the top chef in the world . Then I’m going to continue to climb to that position . ”
Then he reached out his hand .
“Let’s go together . You don’t have to worry because you’re a novice driver . The mountains are rough, and you can’t drive up there anyway . Fortunately, our teacher cleared the road, so we can just climb on our own feet without trying to take shortcuts . ”
She looked at his hand still then grabbed it with a smile .
“If I feel tired, won’t you carry me on your back?”
He shrugged then replied, “If you want it, get permission from Kaya first . ”
“Man, are you from Italy?” She asked .
“Nope, but I like Italian cuisine the most,” said Min-joon casually .
She looked at him with a really annoyed expression then sighed .
“I just don’t know if it is good to have a boyfriend like you . ”
“Kaya doesn’t say she doesn’t like me . ”
“Oh, it’s because she likes you now . She is head over heels in love with you now . Perhaps, she feels like she’s having a honeymoon . I just wonder how you guys would react when you come to feel sick and tired of each other . ”
“Well, there are many couples who don’t feel like that . ”
“Then let me pray you guys can anticipate that day . ”
She made a sign of the cross and recited a prayer . But he turned his head, chuckling at her .
Then he asked in a calm voice, “So, you feel you got a great load off your chest?”
“Well, I think I’ve obtained some hints…”
“I think you can make it . Please help me not to be a villain . I have been so critical of you until now as you know, so if you can’t show me some nice dish, I’m going to remain a bad guy to you . ”
“Yeah . I’ll try my best . You got something, too?”
“I think I got some hints like you . ”
Min-joon turned his head with a smile . He cast his glance at the pig . The pig’s glaring eyes and twisted mouth greeted him . Min-joon spoke to the pig in heart, “Hey, pig! Do you know why you are making such a miserable expression, knowing how you look?”
The pig answered after a long silence in Min-joon’s dream . That night, in a small, big town in his dream the pig sat down somewhat on the golden toilet with its beige skirt hem hanging down like a petal on the toilet .
“How do I look?” The pig asked .
Even when the pig opened its mouth and asked, Min-joon was not embarrassed . He wasn’t even aware he was dreaming, but he replied naturally as if it was natural for the pig to speak like a human .
Min-joon responded naturally, “You just look ridiculous . You’re a pig . A dress or something like that doesn’t suit you . And what the heck is that toilet? Why are you sitting there?”
“Don’t you think you are being really mean? Can’t I even wear a dress just because I’m a pig because I get all kinds of bugs on my stiff fur and soil my hooves with mud?”
“Why do you want to decorate your body like this?”
“I want to be beautiful sometimes, too . Even if I can’t be the main character in the world, I want to be the main character of my life . ”