Published at 16th of December 2020 05:33:43 PM
Annie felt that even if she reported to Rachel, she would not care much because she would not treat anybody special even if they were gourmets . Her motto was she would treat everybody with the best dish and service possible at Rose Island . Since she treated everybody equally, she could not treat anyone special at the restaurant .
At that moment, Jeina opened her mouth in a calm voice .
“Is this also a demi chef’s dish?”
“Yes, Chef Havier has made it . Would you like me to explain the dish to you again?”
The plates before Paul and Jeina were empty at the moment, but risotto balls, or fried risotto, were originally placed on them . And what was inside the cup was an emulsion made of green asparagus and ricotta like grass . With the creamy and cold emulsions forming a white and blue layer, they mix it like yogurt to enjoy it .
“This dish was really the best of modernism . I would say it has a youthful taste . ”
“Isn’t it surprising? Chef Rachel had her heyday in the past . Yet, even now, she can put the most modern dishes on her menu . ”
“The recipe idea came from her students . ”
“That’s my point . I know you mostly complained after eating the dishes made by demi-chefs at other restaurants . ”
“Well, it’s because their dishes were just not good enough . I could immediately compare the difference between the dish of the head chef and that of his demi chef at other restaurants . ”
“But how about here?”
When Paul asked, Jeina let out an exclamation instantly . She nodded as if she understood what he was trying to say .
“I don’t feel the difference that much here because it tastes so good . Is this possible because of Rachel’s guidance? Or is it because there are lots of talented demi chefs here?”
“There are a lot of applicants for a job at Rose Island . It’s not that difficult to pick a good applicant among them . But that’s not the issue . Do you think any chef can cook this kind of dish just because they have the talent? I don’t think so . Let me ask you this way . Do you think that the demi-chefs or sou chefs at the restaurant where you used to be didn’t satisfy you or their dishes were different from the head chef’s because they were not talented?”
“Well, that’s a difficult question . As you know, what I’m good at is to review the food, not the chefs . ”
“I think it’s Chef Rachel’s unique personality . As for her cooking skills, she might not be the best chef in the world . But in terms of the ability to lead her kitchen staff and teach them, I think she is the best . ”
His statement was so definitive that she found it hard to believe it was speculative .
So, she asked curiously, “Do you happen to know Chef Rachel?”
Paul remained tight-lipped, though . It wasn’t because he focused on the servers cleaning up the plates and putting down new plates . He didn’t say anything even after they changed all the plates .
The next dish was based on Rachel’s recipe . Cannelloni made with smoked oysters and lobster jelly, oysters wrapped in cauliflower cream . A crunchy mini waffle with oyster cream soup coated with lemon emulsion and fruit flavor and steamed oysters finely chopped with herbs . When Annie left after explaining about the ingredients and the recipe method, Paul opened his mouth, looking at the plate with quite a regretful expression .
“Daniel really liked this kind of dish . In other words, he loved a dish that could express several flavors at once with just one ingredient . Comparatively speaking, I think Min-joon’s Cho Reggiano is definitely one such dish . Maybe Rachel must have been quite surprised like me when she examined his dish for approval because she could find her ex-husband’s cooking style in Min-joon’s dishes . I know why people are saying openly he is Rachel’s successor . ”
Actually, his statement like that was his answer to Jeina’s question just before .
She said in a slightly subdued voice, “It’s a very bad romance for a coincidence . ”
“Well, I would say it is not a coincidence but fate . ”
Paul lifted a spoon with a smile . He spooned out the cream soup made of oysters . It doesn’t taste greasy for a cream soup . It had a strong fruity aroma of the emulsion wrapped on it rather than the flavor of the milk, and when he chewed the thinly sliced oysters, it tasted like the mushrooms grown in the sea without any fishy smell .
“Man, this makes me feel like crying . This is the taste I’ve missed so much . ”
While enjoying the dish, Paul could not understand why he felt like he was enjoying the same dish that his late mother had made for him . He felt like he was overwhelmed with thrilling moments as if he just opened his eyes in decades .
She muttered in a gloomy voice, “But you can’t come here for 3 years . ”
“I know . But this is the place you have to come anyway, but it looks like you are already regretting you can’t come for the next three years . ”
“That’s why I’m going to focus on eating as much as possible, so I can remember its taste for the next three years . ”
Having said that, she scooped out a spoonful of soup and put it into her mouth like Paul .
Then she closed her eyes tightly . She felt like she would be drifting away in the tidal wave of taste .
‘Well, Paul says it tastes the same as before, but it has a richer flavor because Rachel made it in person . ’
She just enjoyed it, savoring every mouthful . Each and every moment now was art and joy as well as the golden age in her life .
Was it because of that? Jeina and Paul ate very slowly . Although most gourmets ate slowly, Paul and Jeina kept the table until the last customers who came late left the hall . Finally, they were waiting for the dessert, the last of their course .
“This is the Cho Reggiano that you ordered additionally . He cooked Parmigiano Reggiano of different maturation periods in five different cooking methods…”
When Annie was done explaining, the two raised the fork with lots of anticipation . In fact, they were full . Although they controlled their eating speed, it was always difficult to finish all the meals served at the restaurant . Just like fatigue came after one’s exercise, eating at a restaurant was fun, but at the same time, it’s tough to finish it all .
“What is this?”
Jeina looked quite confused . Every time she put the dessert in her mouth, she looked at Paul with a strange expression .
Paul asked with a smile, “It looks like you now appreciate its taste . ”
“This is ridiculous . This feels completely different from what I’ve been eating at other restaurants so far . I wonder if Min-joon has hidden any ingredient in the recipe that he didn’t open to the public . ”
“I think so . ”
“I mean I can feel how much Min-joon has been agonizing while making the cheese . He also seems to have pondered over how to bring out the difference in taste ideally . You can’t describe it in writing . ”
“But the way you make the dish is the same, isn’t it? But I just can’t believe how Min-joon can make such a difference like this . ”
Of course, the way they made Cho Reggiano might be similar, but Min-joon’s was way beyond comparison . His dish was overwhelmingly tasty compared to others with the same name, so much so that it was not the same Cho Reggiano that she used to enjoy until now .
Paul said in a calm voice, “The same is true of the bread here . Even if you bake it at the same proportion and at the same temperature, it has a completely different taste, depending on who makes it . Cho Reggiano tastes different depending on who makes it after all . ”
“Dang it! I’m so frustrated when I think I can’t enjoy it at this place for the next three years!”
It seemed she was more upset because she was now more satisfied with the dish than before . When leaving the hall, she made a gloomy expression . But the moment when they paid the bill and stepped out the door, Paul heard a familiar voice .
“It’s been a while . Did you enjoy the meal?”
“Oh, Rachel . ”
“Why didn’t you tell me you would come to my place? Were you planning to leave without seeing me?”
“Jeina, would you like to get in the car first?”
“Oh yes . ”
She got into the car with a slightly awkward expression . She could not afford to cut in their conversation .
With a smile, Rachel said, “When you said you quit being a chef to become a gourmet, I stopped you a lot . But it seems that you are quite successful with such a pretty girl as your sweetheart at your age . ”
“Stop such a boring joke . She is just my student . ”
“Really? Do you have a gourmet student?”
“Don’t think that only you can raise students . ”
When he balked, Rachel shrugged silently .
Paul said, looking down at the marbled floor, “It’s a good dish . Your demi chefs’ dishes were also good, and Min-joon’s dish reminds me of Daniel’s cooking style . Did you raise him on purpose?”
“I was surprised, too . I didn’t expect at all his cooking style would resemble Daniel’s so much . But I guess people with sensitive tongues have similar tendencies . ”
“Well…” Paul blurred .
Rachel glanced at Paul quickly . He couldn’t make eye contact with her for some reason .
She opened her mouth in a quiet voice .
“It’s nice to see you like this though . I know you stopped coming here even before I retired . ”
“It’s because I couldn’t bring myself to see you . ”
“As I told you back then, there is no reason to feel guilty, Paul . The reason that that boy, Jerome, took his life was because I didn’t train him more rigorously as his teacher . ”
Paul didn’t answer . She glanced away . She looked at his car parked outside when Jeina, who was watching them secretly, hurriedly turned her eyes away from her when their eyes met .
Rachel said in a subdued voice, “My husband died in the kitchen . The customers’ orders made him never take rest, which eventually killed him . But I don’t call my customers a killer . That’s the same, Paul . What I criticized was just the way you worked . Any cook should be able to deal with it . You don’t have to feel responsible for that guy’s childish action . The buck stops here, after all . ”
“You’re still cool, Rachel Rose . ”
“If I’m not cool, I am not Rachel Rose anymore . ”
Rachel smiled brightly . Her smile symbolized her youthful spirit, confidence, and seasoned tenderness . She became a really cool person . She became a wonderful woman .
Paul looked at his shoes with a bitter expression . Obviously, he polished his shoes this morning, but he found the snout of his shoes was worn .
“Hey, you have great students under your wing . Even if you coach them, they must be working really hard, given such great taste . Thanks for the great dishes, Rachel . ”
“Come again . Let me treat you to the best dishes ever . ”
Paul smiled at her . Although he couldn’t come here for the next three years, he couldn’t tell that to her .
He replied in a calm voice, “Sure, I’ll come again . ”