Jo Minjoon grumbled and picked the ingredients. White grape, garlic, brown sauce and bill stock made from calf bones. The condiments were tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, vermouth, salt, etc.
When he was bringing the ingredients, almost 2 minutes had passed. Jo Minjoon grated the grapes and poured the vermouth in a bowl. The wine was a liquor made by mixing brandy, medicinal herbs, spices and etc.
Vermouth was divided into two types. A sweet one just like it’s name, sweet vermouth and a sour one called dry vermouth.
And there were also another two types with other standards. White vermouth and red vermouth. As you could see from the names, it varied depending if it was made with red wine or white wine. What Jo Minjoon was using right now was a sweet vermouth made with white wine. It was to save the color of the white grapes, and at the same time, to save the sweet flavor.
There was no need to boil it now. Precisely speaking, he didn’t have to. If he had used commercial demi-glace sauce then he wouldn’t have to do all these things. Because he would be done after putting the sauce in the boiling puré.
But they were planning to make the demi-glace sauce themselves. When the demi-glace sauce was about to be finished, then you had to start boiling the puré. Of course, they had to finish it before roasting the foie gras. Probably, the one to finish the sauce was going to be Jo Minjoon.
It was at that moment when Jo Minjoon was going to handle the garlic. The buzzer rang and Alan’s voice resounded.
Uncertain actions started to happen at all the countertops. Jo Minjoon put down the knife and moved back. Kaya grabbed the knife and started to handle the garlic very quickly. And after she fried the garlic in the pan, when it was turning brown, she poured the red wine. At that moment, a flame surged up through the pan.
Flambé. It was a technique used to send away all of the bad aroma through igniting alcohol in the food. And then, Kaya’s hands stopped. It wasn’t that she had forgotten what to do next. She had nothing else to do but wait until the sauce boiled down and stir at times.
It was when she thought that it was going to be boring. Alan approached her and opened his mouth.
“What kind of dish are you thinking of making?”
“It seems like you are going to make the demi-glace sauce that is used in the puré by yourself….Will you be able to finish in time?”
“I’ll accomplish it.”
Kaya replied cheekily. Alan stopped for a moment and looked at her. He couldn’t make out if it was because he hadn’t tried her dish earlier, or if she was just replying with her original attitude.
Because of that, it felt funny for Alan to bring out that incident first. Alan coughed and looked at Jo Minjoon.
“Thinking about the turn of your tagging then making the foie gras would be done by Kaya and completing the sauce would be done by you.”
“Kaya, have you ever made foie gras?”
“Minjon, what about you?”
Precisely speaking, he did eat it. But that was a canned food eaten by French residents. To say that he had eaten it was impudent.
Alan said lowly.
“Don’t think of foie gras as normal liver. A swan’s liver has more oil and has a deeper flavor than any animal’s. And you don’t have to take off it’s aroma, but rather, save it. Please remind this.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Alan moved away with Jo Minjoon’s reply. Kaya glanced at Alan and concentrated again on her dish. He wanted to tell something to that Kaya, but now was the time to be concentrating. Of course,she was only waiting for the sauce to boil down to say that she was concentrating.
The moment Jo Minjoon opened his mouth, the buzzer rang. Jo Minjoon and Kaya quickly shifted places. Jo Minjoon looked at the pan. The soup had boiled down quite a bit and bubbles were rising. Jo Minjoon asked.
“Kaya, this is half boiled down right?”
Jo Minjoon poured the bill stock, calf gravy in the pan. Then, he lowered the fire to the minimum and started to boil it. After that, he took out a new pan and fried the tomato paste. At that time, the buzzer rang again. While Jo Minjoon was backing he told her.
“When the tomato paste turns brown put it immediately in the sauce. Also do it for the spices and the tomatoes.”
“I already know.”
15 minutes had already passed. The given time was 60 minutes. They had to use the last 5 minutes to cook the foie gras. So they only had 40 minutes left to finish the sauce.
‘…….Will it be enough?’
He wasn’t confident. Foods that used the gravy like demi-glace sauce as a base, were all not so delicious. Even masters that had been working for tens of years had to use their own methods to produce their wanted flavor. It was difficult to boast about the quality of a recipe made in the moment at this place.
Of course, he did have the help of the system. And the recipe’s score was good. 7 points. It was quite an excellent score for a sauce that had to be made in 55 minutes. But if there was even a little bit of a mistake, then a completely different result would come out. He wasn’t in a situation where he could relax.
Jo Minjoon looked at Kaya. She was putting the tomato paste in the sauce and, putting pepper, thyme, and half sliced tomatoes in the gravy. This was to catch the displeasing smell of the gravy and at the same time save the aroma.
Now was really a fight with time. Kaya kept removing the foam that surged from the demi-glace sauce in the remaining time. And then, the buzzer rang. Only 40 minutes were left.
Jo Minjoon immediately turned on the fire for the pot that contained the white grapes and the vermouth. The time to complete the puré was around 30 minutes. He had to start right now so he could finish it in time.
‘Can’t they make us do a normal team mission?’
He kept having those thoughts but honestly, he understood the reason. There were many tables where the participants movements were not synchronised. It wasn’t that they didn’t share their cooking method. But as they shared their recipes, there were parts that they would omit as if it was obvious. And in the place of those omitted parts, they would put in their own cooking methods. Of course, those were methods that their partner didn’t even think about.
In that situation, depending if they respected each other’s methods or not, the result would vary greatly. And most of them couldn’t help but be persistent with their own methods. Because it was easier to believe in yourself than in another person.
However, Kaya and Jo Minjoon were different. But of course, it didn’t mean that they threw away their stubbornness and respected the others method. Their attitude towards cooking were basically similar. From how they handled fire, to how they handled the knife. And Jo Minjoon knew very well the reason for that.
Kaya Lotus. It was because of that name. The name Jo Minjoon was most envious of, and wanted to imitate. He saw almost hundreds of videos that showed Kaya cooking. He studied how she approached cooking, and how she cooked.
Saying the truth, Kaya was Jo Minjoon’s teacher. And at the same time, his mentor. The one who gave him a dream, who was looking at the harsh sides and almost wanted to give up, was her.
That’s why their cooking couldn’t help but be similar. Precisely speaking, it couldn’t be helped that Jo Minjoon’s cooking resembled Kaya’s. Because the one who influenced him on cooking the most was Kaya. All of the favoritism directed at her were because of that reason. And because of that, it was even more so.
‘I can’t make her disqualify.’
She was Jo Minjoon’s benefactor. Although it wasn’t her intention, the one who introduced Jo Minjoon the world of cooking and made him greedy to walk on that path was her. She was someone who thaught him that something like cooking could be splendid, and at times it could be beautiful. It could be said that it was one sided that he was treating her as his teacher.
Jo Minjoon knew really well how she was going to grow as a chef. He knew how valuable of a chef she was. And the proof of that worth was through this program.
Kaya gave him a yearning for cooking. Because of an unexpected variable like him, he couldn’t make her disqualified that didn’t even exist in the first place. Jo Minjoon stirred attentively the two pots with his hands. If it sticked even a little, then the burning scent would fill the sauce. So he could only be attentive.
The buzzer rang. Kaya and Jo Minjoon changed places. She was doing the same thing. Removing the foam. Kaya let out a sigh while taking out the foam.
“It’s a battle against yourself.
Jo Minjoon laughed while saying that. She wiped the sweat that was gathered on her forehead and asked.
“What do you think about the other teams? Are they doing well?”
“…..Is there something like teamwork?”
“At least we know what we are going to be doing next.”
Kaya didn’t reply. And then, the buzzer rang. 30 minutes passed and 30 minutes were left. Kaya let out a sigh while looking at Jo Minjoon that was stirring with the ladle.
“What a surprise. You being optimistic.”
“Did you see me as a pessimistic person?”
Jo Minjoon started to think at that question. What kind of person was Kaya? The Kaya he looked at the videos was a confident person and full of energy. At least, she was like that after Grand Chef. However, before that, Kaya was really different. She was confident, but that confidence was made up, and there was anxiety hidden somewhere in her heart. Thinking about that, he came up with a response naturally.
“But you aren’t an optimist.”
“How many people in the world are optimistic? If you are not a fool, then it’s hard to be it.”
Kaya said bitterly. That voice made Jo Minjoon curious about Kaya’s life. Because even in the broadcast, she just said that her past was rather difficult. So because of that, even Jo Minjoon couldn’t know about her in detail. He even remembered what she had told him.
‘You don’t know what it means to grow as a white person in a poor house.’
What could those words mean? He didn’t know. He didn’t grow up in the US and only saw the bright side of Kaya in the videos. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth. He wanted to be a help to her as much as he got hope from her.
“There’s no need to be optimistic. Just believe in yourself. What I said in the interview wasn’t bullshit. You are a skilled chef and have talent. So there’s no need to be nervous like a newcomer that came for an interview.”
Honestly, he didn’t want to see Kaya being nervous. Competitor. Even if he tried to engrave that word in his head, in the end, she was still his idol and teacher. He wouldn’t like to see the dejected shape of that kind of person.
Kaya didn’t reply. Jo Minjoon couldn’t know what she would be thinking by herself.
And the buzzer rang four more times like that. 50 minutes. The remaining time was 10 minutes. It also meant that he had to finish the sauce soon.
Jo Minjoon used the sieve to separate the white grape puré. The thick pulp was left in the sieve, and the pure sat on top of the white demi-glace like white cream. And the next step was simple. He had to mix a spoonful of the demi-glace sauce with pure.
That work was seen foolishly and funnily. He had to arduously make the demiglace sauce and in the end the amount to be mixed was just two spoons. However, he believed that those two spoons would become the key to victory.
And then, the results he believed in appeared.
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