Published at 15th of November 2020 02:25:15 PM
His mind just wandered at that moment . At first, he thought he could be purely happy with Dong-hyok’s change, but he felt something like bitterness deep down . He knew he could not make a pure smile at the head chef, faced with his kindness mixed with his own interests and calculations
Min-joon was silent for a while after ordering the meal .
Looking at him slightly, Kaya opened her mouth .
“Why are you looking so emaciated?”
“Do I look like that?”
“Your eyes drooped, your mouth is turned up a bit, and you’ve been fiddling with a fork for no reason . ”
“Do you think you are Sherlock Holmes? How can you read my mind just by seeing those signs?”
“Your expression is so clear that anyone can read it . ”
Min-joon did not answer . Meanwhile, pre-dinner bread was served . It was a relatively soft baguette .
‘The cooking score is 7…’
The bread was impressive to him because he got used to the bread that Lisa and Marco made . Still, he thought the bread might taste special because it wasn’t made by the baker of this restaurant, but the head chef . However, Min-joon didn’t look bright when he saw the soup made with onions, cheese, and curry .
‘6 points . ’
In some cases, the cooking score didn’t reflect the taste of the dish accurately . He hoped the score was not right, but when he put the soup in his mouth, it didn’t taste good enough . Of course, soup itself was difficult to leave a strong impression on the customer, but the problem was Dong-hyok, the head chef . Though he was not yet, he would be one of the most famous chefs in Korea thanks to his appearances on TV .
Of course, Dong-hyok could improve his cooking skills over time, but given his fame in the future, his current dish was far from good . At that moment, he asked with a look of expectation, “Does it taste good?”
Min-joon replied briefly, “Yes, sort of . ”
When Min-joon replied shortly, he looked embarrassed momentarily . When he saw Min-joon on TV, he was kind, gentle and polite, but he was now rather tough and even sensitive .
‘Is it because there is no cameraman around him? Or does he want to focus on the dish? Oh, he collapsed recently, and he had a dispute with Nam-hoon Lee . It’s natural he feels under the weather now,’ Dong-hyok thought to himself .
Dong-hyok was thinking of some excuses for his dish at the moment . He was confident the soup would taste good because he paid particular attention to making it, conscious of Min-joon . He made sure the onion should not be crushed, and he took out the oven-baked cheese in the most appropriate condition without taking his eyes off of it for a moment .
However, Min-joon didn’t feel it was that delicious . To put it more accurately, it tasted delicious, but he was not satisfied with it .
‘Is it because I’ve been accustomed to really good dishes?’
Of course, that was not true . Some of the Korean dishes he enjoyed here were much better than he expected . For example, Pyongyang cold noodles and ox head rice soup were excellent . But the current soup before him tasted just okay .
He turned to Kaya and asked, “How do you feel . ”
He thought she would show the same reaction because she was more picky about the taste than him .
But she reacted differently, to his surprise .
“Very fresh . ”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, that’s right . Look at the menus now . It’s pure European taste without any improvement or change . Of course, it’s got some localized taste . But I think this is enough to bring out the original taste . ”
“But why do you think it’s so fresh?”
“You said this is a famous place . Besides, it’s popular among people . So, I think this is very fresh, given that they can make such good dishes without going through any improvement . ”
Min-joon looked down at the onion soup again . It was definitely far from the type of soup that made him feel fresh . With chicken and vegetable broth, lightly caramelized onions were mixed with mozzarella cheese, which was rather chewy and rough in texture . This onion soup tasted okay, but it was far from special or fresh .
But it was true that the onion soup was different from the typical onion soup .
“Oh, come to think of it, I’m in Korea now . ”
In fact, European style dishes were no different in Korea . Only a few years ago in America, there was a craze for something European, so even some restaurant owners coined the words of European origin for signs of their restaurants . Even now, such a craze still existed .
Such a craze was now in the offing in Korea, too . Lots of restaurant owners yearned for something European . They thought that the kind of European dish that didn’t go through any improvement or localization would look fresh and great to the customers . When Min-joon thought about it, he felt the current soup might be better than he thought .
Min-joon and Kaya kept enjoying the meal . Salad dressed with a mix of mustard, vinegar, cooking oil, salt, and pepper . Besides, French-style salad with a mixture of soft-boiled eggs and sour cream . A puree mignon marinated in apricot sauce with fusilli . Steak with fried radish and foie gras paté, etc .
Every time he served a different dish, Dong-hyok asked Min-joon and Kaya . At first, Min-joon answered with an awkward expression, but as time passed, he got more comfortable about replying to his questions . He was a cruel guy, and Min-joon thought so . And his dishes weren’t that glamorous, compared to his arrogance .
But Min-joon didn’t want to badmouth his dishes . He didn’t want to sneer or mock him . Maybe that was the best dish he could make . Min-joon thought that if he did his best, that was enough .
Was it because of that? Min-joon was not swayed when Dong-hyok asked when he was leaving .
“How about the food here? I made it by putting a lot of effort into it . Did it taste good?”
“Yeah, it tasted good . ”
“Man, your feedback is too short . Oh, sorry to push a customer like you like this . I’m so curious about how someone with a perfect palate like you can evaluate my dish . Oh, have you already analyzed my recipes?”
Min-joon smiled lightly to suggest he didn’t want to reply . Fortunately, Dong-hyok noticed it .
He grumbled deep down, ‘Man, it’s so hard to get his feedback . I wonder if he didn’t like my dishes . . ’
To be honest, Dong-hyok felt frustrated with his attitude, but he couldn’t express it . He was too tough for a chef like Dong-hyok to deal with . Why? First of all, Min-joon’s stardom was incomparable to any other chef in the Korean cuisine circles, secondly, he had a perfect palate that nobody had, and thirdly, he was the top world chef Rachel Rose’s student .
The fact that he was Rachel’s student carried a significant weight in the western cuisine world . It wasn’t just because of a more systematic system in place there that Korean chefs went abroad to learn the cooking methods of western food . The mere fact that they just learned the western food at a certain restaurant in a foreign country, or they learned western food abroad changed the people’s perception of them in an instant to the extent that they were called sophisticated chefs .
In that respect, Min-joon was overwhelmingly sophisticated, compared with any chef in Korea and abroad . In the Western gastronomic world, American restaurants generally tended to be ignored because they couldn’t make really delicious dishes . But Rose Island was an exception because Rachel and her students’ status was widely recognized around the world .
When Min-joon became Rachel’s student, there were high expectations of him in the Korean gastronomic world . Some of them speculated that there might be a Korean branch of Rose Island in the future . Even now, they didn’t give up such expectations . To put it more accurately, their expectations were rising more .
“Are you coming again?”
“Well, I don’t know . I don’t live here in Korea . ”
“Please stop by when you come to Korea again . I’ll make delicious dishes for you . ”
Min-joon smiled again at him . At that moment, Dong-hyok looked at Kaya and said hello to her in clumsy English . The corners of her mouth quirked with indifference .
She said with a nod, “See you again . ”
They were about to get out of the restaurant when sous chef Yu-sok Park came out and approached him . Surprised a bit, Min-joon stopped . In fact, the one who harassed him most was Yu-sok, not Dong-hyok . Unlike Dong-hyok who was often on a TV cuisine show, Min-joon had to always be in the same kitchen with Yu-sok, and for that reason, he was always exposed to Yu-sok’s hysterical hot temper .
“Chef Min-joon, can I get your autograph?”
Min-joon could hardly accept his innocent expression, who looked at him with pure eyes sparkling like a child . Min-joon nodded with an awkward expression . Smiling broadly, he handed a pen and paper to Min-joon .
Min-joon asked in a quiet voice, “May I ask your name?”
“Ah, Yu-sok Park . ”
“What should I say here?”
“Well, you can just put down something like, ‘I wish you can be a good chef . ’ That’s enough . ”
“Oh, there is no ink in this pen . ”
“Ah! Wait a minute . I’ll give you a new pen . ”
Yu-sok hurriedly looked for another pen then went to the counter to get a pen .
Min-joon started to write down with a bitter smile, when he opened his mouth, looking at Min-joon and Kaya, “I really respect both of you . I always thought I wanted to be like you, especially Chef Min-joon . ”
“Because you are a male chef like me . ”
Min-joon smiled at his classic answer . As he was happy when Min-joon smiled at his joke, Yu-sok made a broader smile on his lips . Min-joon found his smile rather uncomfortable . It was the situation only that had changed, but Yu-sok’s hardened feelings toward him were eased up .
‘Man, it’s me who has changed a lot . ’
Maybe it was Min-joon’s situation that had changed .
As soon as he was done singing his own autograph, Kaya also put down her name beside it .
While Yu-sok was smiling cheerfully, Min-joon offered to shake hands with him with a bitter smile .
“I hope you can be a chef who is nice to your juniors . ”
“Why do you emphasize that?”
“Because such a chef is the best chef . ”
When Min-joon said that, Yu-sok was still confused, not knowing how to understand his point .
When Yu-sok held his hand, Min-joon grabbed it and said, “Okay, you have promised to be nice to your junior chefs, right?”
“Oh, yes . I will keep it in mind!”
“See you next time . Hope we can be better chefs when we meet next time . ”
That was Min-joon’s last message to the restaurant . After descending the stairs, he looked at the restaurant building for a while .
Watching him curiously, Kaya folded his arms and asked, “Were you dumped by a girl here?”
“Why are you suddenly asking that?”
“Because your eyes look so depressed like a man with a broken heart . What’s wrong with you?”