Published at 16th of December 2020 05:33:34 PM
“I never dated a girl back then . So, don’t worry,” Min-joon replied calmly, walking fast .
Catching up with him hurriedly, Kaya folded her arms .
Then she spoke to him cautiously, “I think your dish is more delicious . ”
“Of course . ”
“Don’t take it so shamelessly . ”
She pouted her lips as if his response was ludicrous . When he was about to say something, he took out his smartphone ringing in his pocket . He hesitated for a moment because the number was unfamiliar .
“Don’t take it . It must be a spam call . ”
“Well, I’ll just hang up if it’s a spam call . ”
The moment he put his smartphone to his ear, he was not sure if it was a spam call or not because the person on the other line knew exactly who he was .
“Hello, Chef Min-joon Cho . Can I talk to you now?”
“Yes, who is calling, please?”
“My name is Nbum Yu . I’m in charge of the Korean Food Globalization Team of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism . ”
“Oh, I see…”
Obviously, it wasn’t a happy voice . As if he was embarrassed, Nbum paused for a moment then continued cautiously .
“I’m really sorry for calling you so suddenly . I know you are busy, but I’ve contacted you after I noticed that the recipes that Chef Min-joon released this time draw a tremendous response from the general public . ”
“Yeah . ”
“As you know well, the globalization of Korean food has not been progressing during the past few years . So I think someone needs to lead our efforts, and I think Chef Min-joon will be a good leader who can lead the Korean food industry . >>
“Well, I’m a western food chef . ”
Min-joon responded in a confused voice as if he could not understand . At that moment, Nbum also stopped, which meant that Min-joon’s response made sense .
He continued, “Yes, I know you are a western food chef . But I also know that you have a pretty good understanding of Korean food . And I think the most important thing is your influence as a chef and your cooking talent . If you apply some of your talents to Korean food… Oh, I think I’m asking you for too much over the phone . I would like to tell you more in detail when I meet you . Can I meet you?”
“No . I’m sorry . I’m afraid I can’t . ”
Nbum was at a loss when he flatly declined his offer . In general, it was rare for anybody to respond to such an offer right away, but it was the first time that Nbum saw somebody rejecting his offer without hesitation .
He tried to calm his embarrassment and asked again, “May I ask why you can’t meet me?”
“Because it’s not my business hours now,” said Min-joon, shrugging .
Of course, Nbum didn’t understand what he was talking about .
Min-joon then quipped, “I’m on vacation now . ”
“Oh, you’re on vacation…” He blurred with an awkward voice . Obviously, he would make Min-joon more irritated if he kept asking for a meeting .
But Min-joon said calmly, “And I would like to remind you again that I can’t comment about Korean food . I don’t want to look arrogant enough to promote Korean food . There are so many Korean chefs who are more excellent and greater than me in the Korean cuisine field . I don’t want to teach a bird to fly . Sorry . ”
“I understand what you mean . Can I contact you again next time?”
“I can’t stop you from contacting me . But maybe you won’t persuade me . ”
“Alright . I’ll contact you next time . Sorry to interrupt your vacation . Have a nice day . ”
“Have a nice day . ”
They hung up the phone .
Kaya looked at him with a curious expression and asked, “Who called you?”
“I don’t know him, but he is a government official . He asked me to assist in his efforts to globalize Korean food . ”
“So, did you agree?”
“No . ”
She tilted her head as if she could hardly understand . He sighed, putting his smartphone back in his pocket .
“There are a lot of chefs here who are better at making Korean food than me . It’s funny for me to act arrogantly before them . ”
“You’re making excuses, Min-joon . ”
“As a matter of fact, I’ve been tired enough even though I’m on vacation . I don’t want to get tired anymore . ”
“That’s a pretty good excuse . ” She nodded as if she liked his reply .
He said in a calm voice, “He told me he would contact me again, but I don’t think he would because I clearly said I was not interested . ”
“Well, he won’t give up easily . How about it? Care to make a bet on that?”
“If you bet, I know you always lose . You still want to do it?”
“If you’re so confident, do it . I’m sure he will call you again . How about you?”
She asked him to make a bet several times, but he didn’t respond . Honestly, he wasn’t sure if Nbum would not contact him again .
And his hunch wasn’t wrong . Within a few days after the call, he got another call from Nbum .
This time, Nbum directly came to meet him face to face .
“I’m sorry I came here to see you suddenly . ”
Nbum spoke, feeling sorry . Because of that, Min-joon could not show his uncomfortable feelings . His expression did not appear to be a pretense . He was sincerely sorry . Of course, Min-joon didn’t welcome his sudden visit just because he said he was sorry .
“What business brought you here?”
“I wanted to meet you and say hello . In fact, we enjoyed greater publicity for Korean food than our government eyed by pouring a huge amount of money because of your recipe . ”
He didn’t exaggerate . In fact, what foreigners knew about Korean food was Korean barbecue bulgogi and kimchi at best until Min-joon’s recipe became widely known .
Of course, Min-joon’s Korean recipe was so good as to beat other Korean recipes, but according to former chef and gourmet reviewer Man-gil Hong, his recipe was easy and popular, and at the same time, it was a dish that reflected the trends of contemporary food .
However, it was also true that his recipe gave Korean food wide publicity, whose effect was greater than hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent . Min-joon was the developer of Cho Reggiano, a young genius who created the dessert that shook America, and a chef with a perfect palate . Not only his existence, but his mere mention of Korean food was worth a huge amount of promotional spending from the Korean government’s position .
‘His own intuition is also…’
Nbum got more and more nervous . Although Min-joon was prudent and polite, it didn’t mean that he would easily be persuaded . Rather, he would clearly reject any offer that he thought was not in his interest or something he didn’t like . So, Nbum decided he would desperately try to win over his heart .
“Are you enjoying your vacation?”
Nbum thought he asked the wrong thing . Checking Min-joon’s stiff expression, he regretted asking it, but it was too late . When he was getting nervous, waiting for his reply, Min-joon looked at Kaya and her family members then answered, “Yes, of course . Since I’m a chef, it’s more fun to go around here and there to eat something delicious than to travel . Fortunately, everyone in my family loves it . ”
“Do you have any place in mind?”
“Yes, there’s a restaurant I have in mind right now . They say I can’t make a reservation, so I have to go here and stand in a line . I’m going to leave early . If I’m late by five minutes, I might have to wait 50 minutes to get in . ”
Nbum thought Min-joon wanted him to get out quickly because he was busy now . When Min-joon reacted coldly, he opened his mouth with an awkward smile .
“Since you say you enjoy getting around for good food, can I recommend one restaurant?”
“You want to recommend?”
“I don’t want to bother your vacation . If you hate me, you might not be able to answer my phone later . Hahaha . So I agonized a lot over how to win your heart . Have you heard about the Korean restaurant, Sumokjong?”
His mention of that restaurant impressed Min-joon enough to make him show interest, who didn’t show any change in his expression until a moment ago . Min-joon opened his eyes wide .
Noticing it, Nbum spoke in a spirited voice, “People say there is no better Korean food restaurant than this one . ”
“Are you now suggesting you want to take me there?”
“Yes, of course . ”
Min-joon made a perplexed expression as if he could not understand Nbum’s suggestion . Of course, Min-joon was aware of that restaurant . It had a legendary reputation among Korean chefs .
It was once the largest Korean food restaurant . To put it more accurately, it used to be a high-class restaurant where ladies served wealthy customers with expensive dishes, but today, it turned into an ordinary restaurant .
Sujongmok was also notorious for not accepting customers just because they were rich . They were not allowed to gain access unless they had a positive identification and a good reputation .
“I understand that restaurant was closed, right?”
That was the problem . It had been closed for more than two years .
Nbum smiled at his question and said, “Yes, that’s right . It’s closed . ”
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about right now . Why are you taking me to a closed restaurant?”
“Like you said, Sumokjong was closed, but its skilled chef is still there . Oh, I’m talking about the head chef . ”
At a glance, Min-joon was at a loss for words . Sumokjong, As a kid, he once thought he would visit there one day after achieving success . But it faded from his memory and remained in his fantasy because his dream of success disappeared even before he knew it .
Right now, Nbum asked to take him to that place and treat him to the dishes that its head chef made in person . No matter how logically he tried to think about Nbum’s offer, he found it hard to find any more excuses to decline it . Rather, he was thinking of so many excuses to accept his offer, but none to decline it .
Min-joon already decided to accept his offer but agonized for some time . After all, he looked at Nbum after some hesitation and opened his mouth .
“How many of us can you take there?”