Published at 22nd of November 2020 12:45:12 PM
At the end of the day, however, Deborah couldn’t try making the change . All she did was to watch the customers getting sick and tired of her dishes gradually rather than being blamed for her refusal to try new recipes . And the moment she looked at the empty dishes, she could feel it clearly .
“How stupid I was…”
“Don’t use the word ‘stupid’ carelessly . ”
She turned her head at somebody’s sudden voice . It was Min-joon who said that to her .
She smiled bitterly and shook her head .
“No . I’m not using it carelessly . I’ve used it because I deserved to be called like that . ”
“It’s not easy to challenge something at first . Any chef will feel the same as you, Deborah . In my case, it’s when I was at the Grand Chef competition that I led the kitchen briefly, so I’m not qualified to comment, but…”
“Have you ever thought about the Michelin star?” She asked in a slightly exhausted and sad voice .
He tapped his finger on the kitchen table for a moment then said in a calm voice, “Who would not have thought about it as a chef or a customer? There are many people who say they have wasted their time after visiting a restaurant with a Michelin star, but I personally haven’t been disappointed after visiting a restaurant with a Michelin star . Besides, I lived in Korea . There were no restaurants there where the Michelin inspectors had ever visited, so I was curious about what kind of restaurant with a Michelin star was like . ”
“Well, that’s your view as a customer . How about it as a chef?”
“As a chef? Well, as a cook, I thought Michelin was sometimes self-righteous, but sometimes, I envy Michelin stars . ”
She didn’t say anything at that for a moment . She pointed to one side of the kitchen . There was a frame with article clippings about the Rose Island Las Vegas branch’s Michelin star .
“I was once so proud of that . And I wanted to earn a Michelin star by all means . Before I earned it, I thought that if I went my way well, I would get the Michelin star somehow . And I wasn’t wrong . Michelin gave me one star . At first, I was happy with it . And I believed that what I had to do from now on was to get more stars . ”
“And then you really have come to focus on getting more stars, right?”
“Yeah . You hit the nail on the head . Once I got the star, I was just obsessed with it . You know what happens when I get one more Michelin star? I don’t have to worry about the revenue of my restaurant all my life . Just the name Rose Island was enough to draw people’s attention a lot, and now I had a Michelin star, so I suddenly had nothing to fear . ”
Min-joon could understand what she said, but at the same time, he couldn’t understand .
So, he asked, “Everything was guaranteed, right? Then, you could have challenged something new . Even if you made a mistake or two, reservations were always going to be full, I think . ”
“You mentioned I didn’t challenge myself . Did you find it out by yourself?”
“Well, when I looked at the dish on the table, I could read it so easily . Maybe I could notice it more easily because of what you told me before . ”
“Yeah . It’s a table with very obvious dishes . If you look at such a table, you notice the head chef is trying to stay away from trying new recipes . It’s ridiculous . There are so many dissatisfied head chefs at other restaurants because their owners tell them to make only popular dishes . But in my case, I knew the customers would like my dish well, but I put the same recipes that I made last year on the table because I was afraid they might not like my new recipes,” she said pitifully .
Min-joon carefully patted Deborah’s shoulder and asked, “What are you going to do now?”
“Well, it’s clear now what I should do . Rachel showed me the answer . She showed me which direction I should go, and what stood in my way . She was so generous enough to show me the right way . If I say I’m going to serve the same dishes even tomorrow, it won’t be unusual at all for people to call me a stupid woman . I would call myself stupid . If you see me doing the same thing again, just call me stupid . Got it?”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said, shrugging .
She looked back at him, chuckling, “By the way, you are great, Min-joon . ”
“I don’t know how you made it, all my demi-chef kids are admiring your cooking skills .
To put it more accurately, it looks like they were surprised by other demi chefs’ skills, too . As you know, you have the least career as a demi chef among them, right?”
“Well, I don’t have much experience working in the kitchen, but my career in cooking is probably quite a bit longer than you think . ”
“Even so, it’s true you are great because cooking at home is definitely different from cooking in the kitchen . Cooking in a different kitchen is also different . Do you think your skills have improved a lot since you learned from Rachel?”
“Absolutely . Rachel is the most talented instructor and chef in the world . If you haven’t learned anything from her, that’s a big problem . ”
“You will probably be a good teacher as a chef . ”
When she said that, Min-joon looked at her as if he could not understand her .
So, he asked with a perplexed expression, “Why?”
Deborah replied, “Well, I can feel it instinctively as a woman . ”
That night, Deborah did not go back home and stayed in the kitchen . There were not many people who tagged the Rose Island Las Vegas branch in Starbook, but they were pouring out a lot of praise for the meal on that day .
Some of them expressed suspicion that with the food truck led by Rachel stationed in Las Vegas, she and her staff might have helped them, but she didn’t care because that was true . And now was not the time for her to focus on that . She had to focus on the idea of reviving the recipe that Rachel taught her .
‘When you boil the scallops here, boil them rather tough, a little longer than usual . Then, the saffron scent can be embedded in their chewy texture for a longer time . And…’
There was something called a standard method in cooking . However, just because it was the standard way, it did not mean that one had to follow it all the time . Sometimes, it tasted more delicious when one cooked it in their own way, just like a slightly tough, well-done steak was more delicious than a perfectly cooked medium-rare .
‘Even if it is a standard method, it only has met more universal standards . ’
And it wasn’t that standard method that she had to worry about now . She needed to focus on her own freshness, her own stubbornness and vision . And Rachel’s advice made her cooking perfect .
“Should I cook it like this?” She mumbled to herself .
But suddenly, there was someone’s voice . “That’s your choice . ”
Deborah thought nobody would respond at this time, so she looked back in amazement .
She froze on the spot . It was Rachel standing behind her .
Deborah opened her mouth in a confused voice, “Chef . Oh, no, teacher!”
“Choose one of them . You want to call me a chef or a teacher?”
“Let me call you a chef today . I don’t know the last time I called you that . ”
There was nothing more difficult for a teacher to see his or her aged student playing the baby .
Rachel said with a sigh, “I’m back here again because I thought you would be doing like this . You were consumed by needless worries, weren’t you?”
“I can’t say it’s needless worries . I’ve been pondering over whether I have to stick to my own cooking philosophy, or I have to rely on what you have done for me . ”
“I didn’t give you the right answer . I just gave you a model answer . ”
“A model answer?”
Rachel didn’t reply to her question because she knew Deborah didn’t ask it because she didn’t understand her point . Instead of pushing Rachel, she was lost in thought . Watching her face growing serious, Rachel slowly opened her mouth .
“Do you know why I opened Rose Island again only after I met Min-joon?”
“Well, there was a lot of gossip among other head chefs about it . Oh, lots of people gossiped about your decision . What they wanted to know was when you opened the restaurant again, whether there was a guy with a perfect palate by chance, or you thought of opening again because of that guy with a perfect palate . ”
“I’ve lost my motivation and hope for 10 years . I could not pluck up the courage with which I could catch up with Daniel, no matter how hard I tried . But when I saw Min-joon, I thought about it . ”
As if she was tense, Deborah looked at her . It was almost the first time she heard Rachel telling her about it accurately . She could not help but be nervous and tense .
“He can feel what I can’t . He can think of what I can’t . So, if I raise him like Daniel in the future, I will have already surpassed Daniel . ”
“I personally don’t like that idea . Chef Daniel’s cooking was great, but Rachel Rose, as I know, never lagged behind him . Please stop putting yourself down . ”
“No, I don’t put myself down anymore . Now I realize that it doesn’t make sense to do so .
But Min-joon and Daniel are different . And there’s one thing that I know . Min-joon’s sense of taste . I feel relieved only when he tells me my dish tastes delicious . That’s what I’ve come to realize these days . ”
Rachel picked up a crushed almond on the cutting board . The small almonds were crushed to less than half the size, so they were barely pinched between fingers . Rachel put it in her mouth and chewed it slowly .
“Should I cook my dish with permission from others even when I trust it?”
“I want to say no, but I couldn’t do so until now . It’s very funny, isn’t it?”
“No . Not really . ”
Deborah bowed her head with a sullen expression .
Rachel stroked Deborah’s head with a smile and said, “But I know there are times when you need that kind of permission . Maybe you need somebody’s permission . ‘You’re doing well . There’s nothing wrong with your life . You didn’t do anything wrong . ’ Something like that, Deborah . ”
Rachel called her name in a heavy voice . Deborah turned her head, and Rachel smiled at her .
It was a smile that comforted Deborah’s troubled mind .
“You are a good chef . I trust you . So, just trust yourself . ”