Published at 24th of November 2020 01:35:19 PM
“I heard a strange guy caused some trouble at the food truck today . ”
“It is not unusual at all to encounter a freak or a psychopath in a restaurant . ”
“But it’s always painful to get blamed for that . If we act tough with such a customer, people will blame us for being rude to the customers, and when we treat him kindly, they will blame us for doing harm to other customers . ”
“That’s the price you have to pay for being famous . You can make some money in this business, but you can be rather poor in spirit like you were before . ”
“Rachel, you are so mean today . ”
Deborah pouted as if she was a bit upset . But Rachel raised her eyebrows and drank coffee again . Deborah felt Rachel was like a warm-hearted grandmother next door, rather than the top chef in America . Feeling like that, she wanted to speak out about what had been on her mind for a long time .
After hesitating for a moment, Deborah slowly opened her mouth .
“It was a blessing for me to see Min-joon helping you come back to work . ”
“Do you think so?”
“Yeah . I’m curious about one thing . Not only me, but other head chefs are also curious about it . What is your intention?”
“What are you going to do about Min-joon?”
Deborah asked carefully, which was like a bombshell question .
“Do you intend to make him your successor?”
The commotion at the food truck involving Anderson and Janet didn’t disappear quietly because they were affiliated with Rose Island .
People’s reactions were mixed, as always . But their feedback this time was more unusual than expected . The man who caused the trouble was a drug addict . If there was a problem, was it because the man was black and Anderson was white? The problem escalated into something like a racial issue in the gourmet blog community, which nobody expected at all .
Grace Wilde: Would Anderson have behaved like that if that drug man had been white, not black? I have nothing to say if you say I have a victim mentality, but I feel uncomfortable anyway .
└ Heather Greengrass: Yeah, I think you have a victim mentality . Hey, don’t talk about the drug . That black guy raised his hand, right? How can you do nothing in such a situation?
└ Grace Wilde: @Heather Greengrass Well, he could have just held the guy’s hand and stopped him . I think he ignored the man because he was black . Can you deny this?
└ Heather Greengrass: @Grace Wilde Stop that bullshit . He was ignored because he did something stupid . Do you think a victim should do nothing just because the other party is black? That kind of thinking promotes reverse discrimination . It’s also discrimination against black people .
Pros and cons about the issue went on like this endlessly .
“Uncle, are you sick?”
As if she was worried about Min-joon, Ella stuck her face out on the screen of Kaya’s smartphone’s lens . When the small screen was full with her cute nose and eyebrows, Kaya held out her hand to grab her cheeks and pulled her back .
“Ella, you can’t see him better even if you put your face on it like that . Just stay still . ”
“Kaya, you’re so mean!”
With a sullen look, Ella grabbed her own cheeks that Kaya pulled .
Holding her on her lap, Kaya picked up the smartphone and pointed its lens at her own face .
“Well, I’m not sure if this is a big issue or not, but it seems that rumors have spread more widely because of the TV programs about the episodes about our post-Grand Chef activities these days . ”
“Well, fire is supposed to spread fast with the wind . ”
“Anyway, Anderson, he should have controlled his hot temper . ”
“That’s what I want to tell you, Kaya . ”
“Well, I’m beginning to hear it a lot, so you don’t have to worry . By the way, where are you now? Are you still in Las Vegas?”
“No, we’re leaving for San Francisco today . ”
“Good for you . You can travel a lot here and there . ”
Min-joon just grinned without responding .
At that moment, Ella turned the camera lens toward her, covering her hand over Kaya’s hand . Then she said, looking at him, “When are you coming back?”
“Why? Do you want to see me?”
After she said that, Ella covered her eyes with her short, chubby fingers as if she was shy .
He said with a smile, “I want to see you, too . ”
“More than Kaya?”
“Yes, more than Kaya . ”
Kaya, looking down at Ella with an embarrassed glance, then looked at the lens as if she couldn’t believe it .
He cleared his throat and said, “Anyway, let me hang up now . I have to drive soon . I’ll get back to you later . Ella, call me . ”
“I’ll talk to you later,” said Kaya curtly .
“Of course, Kaya . ”
“You know what I mean, right?” Kaya snapped .
Instead of responding to Kaya, he looked at Ella and waved with a smile .
Kaya’s dissatisfied face overlapped over Ella’s smiling face, but he hung up the phone .
“I already miss Los Angeles,” he muttered in a low voice .
At that moment, someone shouted from the passenger seat in a hoarse voice .
“Then, just go back!”
“Man, you gave me a scare! You weren’t sleeping?”
“How can I sleep when you’re talking so loudly next to me? I couldn’t help but wake up because I heard you mention my name several times . ”
“I wish you had talked to her on the phone if you were awake . ”
“I don’t want to cut in on your conversation . Obviously, Kaya will be mad at me . ”
“But she is still worried about you a lot . ”
When he said that, Anderson didn’t respond . He raised the chair he had laid on his back and rubbed his face with his hands without water for a moment .
He continued, “Well, the other guys are also worried about me . But the problem is there are so many nasty guys causing trouble out there . ”
It seemed that Anderson was upset because of the critical comments about his behavior at the food truck the other day . Although he could have ignored them, he was obviously hurt .
Min-joon put his hand on the steering wheel of the truck, whose engine had been turned off .
As if he was about to drive, he looked ahead, straining his eyes, and said, “What can we do? We have to be ready to endure such criticism when people have come to know about the accident . ”
“Do you think it’s easy to put up with that?”
“It’s not easy, but you have to . ”
“Hey,” Anderson said in a heavy voice with his transparent, blue eyes full of deep resentment .
“You’re always right . You are saying the right things and doing the right things . You’re walking the way you need to go . It’s because you’ve never fallen . You’re always loved by everyone, and you get what you want . Do you know the feelings of someone who has fallen? Things are not all that easy in this world . ”
“Do you think I don’t know?”
“Have you ever fallen?”
When he asked abruptly, Min-joon looked at him calmly . Min-joon bit his lips, feeling his resentment . He had fallen before . The first time he fell was when he had to give up his dream and go to a teachers’ college after coming to grips with reality . And the second time he fell was when he had to land a job at a local restaurant as a junior cook after giving up a teaching job .
Of course, he had fallen while working at Rose Island . Min-joon clearly understood how he felt when he fell .
He asked in a cold voice, “Why do you think I’ve never fallen before?”
“Well, no one in the world has never fallen . But can you understand my feelings? Rachel pretends not to show it, but she always puts you first . She talks to you first, she pins more expectations on your dishes, and she always introduces you first to others . ”
“People talk to you first . You get their attention, and they love you . And I’m such a sorry ass talking to you like this . ”
“You know you’re a sorry ass?”
“Yeah, I know . That’s why I’m angrier about myself . ”
Min-joon looked at him in anger and frustration then opened the car door and jumped out of the truck, as if he had an upset stomach . He heard something like Anderson’s sighing from behind, but he didn’t care . Havier, who was eating shaved ice covered in syrup with plenty of coloring, turned to him and waved his hands .
“Did you take a break?”
“Nope . Give me some shaved ice . ”
“You look bad . Are you sick?”
“I have a little headache . ”
Min-joon took his spoon and took a bite of shaved ice .
Havier looked at him curiously and said, “I know you don’t use my spoon . You must be very thirsty . ”
“Yeah, very thirsty . ”
“Are you mad?”
Instead of answering, Min-joon looked back at the truck for a moment . He could see Anderson agonizing with his eyes closed . Min-joon was also distressed to see him .
“Perhaps . ”
“Goodbye . ”
“Thank you . ”
“You’re welcome . I’m more grateful . There’s nothing I did for you . ”
“I know you cared a lot . ”
When Min-joon said goodbye with gratitude, Deborah scratched her cheek awkwardly .
“I envy you, Min-joon . ”
“Yeah, you’re walking on a path that everybody is envious of . You are walking on your own feet, rather than being carried away by others on their back . ”
“Thank you for saying so . ”
“Oh, you’re not denying what I said today? I would say I’m just ordinary like the others . ”
“Well, I feel like I would not like to say so this time . ”
He said with a sigh . Smiling at him, she raised his heels and stroked his head .
Then she asked jokingly, “Oh, I was kidding because I appreciate your work here . It’s good you seem to be aware of where you stand now . You’re almost like a king among the chefs right now . You can make what you want to make, and you can tell the whole world what you’ve made . You don’t have any problem that binds you at the moment . ”
“Sometimes, abundance itself is a stumbling block in one’s life . Especially people’s gaze . Sometimes you like it, but you are bothered by that a lot . Recently, I have told someone that he should try to look on the bright side alone, but when I come to think of it now, I think I was irresponsible . ”
“What’s wrong with that? You need somebody who can tell you something like that . And you are not irresponsible . Did you quarrel with Anderson?”
Startled by her question, he looked at her .
With a leisurely smile, she said, “I can see it all on your face . ”
“Well, I think I have to learn how to avoid showing it . ”
“When you’re confused, just look up . It’s my advice as someone who’s been looking down at my feet for a long time . If you lower your head, trying not to trip on a stone wall, you might forget what you have been looking at . Where are you looking now?”
He made an awkward expression for a moment . Honestly, he was not sure where he was looking . He just liked cooking, so every moment he put all his effort and time into it . That was it . It wasn’t that he had no ambitions for the future, but he himself wasn’t sure what color and shape the flames of his ambition had .
“If you are not sure, can I recommend one?”
“Sure, let me listen . ”
“Look at the top of Rose Island . ”
“The top of Rose Island? You mean the head chef there?”
“No, the executive chef who manages all the branches of Rose Island . ”
He got embarrassed .
Enjoying his embarrassment, she said in a slow voice, “It looks high, but you never know, right? Before you lift your heels, you never know whether you can touch the top with your fingers, right?”