Published at 29th of November 2020 02:00:13 PM
Anderson, who ate the same Bolognese pasta, nodded . Given this fine dish, It wasn’t at all strange that Serhi received Michelin two stars . Min-joon raised his eyes and looked at the pizza called the Ex-Girlfriend Pizza .
“Is this eggplant?” Min-joon asked blankly . On top of the pizza were eggplants, tomatoes, onions, and Prosciutto ham . It was round and stretched like an Olympic ring .
Serhi, who came just in time, said with a smile, “I named this pizza the Ex-Girlfriend Pizza because of this eggplant . ”
“Because it’s an eggplant . ”
Min-joon looked at Serhi as if he couldn’t understand .
Serhi opened his mouth as if he couldn’t help it .
“There is no dish with eggplants that tastes different, depending on the situation . It can have no taste at all if you don’t know how to cook eggplants, but a fine chef can make the most delicious dish with eggplants . ”
“What does that have to do with an ex-girlfriend?”
“Well, it’s sweet at one time, but it’s going to be bitter later . Try it . ”
Serhi said with a smile, “You will appreciate the taste of this Ex-Girlfriend pizza . ”
Min-joon lifted the pizza politely as if he was dealing with a high-end cuisine . The first thing he did was to hold the pizza close to his eyes and check its texture, the gap between the cheese and the ingredients, and the yellowish roast marks left on the cheese .
After checking it with his eyes, he slowly smelled it without sniffing . The sticky smell of cheese, moderately baked flour, and the mixed scent of vegetables and Prosciutto ham .
“Hey, how come you are looking at the pizza so devoutly?”
“Because it’s not just an ordinary pizza . ”
Anderson made a strange expression as if he could not understand . But Min-joon could not find any other expression right now . Serhi’s cooking score for this pizza was 9 . Honestly, Min-joon could not even think of such a high score .
‘You can get this high score only with eggplant, Prosciutto, onion, and tomato? And without going through any complicated process?’
He could not understand that such a pizza could taste that good . However, a cooking point 9 was something unusual for such a pizza . Even a beef rib soup that required dozens of hours to cook would have a hard time getting 8 points, but Serhi obtained 9 with this simple pizza .
After pondering over it for some time, Min-joon bit the pizza with a thoughtful expression .
When he took the first bite, he was still not persuaded, but his expression began to change when he took a bite for the second and third time .
He put down the pizza with trembling hands and looked at Serhi . Serhi didn’t laugh, nor did he ask why Min-joon looked at him because he was staring at Min-joon with eerily transparent blue eyes .
Then he asked in a subdued voice, “Do you feel it? Ex-girlfriend?”
“Yes, I do feel it . ”
Serhi slightly turned up the corner of his mouth at that then raised his hand to point at that pizza . Min-joon took the pizza again and put it in his mouth without saying anything .
‘I really can’t believe this . ’
Even after he ate it again, he felt the same way . It was literally perfect . He was a little skeptical when he heard that Serhi decided to give up other menus and focus on only pasta and pizza, but now he could understand why .
When he enjoyed Rachel’s food, he used to moan like that several times . Serhi’s pizza was like her dish . His pasta was also delicious, but this pizza was so perfect that he couldn’t even compare it with the pasta . He thought it might be hard to find this kind of pizza even in Italy .
The most characteristic of this pizza was the sauce applied to the dough . It was ambiguous to say it was a sauce because diluted honey was spread under the cheese . That honey was the key to the mix of bread, cheese, and other toppings .
But even that didn’t persuade him about the cooking score . Although acanthopanax or lime peel was added to the honeyed water for a complex scent, he could not obtain a cooking score 9 with that alone . That was what surprised Min-joon .
Min-joon put the last piece of dough in his mouth . In general, the universal criterion for a well-made dough was its texture . Serhi’s dough was chewy, but not too tough . It was a well-made dough that certainly exceeded that universal standard .
“What the hell is this scent? Is it grain?” Min-joon asked as if he couldn’t believe it .
It wasn’t that thick scent of ordinary flour . His dough had the crisp and appetizing flavor usually found in well-baked bread . When he asked that question, the chefs other than Rachel looked at Serhi as if they were also surprised .
Serhi shrugged and said, “Well, I can’t tell you in detail because it’s a trade secret, but it’s the power of kneading and ripening . ”
“Well, it’s hard to believe that you can bring out this taste with just dough and aging . ”
Min-joon shook his head as if he was so impressed . The toppings on the pizza were only a decoration to dazzle one’s eyes . The secret of this pizza was in the dough .
Min-joon could now understand why Serhi called it Ex-Girlfriend Pizza . It was sweet but bitter . But over time, even that bitterness left the eater relishing its lingering delight, just like the lovers who loved and broke up, which would remain sweet bitterness in their memories later .
“Why did Michelin take back your stars when you have developed this fine pizza?” Maya asked curiously as if she couldn’t understand Michelin’s decision .
Serhi replied with a pleasant smile on his mouth .
“Well, that’s the way Michelin guys are dealing with the restaurants in a mean way . They acted rudely as if I threw a bomb in the cuisine world when I gave up on the fine dining style . ”
“It’s innovative, of course . You received Michelin stars in the fine-dining format . Then you are the first who gave it up all of a sudden, right? How did you feel?” Min-joon asked expectantly .
Smacking his lips, Serhi said, “You might have felt the same way in that situation . I was just dumbfounded . ”
“Because I already expected it . The moment I gave up fine dining, I expected I would lose Michelin stars . At the same time, I knew the guests who came here because of the Michelin stars would no longer visit . That’s what I’ve been experiencing recently . These days, my customers are starting to come back . But when the people came to know about the news about my restaurant losing Michelin stars, I was busy receiving their calls on reservation cancellation .
“I think Chef Serhi’s attitude is cool . ”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he just cooks what he wants to cook without caring about what others say . It’s simple, but it’s the hardest to keep . ”
Serhi smiled silently at Min-joon’s remarks .
It was around dawn when Min-joon slowly blinked . 4 AM in the morning . It was rather early for him to wake up, but he felt strangely sober and clear in his mind .
‘I’m afraid I’m going to get sick again if I overwork myself…’
He pulled the blanket over again and closed his eyes . But a little later he had to open his eyes again because he could smell something familiar . It didn’t smell so pleasant . It smelled like dush, rice, or even wheat flour .
Eventually, he had no choice but to get up and head to the kitchen .
He looked at Anderson with a slight frown .
“What are you doing at this hour?”
“Well, I’m trying to imitate you and Chef Serhi . ”
“Me and Chef Serhi?”
“I know you always try to imitate somebody after you see someone’s fresh dish . So, I’m thinking of imitating it now . Chef Serhi’s dough . ”
“Do you think you can imitate it? You haven’t mastered his dough know-how, right?”
“Then, did you try imitating new recipes after you learned somebody’s know-how first?”
Anderson hit the nail on the head .
Min-joon closed his mouth and slowly moved to his side . Min-joon could easily find out the recipe of the ingredients that he tasted . Although he couldn’t find out the recipe of Ex-Girlfriend pizza because of its cooking score of 9, not all pizzas had a cooking point 9 .
But he could find out the recipe of a dough with a cooking score of 8 . And he could do it because Serhi was not entirely dependent on his sensation, but he tended to rely on measurements . For example, Min-joon could find out at what temperature he set, how much he applied moisture, and how to knead the dough . Min-joon could read it in his mind .
‘How would Serhi feel when he knew I found out his recipe?’
Probably, Serhi would not like it . Min-joon went to Anderson’s side and spilled the flour .
He looked back at Min-joon as if he could not understand .
“Shall we do it together?”
“Well, I can do it alone . ”
“Hey, I think I know the recipe . ”
“What did you say?”
Anderson looked at him with a ridiculous expression .
Min-joon said in a calm voice, “I think I know his recipe . ”
“Serhi, can we afford to spend time moving around like this?” Emma asked in a sullen voice . Serhi nodded calmly and said, “Yes, of course . ”
“I know, but you seem so relaxed . Do you know we don’t have any reserved tables today?”
“Well, even if we don’t have any reservations, it doesn’t mean customers won’t visit us, right? They don’t have any reservations at the food truck . For now, let’s focus on this food truck . ”
“Why did you come to Min-joon and Anderson’s food truck again? We already went here yesterday . ”
“Well, they said they would serve a different dish today . ”
Serhi looked at the food truck with a serene gaze . He would not visit this food truck again if they served the same dish today . However, Min-joon and Anderson told him they would serve a dish that would surprise him today .
‘What the hell are they going to show me?’
He was full of thrill and excitement at the moment . A little later, Serhi could see what they wanted to show . The door of the truck opened and a paper with the menu was hanging under it .
Emma clicked her tongue as if she was sick and tired of it . Serhi’s eyebrows also wriggled . There must be a reason why they bothered to bring him here, though .
It wasn’t long before Serhi’s turn came . Maya was at the cashier’s seat, as always .
Maya, who recognized Serhi, said hello with a smile, “It’s nice to see you again, Chef Serhi . What would you like to order?”
“Let me have a vegetarian pizza . I was a little surprised by the concept of this food truck . ”
Having said so, Serhi made eye contact with Min-joon . Min-joon returned with a knowing wink . ‘What the hell does he want to show me?’
The way Serhi handled the pizza was the same as Min-joon . To put it precisely, he was pickier than Min-joon . Serhi tasted the pizza only after he felt the chewy and rough texture of the dough . At that moment, Serhi was so surprised that he almost dropped the pizza .
Startled, Emma supported Serhi .
“Chef! Are you okay?”
“Ah, yeah . I’m fine . ”
Stuttering a bit, Serhi looked down at the pizza . There was disbelief in his eyes .
Emma opened her mouth as if she felt strange about the pizza .
“By the way, this pizza tastes very similar to yours, Chef Sergi . Did you give them your recipe?”