Published at 4th of December 2020 06:15:19 PM
Chapter 326: Their Counterattack (1)
Rachel and her staff always stayed in above-average, but not 5-star, hotels . The reason was simple . If the hotel rate was too expensive, such hotels often do not have kitchens . Given that they were cooks, Rachel didn’t want her staff to stay at a hotel without a kitchen for a moment .
‘I really understand why she said that…’
Kitchen, putting olive oil on a pan heated in front of the stove, Min-joon smiled bitterly . Although he wanted to enhance his cooking skills in a situation where he could cook, he sometimes wanted to focus on cooking alone .
“She asked me if I coveted the top position of Rose Island…”
He wasn’t sure how he replied . Trying to trace his memory slowly, he chopped onions, carrots, and celery roughly . Then, he added crushed garlic to the ingredients then waited until the peculiar smell of garlic disappeared . He then put chopped peeled tomatoes on a pan with basil .
The tomato sauce would be complete after simmering for about 30 minutes to an hour while he was stirring it moderately . Min-joon needed just that process . He needed some time to concentrate without thinking too much .
‘Well, the one who deserves the top position will have it . If I’m qualified, I’ll have it, but if I am not, somebody else will have it . And all I can do now is learn a little more from Chef Rachel . I don’t want to think about anything else . ’
That was what he told Jenin, the hotel owner . While he stirred the tomato fondue more and more slowly, he reflected on his reply carefully . Did he reply enough? Or did he need to clarify more clearly? Did his reply sound greedy or childish? Various thoughts came to his mind, and he agonized over it, but he could not find the right answer .
At that moment, he heard a ringtone on his smartphone . At the classic ringtone, he rummaged through his pocket and took out his smartphone .
Then he answered the phone with a smile . It was Kaya’s call .
“Hey, Kaya . ”
“I am not Kaya . ”
Surprised, he looked into the screen quietly . The name that came on the screen was Kaya, but the girl with the slightly tanned skin on the screen was obviously not Kaya .
He said with a soft smile, “Ella, did you call me?”
“Yeah, I peeked into Kaya’s password on the phone last time . ”
“I can’t praise you for that . You shouldn’t take a peek at that . ”
Ella’s plump cheeks filled the screen at his stern voice .
He said with a smile, “Ella, adjust the camera screen first . I can only see your chubby face . ”
“I don’t know how to do it . ”
“Take it off your cheek first and adjust the camera lens button . ”
She took the phone from her cheek for a moment then quickly fumbled over the camera lens and turned it around . It looked like she was holding it upside down .
He smiled at her bedhead and said, “I can see your face now . ”
“It’s too difficult . ”
“Good job . But you should not use Kaya’s phone without her permission . Got it?”
“Okay . ”
“Where are you now?”
Instead of answering, Ella lifted the phone over her head and turned around in place . Looking at the surroundings, it wasn’t difficult for him to figure out where she was .
He opened his mouth as if he was surprised .
“Ella, are you at my house right now?”
“Yeah, I’m here to play . ”
“You want to play with Kaya?”
“Yeah, but she is sleeping now . ”
“Did she say she was tired?”
“No, she lost in a sleeping game with me,” Ella said with a proud expression .
He smiled awkwardly . Sleeping game? Although New York is 3 hours ahead, it’s about time to go to sleep in Los Angeles now . He could easily guess why Kaya wanted to play a sleeping game with Ella .
Probably, Kaya already experienced it while playing with Jemma . Ella stamped her feet and moved to Kaya’s bed to show her sleeping . Given her open mouth or loose head, she seemed to be in deep sleep, confirming his guesswork .
“Kaya is a fool . She can’t beat me . ”
“What are you doing now, Ella?”
“I’m on the phone with you, Uncle Min-joon . Don’t you know that?”
“Oh, you’re right . ”
Ella lay next to Kaya and lifted the phone . Kaya groaned and tossed and turned . Ella turned her head and looked at Kaya then lay her head on her arm .
Min-joon burst into laughter and said, “It seems you got chums with her now . You guys used to squabble all the time . ”
“No, I’m not close to her at all . I’m just playing with her . ”
“Why are you putting your head on her arms, then?”
“This is a sleeping game . ”
As if she didn’t want to admit she got intimate with Kaya, she strongly denied it . But Min-joon didn’t hate Ella for that . Rather he wanted to hug her if she were beside him right now .
‘I wish my competition was so childish like this . ’
But he soon found out that it wasn’t . He didn’t know it at first . When he heard rumors circulating among the head chefs at other branches of Rose Island that Rachel was trying to make him her successor, he didn’t take it seriously . Although he felt uncomfortable about the rumors, it was also true that he felt quite pleasant, for he was a human with ambitions anyway . He could not help but feel proud, knowing he got the people’s attention mixed with jealousy .
But that wasn’t such a simple problem . This was not a matter that he could easily ignore because some chefs were wary of him . In fact, this was a matter on which chefs like June betted everything to get the top position at Rose Island .
‘I just love to be beside Rachel . ’
He was already deeply entangled in the competition before he knew it . Honestly, he found this situation so embarrassing . Although he had some cooking experience before he landed a job at Rose Island, he was only a 30-year-old young chef . There was a limit to his cuisine knowledge, and it was not in his element to behave politically in this competition .
“Min-joon, do you want to pooh?”
“Why are you suddenly asking that?”
“Because it looks like you have a stomachache . If I’m with you now, I would stroke your belly . ”
Min-joon asked with a sad voice, “Do you want me to be a good person or a great person?”
“What’s the difference?”
Ella tilted her head as if she couldn’t understand . It was certainly a very difficult question for her . Min-joon shook his head with a sigh . In fact, that was the question that bothered him most right now . Even in his opinion, the top position of Rose Island seemed more suitable for June than him . Although he coveted it, he knew he didn’t deserve it and that he wasn’t ready yet . There was only one thing he had now, which was Rachel’s interest in him . Could her interest alone help him surpass June’s ability, effort, and achievement until now?
‘That’s going to be the most miserable victory . ’
The moment when his expression turned dark, somebody spoke from Ella’s side .
“I just want you to be someone who does what he wants to do . ”
“Are you awake?”
“If you are talking so loudly right next to me, doesn’t it mean you want to wake me up?”
“Ela is young . You shouldn’t sleep like that, Kaya . You have to take care of her on her side . ”
“Stop preaching . I know you just wanted to wake me up . ”
He chuckled, embarrassed, as if she read his mind .
Kaya asked, rubbing her eyes as if she was sleepy, “So, what’s up? Why are you feeling under the weather again?”
He was about to open his mouth when Anderson urgently shouted, “Hey, Min-joon! Turn off the oven switch!”
“What the heck? Ah…”
Min-joon looked down at the fan with an embarrassed expression . Was he too deeply absorbed into chatting with Ella or lost in thought? Since he forgot to continue stirring the tomato sauce, the burnt smell of the tomato sauce was filling the kitchen . He hurriedly turned off the switch and stirred the top of the pan . The burnt sauce got stuck to the bottom of the wooden ladle .
“Damn it . I ruined it!”
“What the hell have you been doing? How come you were so absent-minded as to let the sauce burn like that?” Anderson asked .
“Well, I’ve been pondering over something that bothered me a lot today . ”
Min-joon shrugged at his question . Anderson could roughly understand the situation .
Although he wasn’t beside Min-joon when he talked with some of the party participants, he could figure out what kind of conversation they had when he checked out their names .
Anderson turned and said with a sigh, “I can’t stand here because of the burnt smell . Call me after you clear it up . I’ll come back then . ”
“Okay . ”
Anderson left the room, not caring about Min-joon’s sullen voice .
Kaya asked in a calm voice, “So, are you going to explain to me or not?”
Anderson was in a bar in the hotel lobby after getting out of the smelly kitchen . While foreign tourists from all over the world gathered and chatted there, he knew someone among them .
He stepped toward him and pulled the chair to sit down .
“Are you drinking again after attending the party?”
“Who cares?” Asked Janet .
“Well, at least, I think I deserve to meddle when you are drunk . You know I called a taxi lots of times because you were drunk . ”
“Well, I have nothing to say about that . ”
Janet replied briefly and then brought the glass back to her mouth .
Anderson looked at the glass and asked, “What are you drinking?”
“James . ”
“That’s strong! Hey, give me a glass of Jameson on the rocks, please!”
Anderson ordered in a calm voice and turned to Janet .
Her face already turned red as if she drank a lot .
“What’s up? Anything bad?”
“Not really . ”
“But why are you drinking like this?”
“Because I want to . ”
“Go easy, Janet . You have to work tomorrow . ”
She stopped for a moment when he mentioned work . He then picked up the glass in front of her and took it to his mouth .
She glared at him silently and asked, “Hey . ”
“Do you think I can claim the sous chef position?”
“You are quite greedy . ”
“You are not greedy?”
Anderson drank without replying . She pushed the nacho in front of her .
“Eat some . Otherwise, your stomach will hurt . ”
“The sous chef position suits you . ”
“How about you?”
“I’m not ready yet . I can feel it . ”
“I can feel it, too, but I want to have it . If I have it, I wonder if I think I can get out of all this frustration . I think I can have more beyond my ability . If that happens…”
Janet put her hand on the stomach . Anderson knew what she meant because he already heard a lot from her about it .
She muttered in a bitter voice, “I didn’t even know my baby was dying while I was working . I would have something to say to my baby later if I had that position . I think I can say I have come as far as here to claim this position, and you might forgive me for that . ”
Anderson laughed bitterly then he muttered in a cynical voice .
“Be honest, Janet . You don’t want that position because you want to be forgiven . You just feel that position is so sweet to you, right?”
“You son of a b*tch! You’re always right . Yeah, that’s true . That’s why I hate it . ”
He raised the glass . However, there was only ice left on the glass .
He said, looking into the empty glass indifferently, “Min-joon got the real attention from lots of people today . They were definitely June’s regular customers, but there were a lot who wanted to make friends with him . I just felt hopeless . How much effort should I make to catch up with him?”
“You know he’s involved in a lot of stuff . All we did was do as instructed to us in the kitchen . No wonder it makes a difference . I just hate myself because I haven’t done anything great until now…”
After she said that, there was silence between them for some time . They just filled the glasses repeatedly . Then she said loosely, under the influence of alcohol .
“How about causing some trouble?”