Published at 4th of December 2020 06:15:15 PM
Chapter 328: Their Counterattack (3)
“Well, I personally support you, Chef June . ”
She raised one of her eyes curiously at his unexpected response . She didn’t know how to interpret what he said . In other words, she was not sure if he was not interested in competing with her or if he just said that out of courtesy .
Min-joon said, “I’m too embarrassed to mention anything like competition because I know I don’t have anything special, compared with you . But I’m going to have it step by step . I didn’t know it before, but I’ve realized that I’m more greedy than I think . ”
“You know what you are talking about now, right?”
“Of course, I do, and precisely at that . I’m just saying that I’m going to climb the top of the mountain in front of me . When I think about it, it doesn’t matter who else is there on the mountain because I just climbed the mountain because I liked it . But I now know that’s not the only reason I climb the mountain…”
He looked at her, and she stopped reading his expression . He was so honest that she didn’t have to read it . His eyes, his expressions, and his words honestly showed what he had in mind .
He continued, “Because I realized the top of the mountain was there . ”
That was his answer . The road ahead of him was too long for him to slow down just because there was somebody in front of him . He understood that June was concerned about him, but it was rather funny that he was considerate of her, for it was not him, a demi chef, but her who was the head chef, that should be considerate of him first .
June didn’t blame him for that . Even if she was in his shoes, she wouldn’t be different .
“I’ll look forward to seeing how far you will grow . ”
“Then, can I ask you a question now?”
“Of course . What are you curious about?”
“What do you think is the smartest thing for me to do?”
She chuckled unwittingly at his question . She felt she sent him lots of signals that she was wary of him, but he asked such a question casually .
‘I wonder if this guy is so clever…’
Perhaps, he was well aware that she had no choice but to answer his question because she was his senior . Besides, she clearly said a moment ago that she would look forward to his growth . If she didn’t answer, she would look dishonorable .
“Well, without you I would have kept a low profile and prepare step by step . But you don’t have to because you have already shown too much and you have lots of things . ”
“But what I have is not directly related to cooking . For example, popularity among the people and their awe for my perfect palate . This doesn’t have any big impact on my cooking . ”
“You haven’t thrown away much of your ideal . ”
She looked at him with a bitter smile . She could understand him . She didn’t think he was wrong . It was natural for him to look at cooking purely with such experience at that age .
“I saw Rachel’s kitchen . She always thinks of ideals rather than reality . But the results were never bad,” he said .
“Yes, I guess so . It’s a really nice environment for you to be mistaken . I mean as long as you are with Chef Rachel,” she muttered in a cynical voice .
There was even self-mockery in her voice . Upset about her remarks, he was about to ask her why he was mistaken but stopped after checking her serious expression .
“Do you think Chef Rachel has succeeded only because of cooking?” She asked .
“Yes, I think so, because she is the chef among those that I know who can make the best dinner . ”
“Oh, you have really believed so . ”
She looked at him with mixed feelings . He hated the way she looked at him . He didn’t feel unpleasant . The shadow of this cuisine world that he had never seen . He felt it so clearly that she already looked at the shadow, and she was living in the shadow . He felt like he would be sucked into that shadow if he kept talking with her like this .
“Chef Rachel is the chosen one . ”
“God has chosen her, people have chosen her, and America has chosen her . They said her dish was worth it . From that moment, her cooking has been loved by everybody, no matter what . ”
“Delicious food is always loved by everybody, isn’t it?”
“A lot of head chefs open restaurants with their own dreams and hopes, and a quarter of them are closed before the end of the year, and after three years three-fifths of them disappear . Do you think they don’t know how to cook delicious food? I’m not talking about perfect dishes like Rachel’s . Do you really think they can’t make the dishes that even ordinary people like?”
“Of course not . ”
When he lowered his head with a bitter expression, June said in a calm voice, “In fact, you already know that just because your restaurant serves delicious food, it doesn’t mean you can run the restaurant . You probably didn’t want to look at it . What you wanted to do was just cook with the knife and frying pan rather than caring about the interior of the kitchen or mingling with other people in the foodservice . ”
Obviously, she seemed to have read his mind .
He muttered feebly, “Isn’t it possible just to focus on cooking without caring about others?”
“It depends on the chef . To be honest with you, I think you can probably make it because you already have the credibility and fame that doesn’t need mingling with the people in the cuisine world . There are very few who have made such a successful start in their cooking career . ”
She said as if she was muttering, “That’s why I am watching you . ”
The marketing of Cho Reggiano was more successful than they expected, with an enthusiastic response from the people . The sales of the product ranging from finished products to those for industrial use were higher than the best sales projections they expected . Besides, the consumers’ feedback was also pretty good . Min-joon was concerned about the deterioration of the pizza condition overtime when they released the finished product, but people could not even think about it because Cho Reggiano was selling like hotcakes .
However, Min-joon didn’t openly express his happiness about the successful marketing of Cho Reggiano . Some might think he was being pretentious, but he was not . He was also happy, but his thoughts were so complicated that he couldn’t wholly enjoy that happiness .
“Hey, you’re too pathetic if you think so,” said Deborah over the phone .
“I know . But what should I do? I’m built this way,” he muttered with a depressed voice .
She sighed for a moment and said, “June is still making people sick of her like before . ”
“Oh, you said you and June are friends . ”
“Well, it’s one of my biggest mistakes in my life to have made friends with her . Don’t care about what she told you . I know quite a lot of people are sick and tired of the way she is preaching . ”
“But her results are good . ”
“I know . Her results are better than mine . I admit I’m not in a position to criticize her . ”
“You know I didn’t tell you about her because of that, right?”
She said in a grumbling tone, “Anyway, do what you have been doing . You are doing fine . I think you are really lucky, given that Cho Reggiano has hit the market successfully . ”
“The most important thing in our life is luck . I think you are lucky in your talents, your connections, and even in your business . I envy you . ”
“Don’t tell me like that . You’re making me more embarrassed . ”
“Oh, how about now? Where did you say you were going now?”
“We’re heading for Chicago . Now we’re going back to the west again . Our journey is almost over . ”
“Oh, if you stop by Chicago, you will see Dave again, I think . ”
He nodded with a smile .
Dave, his restaurant was the first three-star restaurant Min-joon visited . It was also the first place where he enjoyed a dish with a cooking score of 10 for the first time in his life . So, he decided to run a restaurant like this one, and he came to know which goal he had to pursue .
‘I wonder what advice Dave will give me . ’
When he met Dave in the past, he was too young and inexperienced to find out Dave’s cooking know-how or his culinary perspective . But he was now convinced that he could check it out this time . His heart was pounding when he thought he might be able to discover what he couldn’t last time .
At that moment, Havier, sitting in the driver’s seat, reached out his right hand and tapped him . Obviously, he wanted Min-joon to take over driving .
Min-joon said to Deborah, “I have to drive now . I will call you later . ”
“Sure, send my best regards to Dave . ”
“Why don’t you talk to him in person?”
“You are mean!”
“See you again . ”
Min-joon ended the call . Javier, who pulled over on the shoulder, got off the truck with a sigh . Min-joon also got off and stood in front of the parking machine and looked at him .
“Can I put in some coins for a break?”
“Sure . Let’s take a break for a minute . I want to step on the ground . ”
“Okay . ”
Min-joon put a coin in the parking machine .
Havier sighed, massaging his leg as if he was exhausted .
“Man, I want to stop driving . We have been driving for the past several months . ”
“You will be reminiscent of this later . How many opportunities are there for us to live so dramatically as a chef like this?”
“I know that, but this is so dramatic . I know Rachel’s personality, but…”
“You know other guys are not complaining . ”
“That’s why you guys are like monsters . I’m just a petit bourgeois . ”
Min-joon smiled at his grumbling and said, “I am a petit bourgeois, too . ”
“Well, they have to change the definition of a petit bourgeois if you think you are also a petit bourgeois when you have a perfect palate and hundreds of thousands of fans across America and have developed a dish that shook America . ”
“Don’t extoll me too much . You know I’m the ordinary type . Of course, sometimes I’m a little bit weird and cocky, but I’m not a freak . ”
“Sometimes, that weirdness is what distinguishes between a normal person and a freak one . ”
“If you say that, I have nothing to say . Then, why are Janet and Anderson freaks?”
“Well, they are so determined! I really can’t beat them . ”
Min-joon reflected on Havier’s description of the two for a moment . In the past, he used to recall Kaya when that kind of description came to his mind . But after he visited New York, he naturally recalled June first because his impression of her was so strong .
“If you’re so determined like that, wouldn’t it only hurt yourself?”
“What did you say?”
“Nothing . Let’s move now . We are far behind the other trucks anyway . ”
Min-joon got into the driver’s seat . Chicago, the name of the city made him more nostalgic than expected . This was the place where the Grand Chef competition was filmed .
At that moment, Havier asked, “Come to think of it, Kaya is probably in Chicago . ”
“I guess so . I decided to meet her today . ”
“Man, you guys will be at it again…” Havier muttered in a low voice .
Min-joon did not reply as if he didn’t hear it, or he pretended not to have heard it .
It was that evening that Min-joon met Kaya . She appeared aboard a pretty large van .
He was a bit embarrassed to watch Kaya and the camera staff getting off the van .
She grabbed him . She gave him a short kiss then made a crying expression .