Published at 7th of December 2020 05:40:10 PM
Chapter 337: If You Don’t Have It, You Can Make It (3)
Watching Min-joon directing the participants, Jaden was so impressed that he felt like he was possessed by ghosts . He had experience working in the restaurant kitchen . It was not a famous restaurant where he worked, but he worked there, grabbing a knife and being upbraided by an Italian head chef who often yelled at him .
But Min-joon didn’t yell, nor did he cast a fierce glance at the participants helping him . He just pointed it out whenever Jaden was about to make a mistake as if he shared both Jaden’s eyes and senses .
The way Min-joon directed the participants helping him was something new that Jaden had never experienced even when he worked with his former head chef . He would never find Min-joon’s direction style in other chefs in the future . It was easy to blame somebody when he made a mistake, but it was a different story to notice the mistake and point it out before somebody made a mistake .
“Wow, I’ve never realized how fun cooking is!” Mario, a Brazilian, who was standing next to Jaden, said with a gentle smile .
He felt cooking with Min-joon was completely different from what he used to . Basically, the recipe that Min-joon made was fun . What he was making right now was the duck meat dish that would be served as the main . He chopped duck tenderloin into pieces, put duck legs to it, and roasted them properly before wrapping them in duck skin and lightly Caramelizing it .
What impressed him for the second time was the uniqueness of the source . Min-joon made a puree by boiling garlic, onions, and other vegetables in the broth . He then added red wine, beef broth, and Lavender and Thyme in that order . After simmering a little more, he added butter last . Then, after baking the buttered peaches on the grill, he put the finishing touch on it by seasoning it with salted turnips and sauteed Pak Choi before plating them .
‘It’s amazing he can make such a complicated recipe…’
It meant that Min-joon could figure out how each of those complex processes affected the ingredients . And that proved how skillful he was in cooking . To figure out what to do with the ingredients and how to bring out the best taste of the ingredients was the key strength of a competent chef . After all, it largely distinguished the real pro chef from the amateur chef .
After he was done plating the last plate, Min-joon wiped the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief . He looked at the judges and smiled . It wasn’t long ago when he stood here .
But at this moment, he could stand in the same place with a different dish in a completely different mood . That made him smile in satisfaction . He was more satisfied and happy than anybody else .
He looked at the participants with a smile and said, “Can you help me with plating?”
“Of course, just tell us,” Jaden said first .
Jaden, notorious for being unruly, began to carry the plates to the table gently like a sheep in front of a wolf . It wasn’t just Jaden who came to help out . Other participants who helped him cook also started carrying the plates one by one . And other participants who didn’t help him looked quite embarrassed . Some of them were too kind to refuse such a request by nature, but some were unruly and stubborn like Jaden .
‘How could Min-joon make them so obedient and loyal?”
Although they had such doubts, the participants who helped Min-joon could not get around to thinking like that . The Grand Chef competition was going on at the moment . Some of them have served as head chefs themselves, and they have been even supervised by other amateur head chefs . So, they could understand how cool and perfect Min-joon’s direction was .
Just like Min-joon was moved when he first cooked under Rachel’s direction, they felt the same way now .
“I feel like I’m watching a general who has won a war without sacrificing his troops . ”
Takeshi muttered in a low voice . If Joseph had been there, he would not have impressed them as much as Minj-joon . Anyone like Joseph could impress them easily, so Takeshi was shocked to know it was Min-joon, not Joseph, who impressed the participants so much .
‘If Chef Rachel handed down all her cooking knowledge and skills to Min-joon…’
He suddenly felt a strong regret . What might have happened if Min-joon had been Japanese, not Korean, and specialized in Japanese food, not Western food? He regretted he could not see how Min-joon could cook Japanese food as a Japanese .
Takeshi gave an intense glance at Min-joon, so much so that he bared his heart, “Man, he cooked such a damn good dish so easily…”
After realizing belatedly that he was muttering unwittingly, Takeshi hurriedly shut up, but the people around him already heard it all .
Laura said with a nod, “If he cooks the main dish with the kitchen staff who go hand in hand with him, I think he is already fully qualified as a head chef . You shouldn’t treat him lightly just because he has only got one year of experience . He’s become a perfect chef that nobody can find fault with thoughtlessly . ”
Having heard that, Kaya looked elsewhere as if she was rather embarrassed . But her indifferent attitude drew the attention of other judges . She looked at Laura and those judges watching her and said, clearing her throat, “Well, I know how you think even when you don’t say anything . ”
Laura smiled awkwardly as if she was dumbfounded . Kaya headed to the table, with her earlobes blushing . No matter how good chefs they were, they were not considerate enough to serve all the plates at the right time . Besides, this place was not what they called a restaurant, nor was the Grand Chef competition in full swing .
Kaya looked at Min-joon with a slightly confused expression .
“Hey, what are you doing now?” she asked .
“Don’t you know? I’m saving your face,” Min-joon replied .
“Man, you are really making me so embarrassed here…” she said .
Min-joon smiled quietly without a word . When he sat down, shaking her hands, he also sat next to her . At that moment, the other judges sat around them, as if on cue .
Joseph opened his mouth with a smile, “You don’t have to take the chairs out for us, so can you explain the menu?”
“Of course . Actually, I don’t have to explain… But as you can see, the appetizer is an anchovy dish . ”
“Oh, It’s molecular cooking…” Takeshi said, rather surprised .
Molecular cuisine had already been widely introduced in modern restaurants .
Even in France, Italy, and Spain, the birthplaces of Western gastronomy, it was hard to find any restaurants that didn’t serve molecular cuisine . But Takeshi was an old-fashioned and stubborn chef who stuck with only authentic dishes . Someone like him was hard to find in the top gourmet circles .
Because of that, the anchovy dish made by Min-joon seemed stimulating and dazzling to him . First of all, its beautiful shape was impressive . When he first saw it, he even suspected it wasn’t anchovy, but Tiramisu or Oreo cake . However, it looked quite delicious at first glance, with black dots stuck on the white ice cream .
Min-joon opened his mouth, nodding at him .
“Olive oil and Glyce… Oh, Chef Takeshi, do you also cook molecular food?”
“I don’t, but I know a little about it . Isn’t Glyce a monoglyceride product name?”
“Yes, I mixed olive oil and Glyce, and I added gelatin and Sucrose instead of lecithin . They are ingredients used relatively stable and hard foam, compared with lecithin . And I put it in a siphon gun and matured at 4 degrees then chopped anchovy into a fillet, aged it in extra virgin olive oil, garlic-flavored, and basil then mixed them in a siphon and extracted the foam . ”
“I think you also made the bread seasoned with this…”
Takeshi picked up the flatbread on the plate . It was flat and white bread that put him in mind of an Indian egg .
Min-joon nodded and said, “The bread itself doesn’t taste great . So, I used a siphon gun to make a small hole for a soft texture . I didn’t want to lose the taste and texture of the anchovy foam because of the bread . ”
While listening to Min-joon, Emily looked perplexed, as if she couldn’t make head or tail of what he was talking about . She was a gourmet and had good cooking skills, but she didn’t know about molecular cooking well . And it wasn’t just Emily alone . Even the participants who helped Min-joon did not understand his explanation because most of the molecular cooking was done by Min-joon .
Min-joon was done explaining . He picked the bread and put a creamy anchovy foam on it . The moment he took a bite, others also opened their mouths the same way and put anchovy foam and bread in their mouths .
At that moment, Kaya said, “Are you sure it’s anchovy?”
She looked down at the bread and anchovy as if she couldn’t believe it . Min-joon smiled at her .
In fact, the main focus of today’s three-course menu was the anchovy appetizer . Its cooking score was 9 when he didn’t use too many ingredients . If he had enriched the taste with a little more ingredients, he would have even attained a cooking score of 10 .
‘Well, this is my hidden card that I originally planned to show to Rachel . ’
Min-joon looked at Kaya . When he found her perplexed at the fantastic taste of anchovy, he felt his release this time was worthwhile . Takeshi slowly put his hand holding the knife down on the table .
“Is this the recipe Rachel has taught you? Or…” Joseph asked, with mixed feelings .
“I made it . ”
“You have really improved a lot . ”
When he saw Min-joon cooking just before, he already felt that Min-joon improved . But his growth that Joseph just mentioned was really significant . After all was said and done, the moment when a person could evaluate the competence of a chef was his or her finished dish . And Min-joon’s dish that he enjoyed was no more the subject of his evaluation . It was rather a dish that he should enjoy and smile as the same chef .
Min-joon’s anchovy foam clearly showed why the cooking method called foam was loved by many people . It also showed how his name Min-joon became a household name that anyone in the American gastronomic world must know . It was an appetizer that convinced Joseph how Cho Reggiano, a dessert that fascinated Americans, was created at his fingertips .