Published at 11th of December 2020 06:15:23 PM
Chapter 340: You Can’t Touch Pitch Without Being Defiled (1)
After the participants were deeply impressed with Min-joon’s dishes, Min-joon and the winners of the previous Grand Chef competitions were invited by the judges to their room . Emily smiled at them after presenting them with the homemade chocolates she bought from San Francisco .
“I didn’t imagine I would meet you like his here . It’s nice to see you all here . ”
“You have been around here since Season 1, Emily?”
“Yes, me and Joseph . Takeshi has come here for the first time . ”
While saying so, she seemed to feel a bit gloomy for some reason . Guessing that she might be thinking of Alan now, Min-joon turned to Takeshi .
“Can I ask you one thing, Mr . Takeshi?”
“Of course . What is that?”
“What motivated you to participate in the Grand Chef competition?”
Min-joon came to the point instead of beating around the bush . Takeshi smiled as if he was embarrassed for a moment . Although he had lived in the United States twice as long as he did in Japan, he didn’t yet completely break away from the habit of beating around the bush instead of coming to the point, which was a typical way of the Japanese expressing their feelings to others .
Min-joon was really curious about Takeshi’s motivations . As far as he knew, he expected Takeshi wouldn’t change much from now even in the future . He would come to the Grand Chef competition several more times, but that didn’t mean he would expand his sushi restaurant, nor would he appear on other TV cuisine programs .
If so, what did Takeshi come here for? Obviously, he didn’t come here to gain fame because he already had quite a good name in the restaurant business, even though he was not widely known to the public .
“Well, I don’t know how you think, but I felt I needed to be stimulated by others . ”
“Are you sure?”
“Didn’t you see it already? Don’t you know what makes head chefs agonize over the most?”
“Lack of inspiration…” Laura muttered quietly, who was next to him .
Takeshi smiled, nodding lightly, and said, “Yes . I needed some inspiration . When I see the same kitchen family in the same restaurant all the time, I feel like I’m in a rut . So, when I was offered the invitation to the Grand Chef, I thought it would be a good adventure for me . ”
“So did you get some inspiration?”
“Of course . I gained lots of inspiration . In fact, seeing you cooking today was part of that . ”
When he said that, Kaya drank beer as if she was embarrassed .
Grinning at him, Min-joon pointed at Kaya and said, “It looks like she is more embarrassed than me . ”
“What are you talking about? I’m not embarrassed at all . ”
“Then, why are you blushing like that?”
“Because I’m drunk . Don’t you see it?”
She looked askance at him again and took the beer mug back to her mouth .
Takeshi asked Min-joon, “Then can I ask you one now?”
“Sure . What are you curious about?”
“What are your plans for the future?”
“It looks like you are asking me like a visiting counselor . ”
“I’m sorry . I’m not good at talking to people about things like this . ”
Takeshi smiled as if he was embarrassed . Min-joon pondered over his question for a moment . Even if one mapped out any plan for the future, one wouldn’t translate it into action exactly as they planned it . If a person had a dream, it was a bit different, but his or her dream was sometimes just as vague as their plan . Looking at Min-joon, who could not answer, Takeshi said quietly, muttering in a cautious voice, “The most impressive part of your cooking today is that it’s original . Of course, all dishes are basically creative, and I don’t want to deny that . But after I tried your dishes today, I could get a sense of what kind of dishes you are basically pursuing . That means you have one distinctive cooking style . So, oh, excuse me for a moment…”
Takeshi took a cup of water with a piece of lemon as if he felt very thirsty . He looked at Min-joon with his eyes twinkling with curiosity and interest, which he could not hide completely .
He continued, “So, I thought that someone who is so creative like you will never be satisfied with being someone else’s deputy . So, I’m very curious whether you are going to be the head chef of Rachel’s local branch, just like many of her students did, or you are going to start one with your own name . Are you comfortable with my question?”
“It’s okay to ask, but I am not sure whether I can answer your question . ”
Min-joon answered with a slightly embarrassed expression . In fact, he had lately been agonizing over that question quite often because someday, the moment would come when he would grow as a head chef . The moment would come when he would want to run a restaurant on his own . So, he was also curious what kind of name he would have as the sign of his restaurant .
“There are a lot of people asking me about this matter these days,” Min-joon said, smiling bitterly .
In fact, recently, June also asked him about his future . Of course, she was more concerned about whether Min-joon could stand in the way of her taking over Rachel as the general manager of Rose Island than his cooking .
That was why Min-joon was more grateful to Takeshi for his genuine interest . Perhaps, he certainly wanted to ask about it . In fact, anyone in the restaurant business was curious about it because they all heard about the rumors that Rachel already set her heart on him as her successor .
But Takeshi didn’t ask that question . Even if he asked, Min-joon couldn’t tell Takeshi about what was on his mind . Anyway, Min-joon was grateful for Takeshi being considerate enough not to ask it directly .
Min-joon said, looking at him with a more friendly expression, “Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m going to do at this point . Sometimes, I want my own restaurant, but at the same time, I sometimes feel like I want to continue to carry on the tradition of Rose Island . Even if I make up my mind now, I don’t know when and how I will change . So, for now, I just want to focus on what I can do . I mean cooking . ”
“I think your attitude like that is good . I’m sorry I asked a very sensitive question . I was suddenly curious how the rookie chefs felt about cooking . In his case, he became a chef so long ago that he could not even remember what he had felt as a rookie chef,” Takeshi said with a smile .
Emily put a piece of chocolate with a subtle salty taste in her mouth and said, “By the way, I was surprised today . I didn’t expect at all that you improved so much . I think Chef Rachel’s way of coaching you guys is great . ”
“Well, it’s needless to say that Chef Rachel is the best teacher in the world . It’s so obvious,” Min-joon said with a smile .
Watching him quietly, Kaya was fidgeting with her fingers under the table then clenched her fists . Rather than feeling inferior, she felt like she couldn’t hold back the urge to cook at the moment, which was stronger than her desire to eat, sleep, and make love . She wanted to cook something right now . So she wanted to tell Min-joon and herself that she could cook as good as him .
Kaya thought that such a desire would strongly motivate a chef to develop his or her talent . For example, when making delicious dishes, it seemed that whether or not a chef could feel the pleasure in cooking itself could affect his or her decision to use their talent .
“I think that if you want to judge whether a chef is good enough or still lacking in skills, all you have to do is hear what other chefs who taste your dish say about it . When you can earn respect from other chefs, I think you have already become a good chef . In that sense, I think today, all the participants not only showed respect for Min-joon, but also, they got hooked on his dishes . And at least for today, I want to say that I also respect Min-joon . Although Chef Rachel has helped you achieve as much as this, I would like to praise you for having come all the way up here alone,” Joseph said, looking at Min-joon with a proud expression as if he was looking at his grandchild . While Min-joon smiled at him, Brian drank up all of the strong whiskey with an uncomfortable expression .
‘Everyone is favoring him too much . ’
When he was asked to serve as a team leader at the Grand Chef for this season, Brian didn’t express his rejoice, but he was so happy that he giggled a lot under the blanket after pulling it over . He felt so proud to be chosen as a team leader for this competition, where he was once one of the participants . He felt their choice of him as a team leader proved his success .
It was his first time seeing Takeshi here, but when he saw Emily and Joseph again, he was fully expecting them to welcome and praise him for his achievement since the last Grand Chef he attended . Although he didn’t earn Michelin’s star yet, he was successfully running a big restaurant on his own .
He didn’t receive a rave review from the gourmets yet, but he thought he achieved a lot at his age and during his short career . Besides, another winner, Laura, wasn’t very different from him right now .
In fact, Joseph and Emily praised him, as he expected, saying that he was working hard .
But that was it . That was it . At that time, he didn’t take it seriously, and he didn’t feel sorry for their pleasantries because he didn’t achieve any great dish that would attract their attention .
However, Min-joon was different from him in various ways . He didn’t even run a restaurant, but with just one cooking, he not only interested but also satisfied the judges as well as others .
Of course, Brian could understand their overwhelming reaction, given his extraordinary cooking . As a chef, he also recognized that Min-joon’s cooking was really great .
What he resented was reality . He regarded the very existence of Min-joon, who got everything including even Kaya at that young age, as very unfair . It seemed that he was the center of the world here in the Grand Chef competition just a few days ago, but now he felt he was downgraded from the main actor to an extra overnight .
Joseph looked at Brian who was in agony at the moment then turned his eyes away from him . He could see clearly what Brian was thinking now because he didn’t think of hiding his frustration and disappointment at all from the beginning .