Published at 12th of December 2020 03:15:06 PM
“It looks like you guys are living a decent life . I know chefs are treated as an artist these days, but when I look at you, it’s amazing to see that you can live so freely and dramatically . ”
“I think you lived like us until last year, right? You must have toured various places as a Grand Chef . ”
“Well, after that, you are stuck in a restaurant . I can break off my daily routine by coming here this time . ”
While Kaya and Laura were chatting, Min-joon had to stand in front of the participants, showered with their compliments . When he was silently listening to their warm compliments, questions, and resolution, Jaden approached him . Then he raised his hand to silence the other participants and opened his mouth .
“Chef Min-joon . ”
“Yes . ”
“I want to be like you . ”
In fact, what Jaden said was nothing new . So, Min-joon didn’t take it seriously until he said the next thing,
“But I know I can’t because I don’t have a perfect palate or great talent . And I don’t have the same passion as you . So, start with a simple course this time . Chef Min-joon, you came third in the Grand Chef last time, right?”
“Unfortunately, yes, that’s right . ”
“So, I intend to come at least second in the contest . I’m determined to go to the finals . You can look forward to me . So, watch how much I can achieve this time . ”
At that moment, other participants stared at Jaden coldly . But Jaden smiled casually .
Min-joon said, “So, you want to surpass me because you can’t be a chef like me, right?”
“I admit your dish is really delicious . And the way you managed the people here was cool . If I was a woman, I would have had a crush on you . ”
“That sounds scary . ”
Min-joon suddenly felt goosebumps at his remarks .
But Jaden changed his expression and said seriously, “Thank you . Thanks to you, I think I have set up my goal clearly . ”
“Then, let me apologize to you in advance . ”
Jaden looked at him with his eyes wide, curious about what he had to apologize for .
Min-joon said casually, “You have a goal that you can’t achieve in your life, namely surpassing me . I know that’s impossible . ”
“Oh my God…”
Jaden looked at him as if he was at a loss for what to say . He never expected Min-joon would make such a bombshell announcement . He could understand if Kaya said so, of course . As far as he knew, Min-joon was an Asian who seemed to have realized the most common prejudice among people that Asians were humble with no air of conceit .
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I’m disappointed with you, Chef Min-joon . You were always very humble when I saw you on the TV cuisine programs”
“What did you see there?”
“Everything, including the latest episode . ”
“Well, seeing the same person often is no fun, right? You don’t like what I said to you, I guess . ”
“Well, I feel it’s quite unusual you said so . I could understand it if Kaya said so, not you . ”
“I’m not kidding . I’m never going to slow down enough to get overtaken by someone . I’m not going to rest, either . ”
“Well, let’s wait and see . Nobody knows who’s going to be the final winner . ”
Jaden looked at him with an angry look . If someone else had said that, others would have laughed it off .
However, Min-joon was different . He was always regarded as an exceptional chef wherever he went . When other participants increased their worth through the Grand Chef, he not only increased his own worth but also the popularity and reputation of the Grand Chef .
Of course, it was because the participants of Season 3 were unusually competent, compared with those in other seasons . Kaya, Anderson, Chloe, Min-joon, etc, all of them had the potential as a celebrity, let alone their cooking skills . Among them, Min-joon was uniquely attractive enough to draw the attention of people . Compared with Kaya and Anderson, who won the first and second place in the Grand Chef, and the star chef Chloe, who was also widely known to the restaurant world, Min-joon had the power to make his presence in the field stand out .
Of course, it wasn’t just his perfect palate that gave him such gravitas .
His system window was secondary . Ironically, it wasn’t because of the TV cuisine programs that people’s expectations for the Grand Chef were higher, and at the same time, their trust in the contest was also highest .
Cho Reggiano, although people didn’t look for it as fervently as they did at first, this dessert was an unforgettable name in anyone’s mind . It was never easy . No matter how famous a star was, he or she would eventually be forgotten after time had passed .
However, Min-joon’s signature dessert—Cho Reggiano—had not been removed from the menus of almost all cafes and restaurants . Besides, perhaps because of its tricky and delicate recipe, there were rumors circulating among the netizens that anybody who wanted to find out the food quality of the cafe should check whether they had Cho Reggiano on the menu . So, cafe owners had to add that dessert on the menu reluctantly .
These days there was nobody who was looking for Cho Reggiano fervently, but there were still a lot who like it . Cho Reggiano was in everybody’s life . Earning a household name like that was a more difficult task than shaking the whole of America for a moment .
So, people started to think that if Min-joon came only third in the contest, the Gran Chef winner must be more competent than they thought . And the biggest beneficiaries and victims of such speculation were the participants in the Grand Chef Season . On the one hand, they were overwhelmed by people’s expectations higher than before . On the other hand, however, they were entitled to the great honor of participating in the competition if they could advance to the finals .
Honestly, Min-joon could be arrogant if he wanted, and what he just said to Jaden was not that arrogant, given his unrivaled status at his age . He was fully qualified to make such remarks . It was the expression of his confidence in some respects .
However, Kaya was a little embarrassed, watching Min-joon interacting with Jaden because she was the one among people here who knew Min-joon the most . She had seen Min-joon showing less confidence despite his excellent cooking skills, so she often had a quarrel with him over it . That was why she found Min-joon’s aggressive attitude toward Jaden quite unfamiliar .
“It looks like both of you are taking after each other more and more,” Jaden said, smiling cynically .
Kaya responded awkwardly, trembling suddenly, “I don’t want to take after this kind of nerd . ”
“You must walk on air to receive a lot of respect from the participants . ”
Kaya grumbled while leaving the Grand Chef place .
Min-joon glanced at Kaya and said, “Are you jealous?”
“Can’t I be jealous? I’m really good at that . Didn’t you know that?”
Since she talked back so confidently, he could not respond . So, he smiled bitterly and grabbed her hand . But she looked askance at him quickly and pulled her hand out of it .
“Are you really upset?”
“Don’t tell it to me like that . ”
“I don’t think you’re upset because they follow and respect me…”
She did not answer . So, he quietly traced his memory to find out if he did something wrong .
But no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t recall anything .
She looked down at her fingers for a moment then said, looking out the window, “You know what”
“You still don’t know you’re a nerd?”
“Nope, you seem to mention it too often these days . And you are now pretty aggressive . What’s wrong with you? Just tell me what’s on your mind . ”
“That’s enough . ”
He let out a sigh to see her unusually hostile to him today . He felt frustrated rather than upset .
He knew a woman was usually reluctant to speak out what was on her mind, but as far as he knew, she was the opposite as a rule . She was not hesitant to say what she had to .
He looked at her and momentarily saw her touching her fingers .
‘Man, she is thinking of something like a ring and my proposal?’
At that moment, Emily’s face and her ring flashed in his mind . Kaya was upset with him because of that, he could understand her feelings . But there was nothing he could do for her now because he could not just pay lip service . Of course, she might feel better if he said something that she wanted to hear, but he didn’t feel up to it now .
After all, all he could do now was to divert her attention .
He opened his mouth, changing the topic .
“You know they said we’re a great couple . ”
“Yes, they did . ”
“As you know, we didn’t cook together many times . Of course, we cooked for fun at home sometimes . It seems that there are some people who are a natural match, while others are not, given that I can click with you better than my junior cook in the kitchen . ”
When he said that, she looked back at him . He quietly held her hand .
“If we can click with each other well in cooking, I think we can do in other areas too . You know what I’m talking about, right?”
“Hey, don’t beat around the bush . I can’t understand your point . I’m going to have a headache . ”
“Sometimes it’s not bad for us to have a conversation that makes us distressed . ”
“Yeah, but it’s very distressing . ”
He grabbed her hand again . This time, she didn’t pull her hand out . He groped the back of Kaya’s hand with his thumb . The back of Kaya’s hand was not as soft or rough as he thought . It wasn’t warm or cold . He pressed his thumb on it as if he did a thumbprint .
“I promise you . When we stood in the kitchen, we might have cooked something worse than we thought, but we never stopped in the middle of it . We’ll never leave the kitchen before we put the finished dish on the plate . ”
Kaya did not answer . But she bent forward then leaned on his shoulder as if falling .
Watching the safety belt on the end of her shoulder stretching and then bouncing back, he quietly stroked her head .
“I want to cook,” she muttered .
He replied, “I’ll make one for you right away . ”