Published at 16th of December 2020 05:32:58 PM
Chapter 353: Great Duo (7)
However, Justin felt Min-joon’s calm attitude at the moment could not be cooler . In fact, there was a tangible difference in the customers’ reaction to his dish . In the past, they just admired the sophisticated and fresh taste of his dish . But now they were different . The taste was sophisticated and fresh, but at the same time, it was so rich . This was something completely different from what they used to taste before .
‘This was the best of Kaya’s cooking that I learned . ’
A smile came to Min-joon’s lips . He was happy, of course . In fact, one of the bucket lists he made when he started formally cooking was cooking right next to Kaya . Although she didn’t yet fully establish herself as a famed chef, he was satisfied with her now . It didn’t have anything to do with his feelings or reason . This was something to do with his dream .
When he cooked with Kaya, he felt himself growing more . Why did he feel so? Basically, his cooking was rooted in hers . He saw her cooking and learned from it . Discovering how she went through her life, he seriously considered pursuing his career as a chef . And he decided to devote himself to cooking .
So, there was always something similar in Min-joon and Kaya’s dishes . Their cooking propensity and direction itself might be different, but their basic cooking philosophy was similar . That was why Min-joon was sometimes ahead of Kaya in some cooking areas, sometimes he lagged behind her, and sometimes he was almost the same as her .
Interestingly, he learned something from Kaya of the future, which she herself had not yet possessed . That was why she felt somewhat weird and perplexed beyond description whenever she checked his dishes .
‘He is like a milestone that tells me where and how to go . ’
So, it wasn’t surprising at all that when they cooked together, the two clicked with each other so well beyond comparison . In some respects, they were in a relationship of a teacher and a student as well as lovers looking to their bright future as a great chef couple .
And at that moment, Maya also felt the same feelings . She felt she came to realize why Min-joon’s cooking today was different from usual . She could feel Min-joon’s influence in Kaya’s cooking today, which she didn’t notice at all in the past .
‘Is their cooking similar because they are lovers? Or is it because they have influenced each other so much?’
In fact, there was no big difference either way . What mattered was Kaya could feel his influence in her cooking while he could feel her influence in his cooking . And that kind of mutual influence brought out such a big difference in their dishes today .
Just like Justin thought, their dishes were not overwhelmingly delicious or fancy . However, something more rich and unique was added to Min-joon’s dish when Kaya cooked with him .
What Justin thought was special in the dish was nothing more than just ordinary and casual in her eyes . While they used all the luxurious ingredients and recipes, they seemed to focus on having the customers eat their meals rather than enjoying the meals . Maybe he felt like that because they offered generous servings or the plating was not that refined .
They would not have served like that in a normal restaurant, so the difference was more visible . And what mattered to the two most was the customers’ response .
‘They like our food . ’
The sound insulation of the food truck was not so good . No, no matter how good the sound insulation was, it was impossible for the two not to hear so many people talking outside . They heard the customers pouring out all kinds of praises such as ‘I was so impressed’ ‘It just melts in my mouth’ ‘So delicious’ etc, after emptying all the plates cleanly .
‘Oh, I now see why Chef Min-joon has been completely hooked on Chef Kaya,’ Maya thought to herself .
Kaya’s dish could not necessarily taste better than that of other demi-chefs like Min-joon or Anderson . But obviously, her cooking had something unique that couldn’t be compared with others . She realized the old-fashioned recipe into homemade style without degrading its quality .
At first, Maya felt rather jealous because Min-joon was her demi-chef . She even felt like Kaya “stole” him from her . However, by now, she could understand fully . The cooking skills of Kaya and Min-joon and their dishes were way beyond her imagination . Their pairing was clearly bringing out the best of their cooking skills much more than they could expect .
And it wasn’t just Maya who felt it . Among the customers were an old woman and a man with wrinkles on his face, who were chatting in a casual voice . They were Rachel and Dave .
“Well, the two are hitting it off much better than I expected,” Dave said .
“I heard that they were a good match when it came to cooking, but never did I think they were such a great one like this,” Rachel said in a pretty complicated voice .
Dave understood Rachel because Kaya and Min-joon took after the couple that he used to know a long time ago . Daniel and Rachel . The two were exactly like Min-joon and Kaya . They maintained a partnership that helped them improve each other’s skills .
Dave asked Rachel in a subtle voice, “Well, if they can make such fantastic food by pairing like that, I think it might be better for you to work in the same place . Just by being together, they might grow much faster than now . Of course, they are growing very fast even now…”
“I asked Min-joon when and where Kaya would find a job after her one-year contract with the Grand Chef was over . But it seems that she didn’t want to come back to Rose Island . ”
“Well, I understand her . As you know, the two got blamed by others for being together all the time and sharing everything . If they work in the same place like Rose Island, they might look ridiculous or funny to others . Besides, if Kaya came over here, they might suspect she landed a job here because of Min-joon . ”
“Isn’t it natural you can get hired thanks to your personal connections?”
Having said that, Dave looked down at the plate in his hand for a moment . What he tasted was a steak with garlic puree, seasoned with lots of Spanish onion stir-fry . It looked ordinary, but it was already unusual in that it was served with the garlic puree because it was really hard to find any food truck in the world that served steaks with puree .
Interestingly, Kaya and Min-joon made all these dishes neatly without making any single mistake . To be honest, Dave wasn’t confident if he could do the same when asked even now . Maybe he could try only after practicing it steadily while clicking with his partner for several days or even for weeks . It was an almost impossible request for him if he were asked to handle all these menus with only two chefs and one cook .
But Kaya and Min-joon succeeded . What was the reason? Was it because their cooking level was much higher than his? That was not true .
Rachel opened her mouth in a calm voice .
“I don’t know those guys, but the perfect match of Kaya and Min-joon is worth more than all of their talents put together . ”
“Yeah . That’s why I’m scared a bit . If I can’t hold their hands now, someday I’m going to be…”
Rachel closed her mouth . But Dave could easily guess what she was trying to say .
He said in a low voice, “If you can’t hold them, just letting go of them is sometimes the right answer . ”
“I wouldn’t have lived a life like this if I had been seeking the right answer,” she said in a self-mocking voice .
She said with her eyes sparkling, watching Kaya and Min-joon, “I want to have them . I want to embrace them in my arms . ”
Dave didn’t answer . He turned to Kaya and Min-joon, the great duo ‘gemstones’ that even the world’s top chef covet so much .
‘No, maybe they are already close to jewels, not gemstones . ’
Then who was the craftsman who had made them into jewels? Dave pondered over it seriously for a moment . Time? Had they cultivated their skills over time? But time was available to everybody, so it was not the right answer .
The most convenient answer would be their effort . But it was not the answer, either because everybody in the world made their own efforts as best as they could . Then there was only one answer left .
‘Was it luck?’
Talent, working environment, and the influence of those around them, perhaps, all these must have molded and influenced them . However, no matter how hard they tried, it was always luck that determined their basic growth potential .
Kaya and Min-joon showed talent and skills so well that it looked like they received God’s blessings or favoritism as chefs . Who could believe that the two were still young, given their masterly cooking?
So, Dave could not help but be curious whether Rachel could really have them under her wing .
Dave was a chef . Just by looking at her dishes, he could see what kind of character Kaya had, let alone Min-joon that he had already encountered several times .
Dave judged that Kaya and Min-joon could not be satisfied with working under somebody . No matter how much generous and liberal Rachel tried to be toward them, they could not be satisfied with being confined to her realm .
“So, how are you going to embrace them?”
“I don’t know . I’m going to give them all I can . If they refuse, I can’t help it, but I don’t want to imagine that . ”
“Can I tell you something honestly?”
“Don’t make me nervous . Tell me . ”
“I’ve always cheered for your greed because you had a reason for that . I felt you were cool when you tried to achieve your goal even if you didn’t have any particular reason . I can understand your greed now, but it’s not cool anymore . ”
She didn’t respond immediately . Even before Dave was done speaking, she didn’t want to make clumsy excuses first .
Dave said, “Rachel, you have achieved it by yourself until now if you want something . But I can’t really figure out what you are trying to achieve at this point . Many people say you are looking for your successor . Is that true?”
They were done ridiculously fast . In fact, in theory, it was not impossible because seven minutes was enough for them to mix and roast various ingredients on the hot griddle .
But it was really hard for only the two to finish four dishes within seven minutes . It might be possible for them to add some variants to the bulk of ingredients they already cooked . But it was amazing that they finished it while accurately dividing the space of the iron plate so as not to mix the taste of the different ingredients .
‘Even if they prepared puree or sauce in advance…’
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Chapter 352: Great Duo (6)
“I heard that the winners of each season were divided into three teams to compete for a team mission,” Kaya said .
“Really? Why did Min-joon go there? He didn’t win in the Grand Chef, right?” the black man asked .
“It seems like he just went there to see Kaya . I don’t know . I guess he loves his girlfriend very much . ”
“Who the heck is that guy anyway?”
Min-joon cleared his throat when the man made a ridiculous expression .
Kaya looked back at Min-joon with a smirk .
“Did you have a cold? Why are you clearing your throat?”
“Do not make fun of me . ”
But the man didn’t stop there . Shaking his head as if her man didn’t understand, he continued, “When I think about it, Kaya Reuters really takes after her boyfriend . I heard that the Rose Island chefs are offering this food truck service as part of their training . Then, why did she join them when she was not a Rose Island chef?”
“Well, I think it’s kind of an event . I like it because I can eat the food that Kaya and Min-joon cooks . ”
“I wonder if she can cook well . As you know, she’s been involved in various activities just like an entertainer for one year after the Grand Chef competition . She might have lost her sense of cooking . ”
“That’s bullshit! What the heck are you talking about, dude?”
“What did you say? Why are you suddenly upset with me?”
Watching her, Min-joon let out a sigh . Staring at him sharply, she took off her mask . At that moment, the black man held his breath, moaning a bit . Not only him but the others around him were also shocked to know who she was . They then covered their mouths with their hands .
‘She is Kaya Reuters!’
Obviously, they came to know the person they were facing right before their eyes was Kaya Reuters, the winner of the Grand Chef competition last year .
“Check yourself directly if I’ve lost a sense of cooking after trying my food, okay? Let me give you a refund if you don’t like it . ”
As if he was dumbfounded, the man couldn’t even answer because he never thought the woman he was speaking to was none other than Kaya Reuters . If that’s the case, the Asian man next to her must be her boyfriend . When the black man thought as far as that, he turned his eyes to Min-joon, so did those around him .
At that moment, Justin’s food truck arrived with a dull engine noise . Min-joon quickly grabbed her hand and got into the truck .
Min-joon said with a sigh, “Oh my God! How come you are getting us into trouble like this everyday?”
“That bastard has pissed me off, as you know!”
“But he didn’t say that with any malice, right?”
“I didn’t say anything malicious either . I clearly told him I would pay back the money if he couldn’t enjoy my dish . ”
“Are you serious? You’re going to give him a refund if he says your dish doesn’t taste good?”
“Nope . I’m going to kick his ass because my dish is definitely delicious . If he says it doesn’t taste good, he is really a bad guy who is lying . ”
Min-joon shook his head as if he couldn’t stop her .
Then he looked at Maya with his tranquil eyes .
“Maya, are you done setting?”
“Yup . We can just open the lids of the fans and start . Shall we?”
“Okay, Justin, you’re a cashier . Maya, you just listen to us whenever we give you instructions . Got it? If you think you want to help, you can assist us anytime . You know how to do it?”
“Sure, you can count on me . I can serve you better than you expect . ”
Maya responded with a determined voice . With Min-joon smiling at her, Justin opened the closed cover on the wall of the food truck . And at that moment, he noticed the crowds gathered around the food truck . He felt really pressured while facing dozens of customers looking at him all at once .
However, Min-joon liked that kind of pressure because he was convinced that in a few seconds, their suspicious look would turn into admiration and happiness .
While he was looking at the long lines quietly, Justin already began to receive orders and gave him the menu .
Min-joon asked, looking back at Kaya, “Shall we start?”
She nodded . She held the cooking fork and flipper in her hand then poured the ingredients onto the hot griddle . The way she did that was just routine . But she didn’t stop there . She dropped the ingredients of shrimp, sheep, pig, chicken, and fish on the grill all at once .
That shocked those customers watching her cooking . In particular, some of those who had actual experience cooking them on the grill could not believe their eyes because they knew what she was doing at the moment .
‘Can she really cook all of them alone?’
They held their breath in anticipation and astonishment, wondering if she could really do it .
She already started to cook . But she felt so sure and secure . At this moment, Kaya and Min-joon did not feel nervous at all . They felt they would not make any single mistake during the whole process of cooking four different dishes on the same grill .
‘Let me show you something, guys . ’ Kaya thought to herself .
She was also a chef . No matter what she did for the past one year, there was no change in her identity as a chef . And now was the perfect moment when she could prove her cooking skills .
Time has passed . Seven minutes later, the first several customers were served the dishes they ordered .
Now they started to check whether they could confirm her excellent cooking skills that she had shown last year at the Grand Chef .
Each of the first customers moved to a place they preferred to try the dish . A man headed to his car parked nearby, another man sat on a nearby bench and started eating right away, and others started eating, standing on the spot .
Naturally, people waiting in lines quickly cast a glance at those who already started enjoying their dishes . In fact, when a person went to a restaurant to find out whether the dish served was delicious or not, all they had to do was check the expressions of the customers who got there ahead of them and enjoyed the food .
In no time, those customers who first tried the dishes were thrown into confusion .
‘Gosh, why are they making such expressions after eating the food?’
Basically, there were no expressions on their faces, who started eating . Normally, such blank expressions would make people guess the food didn’t taste good . But that was not the case this time . If they felt the food didn’t taste good, they would stop moving their forks . Actually, they kept dipping other dishes such as fish, meat, noodles, or dumplings one after another while chewing the food .
So, at that moment, Justin had no choice but to feel weirder than ever . Compared with their cooking on normal days, there was nothing unusual with the way they cooked . Although hot griddle food was delicious as a rule, the dishes cooked by Kaya and Min-joon were the kind of marvelous food that could not be found anywhere .
But Justin felt something this time . It was hard for him to say why he felt different, but the reactions of the customers and the atmosphere of the cooking staff on the food truck were definitely different from usual .
So, he looked at Min-joon’s hands, curious about what was different, but he still didn’t feel anything special . As expected, he was faster with his hands, but it was nothing special because he had very nimble fingers in the kitchen of Rose Island . It was true that he clicked with Kaya so well when it came to cooking, so it made their cooking very effective, but that didn’t necessarily mean any change in their cooking .
Feeling like that, Justin looked at Min-joon’s face when he felt what he guessed was right .
‘Wow, it’s been a while since I saw Chef Min-joon cooking so happily . ’
Of course, it didn’t mean that Min-joon had been cooking in pain . Obviously, he was enjoying cooking because if he didn’t enjoy it, he wouldn’t be crazy about cooking like that .
However, the Min-joon that he used to know was not the same as him now . He seemed to pretend to be a monk undergoing spiritual training . Or he was not imitating such a monk . Obviously, he was very strict toward himself, so much so that he was called a perfectionist . He wasn’t simply strict . He was so hard on himself that those around him felt so stressed out while watching him .
That was why Justin felt Min-joon’s smiling so weird now because it was very rare for him to make a smile while cooking . Of course, when he came up with a good recipe, he smiled brightly and innocently like a child, but he usually didn’t smile while cooking .
Because of this, some of his colleagues felt it more stressful to work with Min-joon . For example, he was so obsessive with perfecting his dish that even fellow demi chefs were sick and tired of his perfectionist inclinations . He must have started this career because he liked cooking, but why did he choose to tax himself by trying to be a perfectionist? Why did he try to cook in pain? Justin often wondered if Min-joon could continue to pursue his career while suffering like that .
However, right now, Min-joon was so excited as to make Justin forget all the idle thoughts he was lost in a moment ago . Obviously, Min-joon didn’t lose his focus on cooking . However, he went beyond concentration and relished in full satisfaction and happiness at this moment .
‘Is it because of Chef Kaya?’
Maybe, if there was a difference between the Min-joon now and the Min-joon before the food truck service, it was Kaya joining him and cooking together with him like now .
When Justin thought about that, he had another question this time . Why was he happy like that? Was he so happy because Kaya was with her now? Or did her dish make him happy?
He found it hard to find out the answer unless he asked Min-joon directly . Maybe even Min-joon could not know the answer, either .
What was certain was that his cooking depended on his moods . Today, Justin felt like the atmosphere of Min-joon’s cooking was very different . Today’s menu was hot griddle food, and the finished dishes would be handed out from the food truck . Even if he could make the process of cooking look gorgeous, plating itself would be far from gorgeous .