Published at 16th of December 2020 11:35:04 PM
Whatever it was or whenever it came, the end of something wasn’t welcome . That was the case with Rachel and her chefs’ food truck journey . While he drove into Los Angeles through the freeway, Min-joon made a complicated expression .
Glancing at him quickly, Janet opened his mouth, “What’s that look for? Don’t you feel good?”
“I feel good, but I just feel like I’m breaking up with an old friend . We won’t have any chance to ride this food truck, right?”
“Well, I’m so happy because I don’t have to ride it anymore . It’s no fun to live in a rocking truck like this . ”
“Who would like this kind of life?” Min-joon said with a sigh .
Janet looked at him for a moment then turned her head . She could not afford to go along with his sentimental outpourings . Sometimes she thought that his sensibility was the secret of his talent, so she once coveted it, but it didn’t take long for her to get disenchanted with it .
‘If I keep taking it easy like this, I can’t survive . ’
Someone might say that a chef would be fine as long as he cooked well . Maybe that was true to some extent . But Janet didn’t want to stay in that comfort zone . She didn’t want to stop growing as the owner of a decent cookery or a restaurant with quite a few regular customers because she had ambition .
She thought that was why she was on the same page with June when she met her in New York . When other chefs commented cynically about her life by saying something like, ‘You’re too hard on yourself,’ ‘Man, she must be crazy to live like that,’ Janet thought June was cool .
Janet picked up the phone and searched for her number . She clearly saw June’s name on the contact list . At first, she wanted to send June a text message, but she could not because of her pride . She felt like sending a text to June who didn’t contact her first would be like bowing down to her .
At that moment, Maya asked curiously, “By the way, what are we going to do from now on?”
Janet glanced at her then opened her mouth in a sullen voice .
“It’s simple . You can go back to the main store of Rose Island and work at the kitchen table again . ”
“But they have not rebuilt it yet, right? Besides, we haven’t received reservations yet just in case we reopen . . ”
“I don’t think it’s bad for us to have enough time to prepare for reopening . ”
“Hmm…” Maya tilted her head with an unhappy expression .
Min-joon did not break into their conversation . When he asked Rachel about it, he felt she didn’t want to reply right away . Considering her personality, there was a possibility that she would make them curious about when the newly renovated main restaurant would open then suddenly announce the date as if she gave them a surprise gift . But he didn’t feel she was in that mood this time .
‘She seems to be worried deeply about something . ’
All he could guess was that her concern might be related to him and Kaya .
“You can see Chef Kaya back, right? Maya said jokingly as if to tease Min-joon .
Min-joon cleared his throat with an awkward expression . Since they met in Chicago, Kaya stayed with him for three more days, but in the end, she was forced to go back to Los Angeles first because of her schedule . And it took another month for him to meet Kaya in Los Angeles again .
He said, “I found out once again that a long-distance relationship is harder than I thought . ”
“But I think you like something difficult, right? For example, the dishes both of you cooked and the hot griddle food are difficult to make . Do you know how people are reacting to your dishes now?”
Funny enough, what drew people’s attention the most among all the food truck menu during the long food truck journey was none other than the hot griddle food that Kaya and Min-joon initiated . In fact, the easiest way for them to appeal to netizens was to disclose the recipe or to give it a visual splendor . And the cooking video of the two filmed by the customers was fantastic .
It wasn’t just ordinary people who admired their cooking . Even those chefs specializing in the hot griddle food praised their dishes . In fact, they were more thrilled than ordinary people because they knew better than anyone else how much concentration was needed for making such fantastic hot griddle dishes . Some of their comments on the cuisine blog read like this .
< The duo have already reached a point where they can’t be called amateurs any longer . If they can make such good dishes on the hot griddle they are not familiar with, they can make much better food on the kitchen table . >
< I don’t think Kaya and Min-joon will lag behind anybody even if they start specializing in the hot griddle food . If they seriously get down to it, they might become one of the best hot griddle chefs in Korea and even in the world . >
Some might take this kind of praise lightly, but given the fierce competition among the professional chefs, it was quite unusual . Chefs specializing in Korean, Chinese, Japanese or Western food were waging a war of nerves constantly . Even in the kitchen, they were rivaling each other for supremacy .
Despite this, they praised Kaya and Min-joon, who were outside their home turf, and some of them even extolled the potential of the two . Of course, this kind of praise could be ignored as their routine compliments, but Maya didn’t think so because she was well aware of the typical personality of the chefs . Even though they could praise somebody just perfunctorily, it was very rare for them to hang out false colors when it came to somebody else’s cooking .
‘Wow, Chef Min-joon and Chef Kaya are riding high whatever they do!’
If you’re a winner, you’ll win, as they say . It seemed that such an expression existed only for the two . Even if Rose Island went bankrupt and opened as a street food vendor, it seemed Kaya and Min-joon could get even Michelin stars there .
But right now, Min-joon wasn’t thinking about cooking at all . Actually, he was focused on meeting somebody on that day . Shortly afterward, he went to Venice St . and stood in front of a bakery . It was Lisa’s bakery .
With a broad smile, Ella ran toward him . Smiling at her, he hugged and raised her .
She hugged his neck, kissed him on his cheek, and smiled .
He said with a smile, “Ella, you gained a lot of weight . ”
“No, I haven’t gained weight . I’ve grown taller . ”
“Yeah, it’s time you grew tall every day . ”
He smiled and stroked her hair . She looked at him for a moment then buried her face in his neck again . Then, she leaned against him as a way of welcoming him back . In the meantime, Lisa came out and looked at him .
“Welcome back, Min-joon!”
“Hi, how have you been?”
“Well, I felt rather relaxed because I didn’t work at Rose Island since it was burnt down . Come on in . ”
“Thank you . ”
Min-joon instinctively lowered his head slightly . He then looked at her with an awkward expression . Lisa grinned, waving her hands .
“I understand the situation . You don’t have to feel sorry for that . ”
“Oh I see…”
“Did you see Kaya?”
“No, not yet . She is still working . I just stopped by to see Ella . ”
“I missed you, uncle, a lot,” Ella said in a stuffy voice as if trying to play the baby .
He slowly put her down on the floor . Seeing Ella, he felt that time passed like an arrow .
Ella seemed to have grown much taller but smelled of a baby on her face .
“How have you been doing, Ella?”
“I’ve been doing well . I really miss the dish you cook for me . Can’t you make one for me?”
“Hey, Ella!” Lisa called her in a harsh voice .
Ella stared at Lisa with an angry expression, pouting her lips .
“Mom always gives me bread . I want to eat something other than bread . ”
“Stop talking! I’m sorry if you say I’m feeding you with bread only…”
Lisa responded with an embarrassed voice then looked at him .
He smiled and opened his mouth .
“If you only allow me to use the kitchen, I can cook something . ”
“Man, you don’t need my permission, Chef Min-joon . I know you came to my place and cooked lots of times,” Lisa said in a hollow voice .
Baking was certainly part of cooking, so she felt it was rather ironic that he was taking over her kitchen right now . Since Ella liked his dish, though, she could not help but let him use the kitchen .
“Hey, can you cook that for me, too?”
Somebody suddenly cut in at that moment . Min-joon turned his head . Jack was already there, looking at him while he was seated in a wheelchair . At that moment, Jack seemed to have noticed him gazing at his wheelchair, so he said, waving his hands with a bitter smile, “Never mind . When you get older, people have no choice but to use this like me . By the way, please answer me . Can you cook it for me, too?”
“Of course . What do you want?”
“Well, I don’t want a dish born out of your creative idea, bold touch, and perfect ingredients . Just cook something ordinary . When you cook, just make yourself at home, thinking you are cooking for your acquaintance who wants to have a meal . ”
He felt a bit pressed by Jack’s words, but he quietly headed to the kitchen . Then he looked into the refrigerator . All that caught his eye was a few vegetables, a lamb for steak, salmon, and all kinds of cheese .
He immediately came up with a recipe . It wasn’t an incredibly great recipe, but it wasn’t good enough for home cooking .
He immediately filled a pasta pan with water, added a bit of salt, and started heating it . Then, he dipped the salmon flesh in olive oil, along with sesame seeds and starch . The dishes he was making now were two Italian dishes—salmone al sesamo and Quattro Formaggi pasta . Neither of them was that famous in Korea, but they were common in Italian homes .
Quattro Formaggi pasta was well known in America, but almone al sesamo was not .
It was a kind of tataki-style dish with salmon seasoned with olive oil and sesame seeds before grilling only its outer surface properly . It wasn’t a dish that could be very popular among people .
Quattro Formaggi pasta was a dish made by boiling four kinds of cheese with milk to make a sauce . Basically, Gorgonzola and Parmigiano Reggiano were essential, but other cheeses varied, depending on the ingredients . What Min-joon chose additionally was Swiss cheese and Gouda cheese . He felt that if the lightness of Gouda cheese and the crispy scent of Swiss cheese were added, he would make the balance of the two kinds of cheese almost perfect .