Published at 19th of December 2020 02:25:11 PM
Chapter 357: In the Cage (3)
“Well, to be honest, I’m in your neighborhood because I stopped by Marina del Rey on my personal business . Can I drive to your place to pick you up?”
“I guess you have to give me a ride back home later . Is it okay?”
“No problem . Can I pick you up now? It looks like it will take about 10 minutes . ”
“Sure . ”
He felt unusually tense . It’s been a long time since his relationship with Chloe got sour . He kept thinking of mending fences with her, but at the same time he almost gave it up as a bad job . So, he could not ignore the courage she plucked up to meet him today .
He was waiting outside for some time when her luxurious white coupe stopped in front of his house in no time . It was a different car from what he saw last time . Rolling down the passenger seat’s window, she slightly lowered her sunglasses and smiled at him .
“It’s been a while, Min-joon!”
“Yeah . Can I get in?”
“Of course . Just hop in!”
Min-joon got in the passenger seat . Chloe, who he saw after a long time, changed a lot . Her clothing was different, first of all . Of course, it didn’t mean she was rustic in the past, but she clearly looked like an entertainer now . She fully showed him how sophisticated she was, compared with her in the past .
But her nails belied her great looks . Her nails didn’t have the very common nail art, nor manicure . He felt relieved to confirm it . In his eyes, Chloe still had a cook’s mindset and attitude . He made a smile unwittingly because he seemed to have discovered the old Chloe that he used to know .
“Man, you always smiled at me all of a sudden like that,” she said .
“You don’t want it?”
“To be honest, I was thrilled a moment ago because of that . ”
At that moment, he got a bit nervous . Smiling gently, she shook her hand .
“Don’t be scared . I’m not going to hit on you . If I had wanted it, I would have done so a long time ago . ”
“It seems like you have changed a bit . ”
“Well, we can’t always be the same . Since I’ve been engaged in broadcasting activities, I think I’ve become a bit tough . ’
“Yeah, I think so . I can tell by your aura . ’
“What would you like to drink?”
“I don’t like caffeine . How about bubble tea?”
“Oh, I know a good bubble tea house . Let’s go there . ”
Bubble tea, often called boba in some countries, was quite popular in Korea and Canada . It was a soft drink made with tapioca pearls with a mochi-like texture . In Los Angeles, it was as popular as coffee recently .
Was it because of that? When they arrived at the bubble tea house Chloe visited, it was already fully packed . She looked at him with an embarrassed expression .
“I’m sorry . I can find vacant seats here as a rule, but not now . Shall we go somewhere else?”
“No . We can just buy and drink it inside the car . The place is not important . ”
“Oh, I’ve found a nice place . Let’s go there . ”
She snapped her fingers, then ordered bubble tea immediately . They ordered black milk tea . She smiled at him, holding the bubble tea cup .
“Let’s go . ”
“Do you know where you are going?”
“We have a clubhouse for tenants in our apartment . We can go there and drink . It’s simple, but there is a kitchen, too . So, if we’re hungry, we can cook something . It’s right over there . ”
Since she took the lead before he knew it, he just found himself nodding at her with a blank expression .
A little later, they entered the clubhouse . People inside turned their heads and looked at them for a moment, then resumed chatting . There was nothing like cheering because Chloe was a TV personality . Was it because they lived in luxurious condos? He was not sure, of course .
“What are you going to do? Are you hungry?” She asked .
“Just a little bit . Why?”
“Wait a moment . Let me bring some ingredients . ”
“You want to cook here?”
“We are cooks anyway . ”
Having said that, Chloe laughed . It’s been a while since he saw her making such a thrilled expression before his eyes . But he could not stop her .
A little later she brought a box full of ingredients, as if she was carrying a refrigerator itself, which made him so surprised . She wiped the sweat from her neck, then put her hand on her waist .
“Look . Don’t you think we can cook some nice food?”
“No problem . Shall we make each one’s dish? We don’t have to care about the main dish or appetizer . ”
“Sounds like a plan . ”
As soon as she finished talking, he began to select ingredients . What he chose was simple; Beef, mushrooms, butter and onions, flour, lemon cream, and mustard sauce, spices and seasonings .
What he did first was to slice the tenderloin a bit thicker than beef brisket . After putting flour on it, he put some olive oil on a frying pan, then added butter, chopped onions, sliced mushrooms, and put them all in the pan .
After that, he sprinkled salt and parsley to make a sauce . Then he was about to roast beef with butter in another pan when she, who was trimming dumplings, naturally opened her mouth in a tied voice .
“I’m going to stop this broadcaster job . ”
He instantly stopped moving his hand at her remarks . But he resumed moving his hand on the pan . With the beef being grilled with a savory smell, he asked, “You thought you made the right decision, right?”
“Yeah . ”
“Then I’ll support you, too,” he said curtly .
Of course, that didn’t mean he took her words lightly . She could also feel his sincerity .
She looked back at him, who was absorbed into cooking . It wasn’t because he let her words go in one ear and out the other, but because he wanted to cook the dish a little more faithfully at this moment when she wanted to stay with him .
“Can you give me some gaoliang wine?”
“Oh, okay . Here you go . ”
She picked up gaoliang wine and gave it to him . He tilted the pan to light it up . As soon as the heat went down, he added lemon cream and mustard sauce . After mixing the sauce with onions and mushrooms he made in advance, he turned off the heat . It was so easy a dish, but it really looked delicious .
“I saw you cooking sometimes, but you’ve really improved a lot, compared with you last year . ”
“Where is your dish?”
“Let me bring it soon . Please wait . ”
She stood in front of the fan again and began to focus . And he watched her cooking quietly .
What she made was steamed fish and clam . It wasn’t that strange menu . To put it precisely, it was a menu with memories . When he was working as a grand chef, one of the first dishes they cooked as a team was that dish .
“Would you try it? Chef . ”
Saying so, she picked the clams and chuckled diffidently . He put the clam in his mouth . Its soft texture stimulated his lips, teeth, tongue, and palate . Besides, the smell of soy sauce and the rich taste of the oyster sauce seemed to shout, ‘I’m Chloe Jung’s dish . I’m Chloe Jung . ’
“My cooking skills have stopped at this point for a while . ”
She spoke in a quiet voice . He swallowed the clam and listened to her quietly .
“I admit it . For the past one year when you guys have kept improving cooking skills, all I did was imitate a cook . So, from now on, I’m going to be a real cook . I want to change . I’m going to get out of my cage . That’s why I wanted to see you by all means because you already got out of your cage . ”
He did not say anything for a long time . He found it so difficult to figure out how he could comfort her . Was it because of that? What he replied, after all, was not cheering, but whining .
“Well, I haven’t yet gotten out of my cage yet . ”
“Did you say you’re still in your cage?”
She looked at him curiously, as if she could not understand his point . It was natural she was curious because in her eyes he already made a great success as a chef . Although he was in the limelight, he didn’t collapse under the weight of the overwhelming attention of the public . Besides, he didn’t walk the easy and popular path that they wanted .
When the Grand Chef season was over, he could even make a debut as a TV personality . If he had chosen that career, he would have earned much more income than now . He was the only one with a perfect palate in the world . Besides, his potential as a TV personality was much greater than hers .
Nevertheless, he chose to join Rose Island as a demi-chef . Regardless of his cooking skills, his reputation alone would have secured him the head chef position of a fine restaurant, but he didn’t . Of course, it was true that his position at Rose Island was better than the head chef of any decent restaurant . Nonetheless, it must have been very tough for him to make the decision to join Rose island as a demi chef .
At the end of the day, he made the decision . He didn’t succumb to the temptation right before his eyes . That’s why she couldn’t understand him when he said he was still in his cage .
She pointed to his dish . It was beef tenderloin with a moist white cream sauce that felt like Carbonara . When she picked it up with chopsticks, its soft texture wriggled as if it were still alive .
“Look at this . Do you think this is a dish that a chef in a cage can make?”
“It depends on which cage it is . ”
“What is your cage?”
“Rose Island . ”
At that moment, her eyebrows trembled, as if she could not understand .
She asked curiously, “Aren’t you thinking about leaving Rose Island?”
“I do not know . ”
“Why?” She asked in a subdued voice .
She thought he must have a reason for doing something . He was not the type of person who made such an important decision without thinking carefully .
He replied, “I’ve heard somebody telling me that my presence is blocking Rachel’s horizon . He told me while she was focusing on my potential, she was not focusing on her own potential . ’
When she heard that, she did not know how to reply . On the one hand, she felt envious of him, for it meant that he had the charm and talent that would make someone like Rachel Rose forget herself .
She put his dish in her mouth Chloe put Pasta alla Russa into her mouth . Mushrooms with crunchy onions melted in her mouth, along with the chewy beef . And the flavor of the lemon cream and whipped cream as well as the intense scent of gaoling wine were impressive .
How could he make her feel like she was eating Chinese food with the Italian cuisine Pasta alla Russa and gaoling wine? Aside from his fantastic cooking sense, she was bothered by the gaoling wine that he chose over other wine . Maybe he did it on purpose in consideration of her who was accustomed to Chinese cuisine .
“How considerate you are when you make food for somebody! You’ve never changed!”