Published at 18th of December 2020 11:30:08 PM
Chapter 359: Only Looking Ahead (1)
Since the day when he met Chloe, Min-joon has found himself thinking of one question all the time, namely, whether to get out of Rachel’s cage or not . And when he shared it with his friends, all of them reacted differently .
For example, there were some who quietly supported him like Chloe . Most of them told him that if he was agonizing over that question, he might have a reason, and that he would find the right answer like he did before .
Of course, there were some like Anderson who vehemently opposed . As soon as he heard that Min-joon was agonizing over whether to leave Rose Island or not, he became very angry . He said he could not understand why Min-joon was trying to leave for such absurd reasons, adding he could not support .
Honestly Min-joon understood his reaction . He knew well how Anderson felt about him . It was only natural that he didn’t welcome his rival and friend Min-joon’s plan to leave Rose Island suddenly .
Last but not least, there was Kaya’s response .
“Am I worried too much?” Min-joon asked .
“Don’t ask me anything like that,” she responded, grinding tomatoes in a blender with a sullen expression . Glancing at the blender that was shaking wildly in her hands, he said, “It looks like you don’t like my plan . ”
“Of course not . If you leave Rose Island, you might leave Los Angeles . If that happens, we might have long-distance relationships again . ”
At that moment, he was speechless . He had never thought about it seriously . To be honest, he avoided thinking about it because he could not know the answer even if he thought about it deeply .
At last, she stopped shaking the blender with a bitter smile and said, “It’s funny, isn’t it? I thought we could grow each other more than now . But it seems like we can’t grow bigger because we stand in the way of each other . ”
“Why are you saying that?”
“I don’t want to stand in your way . Of course, I don’t want you to stand in my way, either . But sometimes I don’t know what I should prioritize first . In other words, I just don’t know if I put my people before my work or vice versa . ”
She was then lost in thought for a moment, then continued with a smile, “It’s hard for me to judge which is right . Actually, it doesn’t matter to me whether you are with Rose Island or not . But I’m thinking of working with you . ”
“You mean working with me in the same kitchen?”
“Yeah, but I still don’t know . I can’t give you the answer confidently now . ”
Saying so, she sprinkled sugar on the thick tomato juice .
Watching it, he said with a frown, “Don’t you know that putting sugar in tomatoes destroys all nutrients?”
“What’s the point of eating healthy? If it tastes delicious, that’s enough . ”
“If you want to eat it deliciously, you can just make smoothie juice instead of putting sugar on tomatoes, right?”
“Hey, stop nagging . I’m going out for work . ”
“I have to go to work, too . Let’s get out together . ”
He took the tomato juice cup in her hand and took a sip .
Ignoring her blank expression, he said, “It’s delicious anyway . ”
Rose Island was not reopened for a long time after Min-joon and other demi chefs and cooks returned to Los Angeles . At first, they thought their rebuilt restaurant might need some additional finishing touches, but that’s not the reason . The newly rebuilt restaurant they visited several times was as good and neat as the original Rose Island .
At last, today, Rachel gathered all of them for a meeting . She called them to come downtown, not the main restaurant on Venice St . Stepping into a new building that seemed to have been built only a few years ago, Min-joon got on the elevator and pressed the top floor button . A man who was riding in the same elevator looked at him and asked hesitantly, as if to check he was Chef Min-joon .
“Aren’t you Chef Min-joon with Rose Island?”
“Oh, yes, I’m Min-joon . ”
“Wow! That rumor was correct!”
“Which rumor are you talking about?”
Min-joon looked confused at his remarks . But it was the man who was more embarrassed .
“Oh, actually, I’ve heard the rumors that the Rose Island main restaurant will be housed on the top floor of this building . ”
“Really? Are you serious?”
At that moment, Min-joon could not even control expression on his face properly . He had never heard about it . Rose Island’s main store isn’t in Venice, but it’s moving to this building? The man scratched his head, as if he was embarrassed, then said, “Now that you are making such expression, it seems the rumors are false . I thought the rumors were true because I saw you coming here . ”
“To be honest with you, I don’t know . ”
While they were chatting like that, the elevator stopped at the man’s floor . When the door opened, the man waved his hand at Min-joon, feeling sorry to get off first .
“I hope I can see you again later . ”
“See you again,” Min-joon replied with a gentle smile .
The door was closed with the man covering his smiling face, while Min-joon’s face hardened .
A little later when the elevator arrived on the rooftop, Min-joon was overwhelmed by the landscape before his eyes .
“What the heck is this…”
He felt like he was back to June’s restaurant in New York . June’s restaurant resembled the extravagant and splendid beauty of a jewel, while he felt like he was looking at a bunch of roses in this place . Even the marble tiles on the floor were like a piece of art with multiple patterns, and the various light bulbs hanging from the ceiling were so beautiful .
Although the restaurant was on the top floor of the building, its eiling was high, and the kitchen as large as a hall occupying about half the floor also caught his eye . He swallowed before he knew it .
Isaac approached him, who was still deeply impressed with the new Rose Island .
“Welcome, Min-joon . ”
“Isaac! I’m really surprised to see all this! What’s going on?”
Min-joon asked with a perplexed voice, as if he could not still believe his eyes .
But Isaac responded in a calm voice, “Go to the kitchen . Everyone is waiting for you . ”
“Isaac . Is this our new restaurant? I’ve never heard that there is such a big restaurant here…”
“Well, I think you can find the answer if you go to the kitchen . ”
Rather embarrassed by his remarks, Min-joon headed to the kitchen .
Before even entering the kitchen, he could easily see who was in the kitchen because it was literally a perfect open kitchen .
The previous Rose Island had only a large window through which they could look into, but this new kitchen was completely open to the hall, so much so that the customers could even overhear the kitchen staff talking to each other . If there was a boundary between the kitchen and the hall, it was a fairly long island and a bar table .
“Oh, you are here,” Rachel smiled at him even before he stepped in .
Flinching a bit for a moment, he slowly walked into the kitchen . All the other staff than him were already gathered there .
Rachel cleared her throat and opened her mouth .
“I think you guys have smelled a rat by now . This is the new restaurant where we will work . ”
“If you open Rose Island here, what are you going to do with our Venice branch?”
Min-joon immediately asked because he was so curious .
Actually it was a question that not only Min-joon but other staff wanted to ask .
At that moment Rachel looked down on the floor with a sad expression, then opened her mouth slowly .
“Sometimes we have to forget the past and move on . I thought now is the time . Our Venice branch is a very old one . It may have a tradition, but it lost a lot of modern edge . Besides, it had less practical use than before . So, I thought we’re going to lose the modern touch and vitality if we keep staying there . ”
Rachel spoke with a pretty heavy voice . Perhaps she was not that happy with her decision because the Venice branch carried a significant meaning for her personally .
Min-joon was aware a long time ago that the Venice branch wasn’t in a good environment .
Although it had three Michelin stars, its building was not luxurious, nor was its surroundings good . The beaches adjacent to Venice Stde were banned during the night because of gang shooting and drug addicts wandering around the streets .
The reason Rachel didn’t give it up was because she was obsessed with it, triggered by her memories of Daniel .
She continued, “In that respect, this place will be the beginning of our new transformation . ”
Min-joon’s heart was beating when he heard that . At this moment, he could completely forget any worries about whether to leave her or not .
“Yeah, she can change, too . If she can change herself, and if she can look into her own worth even if he stays with her, perhaps I won’t have any reason to leave her necessarily . ’
At this moment, he wanted to join her taking her first step toward change . He wanted to see how she would move on and develop what kind of new recipes she would develop .
So, he opened his mouth suddenly .
“Shall we cook some simple dishes?”
“You mean now?”
“Well, this is a changing moment, isn’t it? How about each of us making a dish we want? We are cooks, as you know . ”
“That’s not a bad suggestion . Okay, how about you, guys?”
With a smile she looked at everyone . And there was nobody who could say no to her smiling face .
Min-jun went straight to the refrigerator and picked some ingredients . Since the restaurant wasn’t open yet, there were not many ingredients . That’s why the ingredients he picked were very common: pork belly, ginger, garlic and leek, kelp and sake, and other seasonings .
What he was going to make now was Japanese steamed pork, namely buta no kakuni . The cooking method was simple: grill the peppered pork moderately, then boil the pork, green onions, and ginger along with the broth made by boiling kelp .
While boiling the meat, Min-joon looked around for a moment . When everyone was cooking, Raphael wasn’t cooking . He was curious why Raphael didn’t cook, but he focused on cooking again .
Buta no kakuni was a dish that took hours if it was cooked according to the original recipe . It took about an hour to boil the meat, and after that, it had to be cooked with soy sauce, sake, and sugar for about 40 minutes .
But the method Min-joon chose to shorten the cooking process was simple . He cut the meat relatively thin, and made cuts in it densely, so that the seasoning permeated well .
After boiling it like that, he topped it with mustard and made it like sushi .
The dish he made was buta no kakuni sushi .
Raphael opened his mouth with a subtle voice, watching him .
“This is an Asian way of cooking . How come you made this kind of dish on the first day here? Any reason?”