Published at 1st of January 2021 08:18:34 PM
Kaya and Min-joon walked the streets of France for a long time . They tried lots of street food and tasted French baguette here and there for some time . After all, Kaya opened her mouth as if she could not stand it anymore .
“Stop frowning like that!”
He looked back at Kaya and replied with a quiet voice, “I’ve never frowned . ”
“You’re still frowning . How come you have the nerve to lie to me?”
“It’s just because I have a lot of things on my mind . ”
“What are you thinking about? Are you wondering why you lost to him?”
“No, I’ve been thinking how I can make his recipe mine . ”
When he said that, she moved up and down her eyebrows for a moment . She could not understand how greedy he was about owning somebody else’s recipe .
She opened her mouth in a soft voice .
“Don’t you think it’s better for you to refine your recipe rather than covet someone else’s?”
“That’s my way . In other words, I want to steal the merits of the chefs around me little by little . And I brought the most from you . ”
“That’s really amazing . I wasn’t there when you started cooking in earnest . I just wonder how come you and I have so many things in common when it comes to cooking style . ”
“Well . ”
He just smiled at that .
Watching him feeling a bit relaxed, she also felt comfortable and looked around . They were now inside a famous French dessert cafe . Normally, women were the main customers here, but there were some men here, too, perhaps because this was a French cafe .
“I think Marco would have liked it here very much if he had been with us here . ”
“I guess so . He is quite busy now . ”
Anderson had suggested to Marco about the idea of pairing with him in the Paris competition . However, Marco had to refuse his offer because he was an employee at Lisa’s bakery . Of course, if he asked Lisa a favor, she would have allowed him to take vacation leave, but Marco would not want to cause any trouble by making such a request .
While he was lost in thought for a moment, a patissier approached them in person and put down the plates . Min-joon began to appreciate the plates blankly . What he ordered was millefeuille .
In French, it means a thousand folds of leaves . As the name suggests, a thousand layers of pie sheets are piled up, with fruit or cream between the pie sheets .
Along with pastries, macaroons, and baguettes, millefeuille was like the mascots of French baking . Min-joon glanced at the millefeuille while swallowing .
Then he muttered, “Aside from French cuisine, it seems that no country can surpass France in banking for hundreds of years . ”
“How can you say that even before you eat it?”
“Well, I can feel it even before you eat it . ”
He replied rather awkwardly, for he confirmed the baking score for the bread in front of him was 9 out of 10 . Given that it was basically easy to get a high score in terms of kneading the dough, fermenting, and putting it in the oven for a long time, the score was very high .
The millefeuille on the plate consisted of hazelnut custard, cream, and pie sheets . There was a cute white chocolate on top, but Min-Joon personally wondered if it was for taste or just for decoration .
In fact, it was quite tricky to taste something like millefeuille . It wasn’t possible to eat millefeuille, which was usually about 5 inches thick, in one bite, even if one’s mouth was big .
So, there are two ways people eat it .
First, one could eat by chopping it with a knife . But this was also by no means easy .
Unless one used a sharp knife, the cream or custard pressed between the pies easily came out at the moment when one pressed the pie sheets .
That was why many people choose the second method . Just pick up one of the pie sheets and dip it in the cream and eat . But Min-joon did not like this method very much .
“Oh, you are very good at cutting as a knife,” Kaya said jokingly .
“If I can’t do this, how can I cook?”
“I think it’s more tricky than trimming the ingredients for cooking . ”
In some respects, she was right . He shrugged then put the millefeuille, which was cut cutely, on the long fork blade . It was a combination of pie sheets, hazelnut custard, pie sheets then hazelnut cream, and pie sheets .
If Min-joon chose the easy way of cutting it, he could not enjoy all these flavors at once .
And that was why he took pains to cut the bread . She tapped the table in front of him with her finger . He could guess what she wanted now . He cut another piece of millefeuille and handed it to her and said, “It’s delicious . I wonder if it’s possible to get a better balance . They brought out the best taste of hazelnuts, but its sweetness isn’t that strong . ”
“Really? Let me try it . Try this macaron . ”
“Give me that yellow one . ”
“No . That’s my favorite thing . Choose another one . ”
“How about that white one?”
“That’s my second best . ”
“Just give me anything . ”
When he said that, she looked at that plate with a bit of anguish then handed him a green macaron . He bit the macaron which was neither too warm nor too cool .
And he felt it right away . ‘It’s a very well-made macaron . ’
He could feel it the moment he bit it . The crispiness on the outside and chewiness on the inside made him feel like he was eating a properly roasted medium-rare steak, and he could feel it the most when he saw its bitten section .
Most macarons were crushed, with the crumbs splattering, as soon as one bit it, but this macaron was holding all the powder firmly as if it were a little crispy rice cake .
The cream or jam put between the two macaroons, often called filling, contained apple jam . When it was served with a macaron dough that seemed to be almost jelly, he thought to himself, ‘Yeah, it’s good that I chose the second method!’
Starting off with that dessert, the two then kept trying other desserts for some time .
Passion tart made with passion fruit, chocolate mousse, financier, etc .
After all, she muttered with dejected expressions, “I just wonder how they could come up with all these recipes . ”
They hadn’t yet been to many dessert cafes in France . They just stopped by one dessert cafe with a good reputation in the neighborhood, but they were already satisfied with the quality of the desserts .
“Can we do well in the competition?”
“That’s a cooking contest, not a baking contest . And I have a reason to do well,” Min-joon said sharply . It seemed he was still upset because he lost to Dobby . In fact, Dobby’s cooking was so simple . Deep down, Min-joon thought he could be the head chef of any decent restaurant, so his pride was so hurt when he lost to Dobby .
“I won’t lose next time . ”
Kaya didn’t hate the way he spoke harshly . She wanted to see him showing such an aggressive stance sometimes . Of course, the subject of his anger was someone she didn’t expect at all, but she didn’t feel bad about it .
She said, chuckling, “You know that?”
“The prize money of the winner in this competition is roughly $1,000,000 . ”
“Really?” He looked at her blankly .
He had not tried to find it out on purpose .
Grinning at him, she said . “Let’s win and move to another house . ”
The fact that Min-joon lost to Dobby wasn’t so painful that he could not stand it .
Actually, he was used to being defeated . Although things worked out for him well, it didn’t mean he always won .
For example, at the Grand Chef competition last year, he lost to Anderson and Kaya, after all .
After that, he sometimes lost to Anderson when betting on something . Sometimes he felt he was lacking after being defeated by Anderson .
Anyway, it wasn’t just the bitter pills of defeat for him that really mattered . In hindsight, it was a draw, so it was not something like a complete defeat . And considering that Dobby was in his thirties while he was in his 20s, Min-joon could feel he did good enough .
‘The aesthetics of simplicity . ’
That was the shock that Dobby made him realize . Even if Dobby made a simple dish, he made it delicious . In fact, that was what Min-joon had been feeling all the time . He first felt it when he tried Chloe’s potato soup . When Kaya liked the dish, which seemed to be casual, Min-joon realized that cooking scores didn’t show everything about the dish .
Since then, he had gone through lots of experiences with that . When he attended the disqualifying mission, he tried to reflect the beauty of simplicity in Korean food . He also learned that the skills of master chefs in Japan and Korea could not be easily rated with their cooking scores .
So, Min-joon wanted to get hold of something invisible and something that they could not rate with cooking scores . In the past, he thought he was just busy cultivating his cooking skills only, but he didn’t think so now .
‘Maybe if I had it…’
That could pave the way for him to obtain cooking level 9 .
Come to think of it, he began to feel thrilled . He now could see the path . Then, all he had to do was just keep walking that path . As far as walking steadfastly, Min-joon was more confident than anyone else .
“Are you nervous?”
I heard Chloe asking him from the side . Min-joon glanced at her and the lost men standing behind her . They were not her party . They were the participants of the Paris International Cooking Competition . And this was the place where the preliminary contest was being held .
“Yeah, I am nervous . It’s never easy to satisfy people with different tastes . ”
“That’s what you said when you came to America . You are from Korea anyway . ”
“Yeah, you’re right . Anyway, I don’t hate this kind of tension anyway . I think I’ve been too complacent these days, so I think I had better reaffirm my original intentions on this occasion . ”
“Man, you’re tired all the time . ”
Chloe felt he was really tired in his life, but at the same time, he looked great . Min-joon never stopped working . To put it precisely, it seemed that cooking was his most interesting break .
So, she respected, or had to respect him . For Chloe, the best chef in the world or her role model was Min-joon .
At that moment, people around her began to whisper among themselves, which Chloe found was very stimulating . Some of them talked loud enough for her to overhear .
“Look over there . I hear they are the Rose Island chefs, and they are from its main restaurant . ”
“‘Then, that Asian guy over there must be that Min-joon . He made Cho Reggiano…”
“‘I’ve been interested in him since they said he had a perfect palate . I didn’t know I would see him here!”
“I heard he could be Rachel Rose’s successor . ”
“No way! How could she take that young guy as her successor when June had been aiming for it until now . ”
“But that guy made Cho Reggiano . We have to give him credit for creating such a great menu on his own . Did you hear the sales of Parmigiano Reggiano increased by 30% after they began to sell that dessert?”