Published at 1st of January 2021 08:18:16 PM
“So, did you satisfy the taste of the French chef?”
“Well, if I may say, I made the dish delicious rather than satisfying his taste . I think it was a pretty good dish . ”
“It looks like you have gained lots of confidence since the last time I saw you . Good change!”
Min-joon smiled lightly while talking to Mangil Hong over the phone .
Whenever people saw him, they said he changed a lot from what he was before or he gained lots of confidence . And he felt good about it because their reaction showed he changed .
At the same time, he felt more frustrated with what kind of person he really was in the past .
He wished he had been more assertive and proud . Of course, he knew the reason . But he felt so frustrated with his situation back then .
‘When I was 30, I didn’t have a stable job or a clear future . Besides, I didn’t have any talent or ability . How could I gain confidence in such a situation?’
He didn’t want to be foolish enough to show anybody that he tried to be pretentious .
The reason he could confidently give himself away was because he gained some confidence .
He had the confidence that he achieved something valuable enough for other chefs to covet .
He said to Mangil, “I don’t want to spend time just hanging out in France . I wish I could feel that I’ve achieved something . ”
“A foreign chef has received the most attention in the cooking contest in France? I think you have already achieved a lot by now . ”
“That’s what it means as a topic . ”
“That might be meaningful as a topic, but I want to get their recognition for my dish . ”
“Good, I like your greed like that . People are not satisfied with what they have right now . Mostly they are just happy about being complacent . Why? Because it’s tiring if they pursue more . ”
When Mangil said that, Min-joon recalled some of the chefs that he knew . When he counted the number of those chefs who slept in to a complacent comfort-zone . There weren’t many more than he thought . And he was surprised to discover it because it meant that among those numerous chefs, there were a lot of chefs around him who devoted themselves to self-development instead of being complacent .
‘I want to get at least one condition for increasing my cooking level . ’
What he knew for sure was that one of the conditions for upgrading to cooking level 9 had to do with his leadership of the kitchen staff . He needed to meet at least three conditions, but aside from meeting them, he didn’t know what these conditions were .
“I’m sorry anyway . As for the recipes that you have told me recently, I can’t give you any feedback now because I’m here in France,” he replied in a regrettable tone .
In fact, Mangil had been constantly seeking feedback from him whenever he came up with a recipe even after he left Korea some time ago .
While he was in America, Min-joon could experiment with Mangil’s recipe because there was a Korean market where he could get the ingredients . But it was impossible to get them here . There were not many Korean towns in foreign countries including France just like the Korean towns in Los Angeles .
‘In fact, if I rely on the power of the system, I can give him feedback easily . ’
However, he didn’t want to help Mangil that way because Mangil missed the essence of food by focusing on the cooking score and formalities without even seeing the system . So, he felt he had to give Mangil a piece of advice that came from his own cooking philosophy and ideas, not through the system .
In the past, Min-joon wondered how helpful his feedback would be because his cooking level was below Mangil’s, and he was also lacking a lot in non-cooking areas, compared with Mangil .
But Min-joon changed that kind of thinking a lot . He decided to believe in his own worth now . People around him value him highly . Come to think of it, it wasn’t just the power of the system that made him prove his cooking skills .
‘In some respects, I couldn’t believe in myself because of the system . ’
Whenever he relied on the system, he sometimes felt he was cheating or solving the problems with an answer sheet . But just because everyone knew how to do it, it didn’t mean they could find the answer in reality .
But Min-joon made it . By using the system, he did not disappoint people’s expectations and attention, and it wasn’t the system that made him achieve it, but his dexterity and inspiration . He could create Cho Reggiano with his own ability .
Mangil said, “Don’t say sorry . I’m rather sorry that I asked you a favor . Since you’re there for the contest, I hope you can win . ”
“I’ll do my best . ”
He hung up the phone . He looked at the screen of the phone that he temporarily turned off . In Korea, Mangil was the chef that not only those his age but those with decades of experiences wanted to see for his advice, but Min-joon was now talking with him on an equal footing . To put it precisely, it was Mangil who sought advice from him . Mangil took the trouble of calling him in Paris .
If any Korean chef saw Mangil calling this junior chef for advice, they would be shocked .
Min-joon was grateful that Mangil recognized him .
‘Yeah, let me meet his expectations . ’
With such a goal in mind, he almost realized people’s expectations for him with a perfect palate . So, he thought he could do the same in this contest . Many people thought that even if he was from the Rose Island main restaurant, it was not realistic for him to win the trophy in the competition .
But it wasn’t that unrealistic . The fact was it was just unusual . And Min-joon was already accustomed to living an unusual life .
Min-joon put his phone back in his pocket then left the employee break room and headed for the hall himself . There were several chefs chatting in groups of twos and threes when he got there, where many chefs would normally have been quite busy preparing for the opening .
The reason was simple . Min-joon sneaked up to Janet and opened his mouth .
“How’s the interview going?”
“Well, it’s going on very well . ”
“It’s nothing new . I’ve seen you guys flirting with each other so many times,” Janet replied casually .
Min-joon smiled awkwardly and turned his gaze at Angela Eve, the reporter who covered him and Kaya lots of times .
She was interviewing Kaya with a cheerful smile at the moment . It wasn’t Kaya alone that she was interviewing . Anderson and Havier, who were next to her, also commented sometimes when needed .
“Then, what has motivated you to participate in this Paris competition?”
“Because I’m bored . ”
“How come your reason is so simple?”
“Oh, it’s nothing complicated . I didn’t have a job, and Min-joon said he would fly to Paris and stay there for this competition for a few weeks . Besides, he hadn’t yet decided on his partner . So, he asked me to go with him . And he cooks best when he’s with me . ”
Kaya looked at Min-joon, turning up the corner of his mouth as if she felt satisfied . In fact, she felt good all the time when she suggested that he cooked best when he was with her, though she never expressed it openly . She really felt she and he had some special bond when it came to cooking together .
Meanwhile, Angela had no choice but to realize that what Kaya just said was beyond what an ordinary person like her could understand . Crossing the continent and competing in a famous competition like this was far from easy for an ordinary chef, but she made the decision to come here for that simple reason .
What was interesting was that the two became the eyes of a typhoon on the journey they made to the Paris contest with a light heart . Currently, the French media always mentioned the names of Min-joon and Kaya while touching about the Paris International Cooking Competition . The reason for such a wide publicity of their activities was complex . Even in France, Rose Island had a very good name . Besides, they were from its main restaurant in Los Angeles . Enzo’s reappearance in the contest also raised media attention .
“Now all the newspapers in Paris are trying to treat Chef Min-joon and Chef Enzo’s son, Chef Theo, as a rival . What do you think?”
“They are not rivals . ”
It was Anderson who answered that . He looked at Angela with his arms folded .
When Angela’s eyes turned to him, he said in a quiet voice, “Why do they think the two are rivals when they have seen each other only once? And I don’t think they are also in competition for cooking now . ”
“Well, their rivalry is possible when you think about Theo’s father . Chef Enzo suffered a painful loss to Chef Daniel in the past . And he wants to take revenge by having his son beat Min-joon in this competition . This kind of story is quite attractive . So, it’s not unusual at all that the reporters are all anxious to dig into this . ”
“Anyway, they are not rivals,” Anderson said firmly .
She just smiled rather than refuting his simple but firm anything without any explanation .
Anderson was avoiding her smiles, suggesting as if she already understood why he replied like that . At that moment, Min-joon opened his mouth .
“Angela, it’s good you are doing an interview through conversation, but we’re chefs . Aren’t you more interested in our cooking?”
“If I’m curious, will you make the dish for me?”
“I’ve never refused anyone’s request until now,” he said with a broad smile .
After all, Angela nodded, full of anticipation, and he headed straight to the kitchen counter .
Then other chefs from the Rose Island main restaurant also moved the kitchen tables and started holding the pan . They didn’t want to sit idle when he was cooking now .
In a way, it was kind of their inferiority complex . They didn’t want to show they sat idle when Min-joon, who was the most reputable among them and who achieved the best results, got down to cooking without any break . They would feel ashamed if they did .
Anyway, it was good for Angela because she could see several chefs cooking for her . Besides, she could go and take pictures .
She asked, looking at Kaya, “Kaya, you are not cooking?”
“Nope . I don’t have any recipe that comes to my mind right now . ”
“You look like an artist . If they don’t have inspiration, they don’t work, like you . ”
“But he cooks even without inspiration,” Kaya said, pointing to Min-joon .
Min-joon was now boiling water parsley in chicken broth . Then he put it in the Thermomix, along with gelatin gum as if he wanted to cook it chewy .