Published at 30th of December 2020 03:25:05 PM
“Gosh, I wonder if Dobby is a prophet…”
A few days later, the finals of the Paris International Cooking Contest began .
Kaya, entering the venue, muttered as if she could not believe it because the theme of the dish that the judges including Bastien just announced was exactly what Dobby had said .
“Today you are only given one theme . That’s just one bite of a good dish . So, bring out the beauty of one bite . It doesn’t matter what and how many ingredients you use . Of course, you have to make sure we can enjoy it with just one bite . ”
Was it because the participants were competent enough to qualify for the finals? There were a few of them embarrassed to hear the theme . Watching them discussing with their partners about the theme, Kaya looked back at Min-joon and said, “Don’t you think Dobby has placed some moles in the steering committee of this contest?”
“Hey, stop the nonsense . Think about our recipe . ”
“If we’re going to make a one-bite dish, don’t you think amuse-bouche will do?”
“If that was the case, the judges wouldn’t have called the theme just one bite . They would have rather asked us to make the amuse-bouche from the beginning . ”
“That’s right . If you think about it, they won’t eat more than one bite of whatever dish we make in the first place . Gosh, it’s a rather tough theme . ”
“You don’t have to think it’s that difficult . I guess the judges already know the answer,” he said in a relaxed voice . She thought his reply was cool, but at the same time, it sucked . She looked at him, wriggling her eyebrows with a complicated expression .
Min-joon was lost in thought for a moment . If he were a judge, how would he want the participants to interpret the theme? Reading the judges’ minds was not that easy for him because he was accustomed to taking lots of SATs during high school .
“We can cook whatever we want . ”
“Whatever we want?”
“The chefs here want to see the dishes, not our literary talent . The judges gave us such an ambiguous theme because they didn’t care about how we interpret it . It depends on us whether it’s a dish that makes them so satisfied with just one bite that they don’t want to eat anymore or whether the taste is so stimulating as to eat it again . ”
“Let’s choose to make the dish that they can be satisfied with,” she said with a firm determination .
Min-joon asked, smiling mischievously . In fact, he already knew her answer because she was always consistent as far as cooking was concerned .
“Well, we can make the judges unsatisfied with the participants’ dishes except for ours . ”
“Good, let me join hands with you . ”
“Hey, it’s not a matter of joining me or not . You also like my idea, don’t you?”
He just grinned at that . Maybe it was a chef’s choice to bring out more flavor to the dish so that they could enjoy other participants’ dishes, but sometimes it was not bad to act like a bad boy, he thought .
The participants were given only 30 minutes for the contest . So, they could not think of many options at the moment . Min-joon and Kaya began to review the dishes that would be most delicious when they took a bite of it .
“Beef isn’t bad . I mean something like greasy wagyu . Oh, I don’t know if I can find wagyu in the ingredients . ”
“How about scallops? If our dish is too oily, they might not be able to taste it properly, let alone the dish right after ours, because they have already enjoyed lots of other dishes . ”
“That’s right . So, if we cook scallops, do we have to add puree?”
“Sure, but that is not enough . Let’s add foam, too . A foam made from cumin seeds and fish broth . ”
There was not a single moment of silence between the two . When one of them opined, the other party refuted it . They then came up with a new suggestion . And when the two were done devising the recipe, they were the first to come up with it among all the participants, as always .
The judges, who stood in front of the stage, watching all the participants, were attracted to the two instantly . Min-joon and Kaya, who were feeling relatively relaxed, with their mouths shut, could not help but stand out among them .
One of the judges, an older man, said to Bastien, “They are that famous Rose Island pair, right? You said he was the star of this contest…”
“To be precise, one of them is not from Rose Island . She is a Grand Chef winner . ”
“Man, the winner of the Grand Chef usually makes big news in any country . ”
Grand Chef . At first, it was just a simple cook broadcasting show, but now it had a lot of influence among the chefs . Those chefs who won prizes in the Grand Chef contest were more popular than those who had considerable experience . Especially when the popular chefs showed the best of their cooking skills, people’s reaction was explosive .
“What an interesting pair! One is the winner of the Grand Chef contest and the other is the star of this contest!”
“What’s even more interesting is that the two have already figured out the recipe . You don’t believe their recipe will produce a dull dish, right?”
“I don’t think so . In the qualifying round the other day, they were the first to finish developing their recipe, too . And I don’t have to tell you about the final results of their dish . ”
“Yeah, this time, the foreign participants are terrific!”
The judges shook their heads as if amazed by lots of competent foreign pairs . In the meantime, the 30-minute designated time for developing the recipe was over .
Bastien cleared his voice then stood up .
“Now, we’re going to start the final contest! All the participants, please go to the pantry and prepare the ingredients now!”
As soon as he announced that, Min-joon and Kaya headed for the pantry . The ingredients they were supposed to pick up were as followed—scallops, olive oil, butter and lemon, salt, pepper, shallots and peas, milk, whipped cream, fish broth, cumin seeds and lecithin . Although there were lots of ingredients, Min-joon prepared the ingredients in an instant, as if taking care of less than half the ingredients . So much so that the French chefs next to him were so amazed by his quick hands .
“That’s the chef from Rose Island, right?”
“I guess so… Man, he is so fast picking up the ingredients . I wonder if he checked their quality . ”
“Ah, I don’t know . We can’t afford to pay attention to them . Let’s hurry up!”
After preparing the ingredients quickly, Min-joon and Kaya stood in front of the kitchen counter . What they were trying to prepare was simple . Roasted scallops added with green pea puree and cumin foam . The first thing they prepared was pea puree . He immediately trimmed shallots and handed them to her . Then he began to remove the peas from the skin .
She fried the shallots in olive oil until its color didn’t come up then added salt and milk to boil them with the peas he gave her .
“Min-joon is assisting her this time . ”
“Yeah, you’re right . He seems to have more kitchen experience than her . ”
“I think they trust each other so well . Besides, their teamwork is so fantastic . I guess it’s the power of love . ”
Since they knew it was difficult to team up well in cooking, the judges could not help but be embarrassed by the perfect teamwork of the two . And as time went by, they became more and more embarrassed .
The strength of Kaya and Min-joon was not confined to their excellent teamwork . They had talent . Kaya had the power to sense heat, while Min-joon had a sophisticated control of the kitchen staff . He was actually controlling her while assisting her . He was taking the lead when he handed the necessary ingredients to her or trimming them by himself .
Min-joon’s calculation and Kaya’s sixth sense . The secret to the best combination that could fully utilize the two was his assistance . Was it because of that? Even the chefs with decades of experience often made a mistake in this contest because they were nervous, but the two didn’t get nervous or get cold feet throughout the whole process of cooking .
“It seems like they have attended this kind of international cooking contest for many years . ”
“Stop watching that pair . You’re only talking about the two for some time . ”
“Yeah, I want to stop, but the way they cook together is so moving that I can’t take my eyes off of them . ”
As if she was deeply moved, one female judge opened her mouth with both hands clasped together . Maybe she thought the two looked cooler because they were lovers . She thought if she had a lover like Min-joon who could team up with her, she would have won a prize in the past .
Of course, it was not the female judge alone who thought like that .
‘Man, the pair instantly made the judges here their parents…’ Bastien thought .
Bastien knew that these judges didn’t show such favorable and satisfactory expressions to foreign participants, but the two were an exception .
Embarrassed by the judges’ unexpected reaction, he turned to Kaya and Min-joon .
The two were laying finely picked pea puree on a plate, placing scallops on it, then putting cumin foam next to it in the form of a beer mug . And when a leaf of greenery was put on the scallops, Bastien could not help but admire it . It was quite a beautiful plating, given they made it in only 30 minutes .
‘If it tastes even delicious, too…’
Bastien looked at other judges . Bastien sighed, watching them so happy to see the two teaming up so nicely .
‘It looks like the two might be the judges’ honorary students . ’
That was no joke . Of course, the judges wouldn’t see them as their students because they had never taught them . But it was not unreasonable for them to feel affectionate for them as if the two were their students .
It took less than a minute for Min-joon and Kaya to finish plating when they rang the bell to announce the end of the cooking time . As soon as the bell rang, Sophie, the female chef who was so pleased to see the two cooking in perfect harmony, said at the top of her voice, “Good job everyone . Please take your hands off cooking . ”
Even if she said so, some of the chefs did not stop sprinkling green onions, sesame seeds, or parsley until the end . In principle, she should stop them immediately, she didn’t bother because she knew their feelings .
“I don’t think the dishes you made today are your best . Maybe the dishes you usually make are much more refined and beautiful . So, even if your results aren’t as good as you expect, I hope you don’t lose faith in your own worth . ”
Sophie had a reason to say that . Not everyone did, but some of them bet everything on this contest . For example, there were at least five pairs who were trying to make this occasion an opportunity to regain their fame and revive their ruining restaurants .
As they were in such a desperate situation, they might just give up their cooking careers altogether if they didn’t win any prize in this contest . In fact, some of them did in the past .
“I want you to remember again that the score we are giving you today is the score for your dish . It is not the score for the path you have walked until now . ”
“Then, let us start evaluating your dishes . ”