“Chloe is somewhat strange nowadays.”
Morning. While extending her head and looking at the sides carefully, Kaya said in a voice so low it seemed she was telling an immense secret. Jo Minjoon pushed Kaya’s forehead with his finger.
“Your hair will fall in the soup.”
“So, what’s strange about Chloe?”
Kaya frowned and looked at Jo Minjoon with sharp eyes, but in the end opened her mouth. But of course, that voice was rougher than usual.
“Chloe, she seems like she’s worried about something. And she’s absent minded most of the time.”
“If it was something like that, would I have told you about it?”
Jo Minjoon just smiled brightly instead of replying. Kaya frowned.
“Why are you laughing?”
It was praiseworthy that she, who raised up a wall like that, was worrying about others first. But it was obvious that if he said that, Kaya wouldn’t admit it. Jo Minjoon turned his head with a calm face. Chloe was taking out the dumplings from the steamer in the pot for some time now. At the cooking score that could clearly be seen from far away, Jo Minjoon admired. 7 points. For a dish that was made in less than an hour, it was quite fine.
It was at that moment. Chloe exclaimed with an ‘ah’ and raised her hands in a surprised way. The pot fell to the ground and made a noisy sound. Even before Jo Minjoon could get up, Kaya stood up and walked towards Chloe. Looking at the back of her hands that became red, Kaya put on a painful expression even if she wasn’t the one that got injured.
“Ah, why are you getting burnt and such!”?
“I knew this was going to happen when you were absent minded. Keep washing with cold water. I will bring some medicine.”
“What are you going to do if a scar remains in the hands of a girl? You are different than me.”
Kaya talked like that and went to find the first aid kit with a serious face. Jo Minjoon, that was just looking at the situation, repeated Kaya’s last words with a sad face. ‘I’m different than you.’
Thinking about her past, those words were understandable. Kaya couldn’t live a normal life. As a girl, as a student, and as the daughter of a family. When girls her age were applying lipstick on her lips, she stained her face with dust; and when other’s sprayed perfume, she had to work in the market all day until the fishy smell stained her.
However, the problem was in what she had said before that: ‘What are you going to do if a scar remains in the hands of a girl. I’m different than you.’ He was stifled by her attitude that it was obvious that she could get some injuries. She was a girl herself. He felt bad that she took for granted that it was obvious that she didn’t have any importance or that her life didn’t have any value.
Jo Minjoon approached Chloe. Chloe smiled awkwardly while washing her hand with cold water.
“Ugh, so embarrassing. To make a mistake in these kind of things, I’m a failure as a chef.”
“No. Perhaps, I won’t even have to apply medicine.”
“…….Are you worried about me”
“Then, shouldn’t I for a friend.”
At his words, Chloe didn’t reply anything and smiled faintly. Why could it be? That the moment she smiled, her face was still dark. He kept remembering what Kaya had told him. That she was worried about something. And he also remembered the advice, but not the advice she asked him.
At that time, the only thing Jo Minjoon could do to Chloe, who was wondering about her path, was a sloppy consolation. He wondered if something would change if he talked about the same things as that day, but even so, Jo Minjoon opened his mouth. He could only do so.
“The thing at that time, are you still worried about that?”
At that moment, Chloe could only get perplexed as to what Jo Minjoon was asking her. She couldn’t understand as to when he was referring to when he said ‘at that time’. And she realized only after a long while. The day she made something like a discussion about cooking. And thinking about it, Jo Minjoon was also affectionate that day.
Chloe put strength on the corner of her mouth. However, thinking about that day, she unconsciously smiled. The smile she was holding down until now, forced the corner of her mouth to raise. Chloe coughed and removed her smile. She was somewhat embarrassed at herself laughing right now.
“It’s nothing like that. I’m just absent minded nowadays.”
“…….I will first clean it up. Keep washing your hand.”
Jo Minjoon picked up the pot that fell to the ground. Chloe glanced at the insides of the pot. Fortunately, the dumplings that were on the steamer didn’t crumble much.
“I will be able to eat it.”
“I’m a chef first.”
Chloe talked like that and smiled bitterly. A lovely, but a worried smile appeared in her face. Jo Minjoon let out a sigh.
“Is it something difficult to tell me?”
Chloe didn’t reply. But that rather became the answer. Jo Minjoon didn’t ask more and shut his mouth. Chloe looked at Jo Minjoon with complicated eyes and slowly opened her mouth.
“How are you doing with Kaya?”
“Well, it’s the same meaning as what the others ask.”
She hides the crude truth behind the joking tone of voice. Chloe tried to say it in a non-important voice, the most she could. And there was even a smile in her face. So fortunately, it seemed that Jo Minjoon didn’t notice the special secret.
“……..You know that it isn’t it. Why are you acting like this now?”
“I even thought that you were nothing, but nowadays even I don’t know well. Ey, don’t look at me with those eyes. Honestly, do you know that you got a lot closer? I can only get confused.”
At Chloe’s words, Jo Minjoon couldn’t find any words to refute her back. Actually, Chloe’s words wasn’t pushing it. Because there were scenes that even he admitted that they looked excessively close in the broadcast, and in the edited videos. Chloe just looked at Jo Minjoon and said.
“Are you affirming it? That you….. Don’t think about Kaya like that.”
“It is true that I admire her.”
Jo Minjoon replied with a plain voice. However, the nuance for the word admire was rather vague. Chloe’s smile became dull.
“If you only admire her, then how does she think about you?”
How Kaya thinks of him? There was no time he could properly think about that question. Kaya was approaching them. She opened the first aid kit and frowned like Popeye.
“Look, it became this red. What are you fine about?”
“Kaya, wait. It’s better to apply some medicine after the heat disperses a little.”
Kaya, that was taking out the medicine, lowered her arm at Jo Minjoon’s voice. Kaya looked at Chloe’s hand and said as if she was just throwing it.
“Ah, I met Martin in the way.”
“Yes. He said that the mission will start soon.”
“What, so suddenly? When is soon?”
“You guys are excellent.”
Lunch. Those were the words Joseph said while having the 8 participants that were hungry in front of him. When the participants just smiled awkwardly at that sudden compliment, Joseph continued speaking.
“Perhaps, you can think of it as a formal congratulations. However, it isn’t it. You are certainly excellent compared to the previous seasons.”
“Joseph is right. Because you present only good dishes, we couldn’t not work hard. I’m talking about the mission that will fill this kitchen with proper grief.”
At Alan’s meaningful words, some trembled. Even listening to him made them feel nervous. They were the best 8. They were confident on whatever theme or ingredient appeared. But the important point was that the judges also knew that.
A mission that would be hard to chase even if it were them. What could that mission be? Jo Minjoon thought for a moment, but he couldn’t think of anything. In his head, there was no memory related to this at all.
While they were looking at Alan’s lips with nervous eyes, Alan smiled and looked at Emily. Emily smiled brightly. They thought that it was a really fresh smile, but looking at it in this situation, for some reason they felt it to be hateful.
“Perhaps, there are some ingredients you didn’t eat. And the staff had also suffered quite a bit acquiring the rarest ingredients. And they got a total of three ingredients. Yes, these will be the ingredients you will handle.”
Emily talked like that and pointed to the table that was in front of the judges. There were 8 boxes placed on it.
‘There are different ingredients in each of those boxes…….’
Jo Minjoon’s gaze grew sharper. But of course, just because it grew sharper, he couldn’t see through the contents of the box. You wouldn’t know if an alarm window appeared, but it was impossible with his eyes. There was no meaning if it was hidden like that. It was at that moment. Alan opened his mouth suddenly.
“I will reveal the first ingredient.”
The moment Alan opened the box, everyone’s faces became contorted. And some even wanted to throw up. Because the ingredient in the box was too shocking. It was the same for Jo Minjoon. He just looked to the front with a stupid face. He had never guessed that they would bring an ingredient like that. Alan raised the corner of his mouth in a satisfactory way looking at their reactions.
“It’s calf brain! It’s an ingredient that lets you directly feel the taste of French people. And I think that most of you wouldn’t even have eaten it.”
Calf brain. It did appear in some French restaurants, but if you weren’t a considerable epicurean, it was a dish that you couldn’t even bring to your mouth because of the repulsiveness. There would be some people that think that it’s the same meat, but normally, you got a disgusting feeling when they told you that it was brain.
But fortunately, the next ingredients were less shocking compared to calf brain. Truffle, it was also called as songreo mushroom (송로버섯) and it was one of the three delicacies in the world. But of course, excluding Japan and Korea, there would be no countries that reckon something like three delicacies in the world, but even so it wasn’t an ingredient that didn’t have value. And just looking at that value made you feel the worth of the truffle. And it was certainly an ingredient they wouldn’t have handled. Because even Jo Minjoon had used something like truffle oil for things related to truffle.
There were no easy ingredients. Because continued by truffle, appeared things like shark fin, deer liver, sea anemone, etc. But fortunately, the next two ingredients weren’t so bad for Jo Minjoon. Octopus and cow tripe. Octopus wasn’t an ingredient that was looked for that much in the west, but that wasn’t the case in Korea. And it was the same for cow tripe. How many restaurants were in Korea that only made grilled intestines?
But the last ingredient made them wake up when they were getting relaxed. At first, Jo Minjoon thought that it was sausage. But it wasn’t it. Because if it was sausage, there was no way that it would give that horrible feeling. Emily said with an embarrassed expression.
“The last ingredient is cow phallus. It’s not an ingredient that’s looked for much, but the strong aroma is quite charming……… ah, for some reason I feel that you are looking at me as a savage.”
“You will each be in charge of one these 8 ingredients. I’m talking about choosing the ingredients with the boxes hiding it. Only, the winner of the last mission will be able to choose the ingredient. Minjoon. Is there an ingredient you want?”
“…….At least, I don’t think that I will choose three ingredients.”
Sea anemone, calf brain, and cow phallus were things that you didn’t know how to cook it as much as the looks shocked you. There were two things Jo Minjoon was attracted to. Octopus and cow tripe. It could be said that he was quite familiar to it.
He didn’t take long to think. Jo Minjoon said with a determined voice.
“I have decided.”
< The unfamiliar one (1) > End