“Time is over. Hands off the plate!”
Alan shouted sharply. Jo Minjoon looked calmly at Alan. Alan looked at all 9 participants and said.
“I’ll evaluate each team separately. Chloe, Minjoon, Marco. Bring your dish over here.”
Jo Minjoon grabbed the plate that contained the soft fried tofu and walked to where Alan was. The three plates were placed. Emily looked at the dishes and confusedly, opened her mouth.
“A japanese fried tofu, along with chinese fried scallops and on top of that, biscuits…. It feels as if various cultures are mixed. But would they suit each other?”
The one who replied to that was Chloe. She had a smile that anyone who looked at her would have a good impression towards her, and said.
“I think it will. Just like our team. We are all from different cultures but are harmonious.”
“I hope so.”
After finishing her words, Emily split the tofu. The fried coating was sticked to the tofu, so even while splitting it, it didn’t seem like it will crumble. With just that, Emily seemed half satisfied. At least, she was with the tofu.
The spoon was filled with the soy sauce, and on top of that was placed the soft fried tofu. Emily, with an elegant snap, put the tofu in her mouth.
While chewing it, Emily could know. That it was well made. She didn’t feel even a little bit of oil from the tofu juices. The soy sauce felt lighter because of the lime juice, and even while eating the tofu, she felt like she was eating salad.
It was a great appetizer. At least, it was if it was an amateur that had made it. Emily savored the tofu. Saying the truth, if you made tofu well, it would be delicious. But bringing it flavor wasn’t an easy task.
With that meaning, there were no points to correct Jo Minjoon’s agedashi tofu. It wasn’t anything special, but it’s flavor was faithful to the basics. Emily evaluated like that.
And that was the same thinking Joseph and Alan had. They felt unease because lime juice was put in it, but because it was used moderately, it didn’t worsen the flavor, but became it’s aroma.
Joseph started to thing the thing he had thought many times before. That Jo Minjoon was a genius regarding on making the concept of the recipes. But it couldn’t be called outstanding. However, when transforming a recipe, there were times that it worsened or became better. However Jo Minjoon kept the basic flavor of the dish and made it better.
‘Could it be that at this young age he understood the construction of flavor?’
It wasn’t weird for Joseph to think like that. Joseph, wondering, opened his mouth.
“Minjoon. Who thought of putting in lime juice?”
“It’s something I came up with myself.”
“And you have actually tried it?”
“……Yes. Is that weird?”
Joseph didn’t reply and kept his mouth shut. It didn’t look like Jo Minjoon was lying. It meant that he did come up with that idea. And the same could be said for all of the dishes he had made before.
For him to be able to do that, he would have cooked a lot. But was that something possible? He was only in his early twenties. Even if he lived in the kitchen, it was difficult to cook that way.
Joseph, who didn’t know about the system’s help, could obviously question that. However, he couldn’t just keep thinking about it. Right at this moment, the food was getting cold, and Emily and Alan had already put a scallop in their mouths.
He couldn’t do anything about it and ate a scallop. It was delicious. Basically, it’s already a delicious dish. But the soy sauce’s softness and clean flavor felt all the more delicious after going through the throat. Their tongues, that were more sensitive than usual, could sense clearly the salty and sweet flavor of the chili oil and oyster sauce, and the softness of the scallop seemed to kiss his tongue.
It was a beautiful flavor. And it was harmonious. Joseph calmed himself and savored the flavor left in his mouth. Even after he became one of the best chefs in the world, his heart remained a pure one. What brought him to become a chef, to eat something delicious, and to want to make it.
That’s why Joseph couldn’t help but be moved by the scallops. And Emily and Alan were the same. Of course, there were some differences among them but, their impressions were softer than usual.
The last thing was the mocha biscuit. What was placed on top of the square mocha biscuit was a slightly frosted plain yogurt like a round marble ball. The mocha biscuit entered their mouths. The crunchiness, along with the spreading coffee aroma and the sour flavor of the yogurt made the mouth feel good.
It was a dish you couldn’t make without understanding the role of desserts. Even if the judges tried to be expressionless, they couldn’t help but leak a smile. Because delicious things made people smile.
Jo Minjoon looked at the smile of the judges. And he felt relieved. Marco’s mocha biscuit was 7 points. Thinking about Marco’s level 7 in bakery, although it wasn’t a failure, you couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy. Aside of the cooking score, he didn’t have confidence in the harmony of the dishes.
The tasting continued. The judges went towards Kaya’s team course meal. Kaya was in charge of the appetizer. It was a salmon tataki that only the exterior was roasted along with a salad with sour sauce. Jo Minjoon frowned.
[Salmon tataki salad]
Origins: (Too many ingredients to know)
Quality: High (Average ingredients)
Cooking score: 8/10
8 points. It was an excellent dish like Kaya. However Jo Minjoon couldn’t have a good impression towards that dish. And the judges would also be like that.
“……..Is that the appetizer?”
“Rather than appetizer it is more of an entree. It’s too heavy. I feel like that just by watching it.”
Alan was expressing exactly what Jo Minjoon was thinking. Precisely speaking, it was what everyone was thinking. Perhaps, it would be better if she had made salmon sushi. But for it to be a hot tataki. That was too heavy for it to be an appetizer.
Kaya looked at Alan without saying anything. In the end, Anderson couldn’t endure anymore and opened his mouth.
“I’m sorry. Actually…..”
“Enough. I heard from the director. You fought for the spot of the main dish? It’s good for you to fight. But do you have to influence the dish because of that?”
Alan was looking at Anderson, but his words were also directed at Kaya. Kaya frowned a little and glared at Alan. She said with her low and husky voice.
“At least eat it. It will be delicious.”
When listening to Kaya’s angry voice, only then could Jo Minjoon understand the situation. When the winner candidates Anderson and Kaya formed a team, the results were disaster. The reason was simple. The dessert was in charge another participant but, Anderson and Kaya were arguing about who would be cooking the main dish.
The results of that was Anderson making the main dish. But after that, Kaya’s dish was the problem. She made the same salmon tataki as an appetizer. You couldn’t know if it was because she lacked understanding about appetizers, or because she felt resentment towards Anderson.
But the results were what was showing right now.
“I can’t eat this dish. I think that the other judges are thinking the same thing as me.”
Alan talked like that and looked at Emily and Joseph. The both of them were silent and just nodded. Joseph said lamenting.
“Kaya, why did you cook this dish? You are someone who understands cooking. And that also means that you understand the fun of eating. This….. I can’t say that this is the entirety. I can’t even judge the taste. Rather than disappointment, it is despair. How could this…..”
Joseph couldn’t even end what he was saying and let out a sigh. Jo Minjoon just looked at that sight. Those were some really harsh words to say in front of an 8 point dish, but Jo Minjoon understood them. It was just like Joseph had said. That dish got diverted from the theme. It didn’t have consideration for the one eating it, nor was made sincerely. It was a dish filled with selfishness, and rage because the main dish was taken.
And only then could Jo Minjoon understand. Even if Kaya was a genius, she was still an 18 year old girl. That she was still an ugly duck that had yet to grow to become a swan.* She was still a girl who couldn’t even control her own emotions.
Silence filled the room. Jo Minjoon just stared at the salmon tataki salad Kaya had made. 8 points. A dish that was difficult to let it go. But at the same time, a dish that no one could place a hand on.
< Three dishes and one meal (3) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! What will happen to Kaya!? Wait for the next chapter ;)
Regulars being on: Tue, thurs, sat and sun
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled