Jo Minjoon’s mouth trembled. He was putting strength on it to force a smile, but in the end the only thing his face expressed was that of discouragement. Why was it that he had to face this kind of situation now that his family was here? He didn’t get the courage to look at Lee Hyeseon and Jo Ara.
Did Chloe feet like this last week? Did she confess to him while feeling like this? He felt stuffy. Emily said with a soft voice as if she wanted to console him.
“Minjoon, you have done plenty. Although you couldn’t reach victory, you can have some pride on having reached here.”
As Emily said that, she sent a glance backwards. Lee Hyeseon and Jo Ara stood up and went to Jo Minjoon. Lee Hyeseon grabbed Jo Minjoon’s shoulders and quietly said.
“I’m proud. Minjoon.”
“Just because you lost today, don’t keep that embarrassing face. I have watched you on the broadcasts until now. And I felt how much effort you poured, how much fun you were having, and what kind of talent you had. So son…”
Lee Hyeseon said with a wet voice.
“…don’t cry and lift your head, okay?”
Jo Minjoon gulped back the tears and covered his eyes with his hands. Kaya was looking at Jo Minjoon with a stifled expression. It was the first time she had seen him like that. He was an adult, and he had always appeared very mature. But that Jo Minjoon was crying right now. just like a kid that hurt his knee, immersed in pain.
If you are a person, you can cry. Even if they had a huge plate, where would a person be that lived without even shedding a single drop of tear. However she didn’t like Jo Minjoon crying. If the tears were something like the ones he shed at Rose Island, when he tried the calf cheek meat, it didn’t matter. If it was tears because he was that sad…..She didn’t want to see it.
However there was nothing Kaya could do. There was nothing between them. Suddenly, she remembered the words she had asked to Chloe. When she asked her if they would be able to keep this relation even after the competition ended, Chloe replied that it was going to be possible because it reached her heart.
‘Will it truly be enough with only that?’
If only one of them were to separate…….She felt her heart getting empty after she thought of that. Kaya placed her hand on her chest. Beyond the badge that was there, her heart was beating anxiously.
“Kaya. Anderson. Congratulations. You now became the top 2. At the same time, you became able to get up on Grand Chef’s final stage. Are you confident on being able to win?”
“Yes, I am.”
Anderson replied briefly but Kaya didn’t. Her sight was still directed towards Jo Minjoon. The cameraman smiled and placed Kaya on the screen and Jo Minjoon that was at the end of her sight.
‘It feels like I’m filming a drama.’
When the cameraman smiled flustered for nothing, Joseph raised his voice once again.
“…….Ah, yes. Did you call?”
“The finals. I asked if you were confident on winning it.”
“There are no trophies or certificates of merits on my house.”
Kaya said with a rather low voice. She looked at Anderson with cold eyes and said.
“It’s about time I got some on my shelf.”
Maybe it was consideration for the families that came a long way, but it didn’t happen that they had to return right the day after. That’s why Jo Minjoon could comfortably do the interview even on a late night. It was the first interview as a defeated.
“I don’t have any complaints about the evaluation. That was a really long winded explanation but……They could only pick the worst among the ones that all did well. Speaking about the results, it’s a simple thing. Compared to the other two, I couldn’t give them as much impression. In the end, I was lacking……..”
While he was in the middle of speaking, he ended up sighing. It wasn’t because this reality was lamenting, but because of Martin’s face.
“……..Martin, I’m begging you but please don’t smile like that. It really shows that you like this.”
“What can I do if I like it? Now I am able to formally make the proposal. I’m talking about the tasting trip. You still couldn’t make a decision?”
“Actually, I haven’t thought much about it. This competition isn’t normally that fierce to take into account that I may get eliminated.”
“Good. Then, let’s put this on hold for now. We still have a lot of time. When are you planning to return to Korea? No, do you have somewhere to stay?”
“………I wonder. I do know someone, but I don’t want to bother them. Is there a reason I need to be in the US?”
Martin smiled meaningfully. He opened his mouth.
“July 13th. Today is June 25….That’s 18 days from now on. Do you know what day it is?”
“July 13th…… Ah, it’s the day the finals will get broadcasted.”
“The finals will be broadcasted live, with a scale that’s not even comparable to the ones we had until now. We will need you on that day.”
Jo Minjoon nodded with an ‘ah’ as if he understood. He kind of guessed what he was trying to tell him. He didn’t remember that the finals were originally broadcasted live, but it did happen on the seasons that came after this one. It was probably the season with the best reactions. Jo Minjoon smirked.
“It seems like the broadcasting station is really appreciating Grand Chef.”
“……Well, you have a big part of it. Because after your absolute sense of taste, the average viewers increased some ten thousand more.”
“I don’t think that you will only call me……. Until what position is it?”
“Hoho, what are you talking about?”
At Jo Minjoon’s voice, Martin replied back with a question. Jo Minjoon looked at Martin as if he knew everything.
“I don’t think that you will call us only to cheer. Isn’t it related to the mission?”
There were no changes in Martin’s expression, but his eyes trembled for a moment. He forced to maintain the poker face, but suddenly let out a sigh and said with a voice as if he was putting down everything.
“Even if that was the case, you know that I won’t be able to reply. Fine. Even so, you will get to know this after we contact once. Top 10. Excluding the two facing on the finals and you…..Chloe, Sasha, Joanne, Ivanna, Olivia, hugo and Marco. Are these 7. They will take place on that day. I can’t tell you anymore than that. You can make guesses however you like.”
“Well, will you pay for the lodging fees?”
“I can give you the lodging and boarding fees. If perhaps you can’t get a room, I will make it so you can stay at my house, so don’t decline. This offer won’t simply be so that you can participate on one more episode. This will be one of the best chances you have on your entire life.”
Jo Minjoon, that heard these words, couldn’t quite guess what he was talking about. Martin smirked as if he was satisfied at Jo Minjoon’s complexed face.
“You told me before that our program is getting quite the love from the broadcasting station. That love, I will make you properly feel it.”
“…….Fine. Even so, there’s nothing I have to do. And the opportunity to see my other friends is also quite rare.”
“You have thought well. Then, I will talk to you about the think we were talking about. It’s about the tasting mission.”
“Tell me more about it.”
Suddenly, the voice of a really slim woman was heard. Jo Minjoon got surprised and turned to look back. Emily was looking at the both of them while standing on the door. Jo Minjoon said with a tired voice.
“Emily, you didn’t leave yet?”
“I wasn’t waiting for an explosive reaction, but you are too much. Even so, I’m still your fan.”
“Ah, that’s not it…….”
“Leave it. It was a joke. It’s fine if I butt in, right? I think that I also have some place on the thing you are talking about.”
“……Fine. Robert, bring one chair over here.”
“Is there a need to do that? There’s a seat right here.”
Emily said with a calm expression and sat next to Jo Minjoon on the empty seat of the sofa. Looking that Jo Minjoon let out a sigh as if he was tired, Martin thought. That the both of them really seemed like a playful aunt and a feisty nephew. And the ages was also similar. But of course, Emily wouldn’t agree that she was indeed an aunt.
“Minjoon. There’s no need to think for long because I have also thought for you. It will be good if you accept the tasting trip.”
“…….Emily, I will ask you honestly. Just why is it that you want to bring me to the tasting world? How much am I related to you about becoming an epicurean?”
“If you want me to tell you the reasons, there won’t be no end even if we take all the night. Do you want to hear it all?”
“I will ask you for the most important three.”
“Three things…… Only three.”
Emily grabbed her chin and fell on her thoughts. Looking at her face, it really seemed like there were a lot of things that it was difficult to only choose three among those. Only after a long while did Emily raise her head. And her face was quite serious, that wasn’t really like her.
“You are the only person in the world that can become a star epicurean.”
“……The only one? You are also a star.”
“The reason I’m a star isn’t because my sense of taste is outstanding. Actually, there will be plenty of other people that have better sense of taste than me. Even so, the reason I could become a judge on this program, well…….there isn’t even a need to hide it. It’s because I’m the heiress of Potter’s beer. The splendid life of a conglomerate, on top of that, quite good tasting abilities. I was only suitable to use my position.”
Emily added. “But of course, it would also be because of my pretty face that’s like that of an actress.” Jo Minjoon shook his head as if he was sick of it.
“Even so, I still can’t understand that I can be the only one to become a star epicurean.”
“You don’t understand? You are the only person in this world that can’t get any opinions about your sense of taste. You can feel everything that’s on a dish. With just that, if you say that a dish that doesn’t have any flavor is delicious, that will also become a delicious dish. And when people that heard of that go to that restaurant and eat the same thing, they will claim that there is a flavor they couldn’t even feel. Because with just your tongue, it can give that amount of trust. Rather than the epicureans that roamed various restaurants around the world for tens of years, they will think of your opinion to be more absolute!”
Emily said with a reddened face.
“You can buy the trust of the people easily. That’s the most difficult thing in the world, but for you it is nothing.”
“……..The second one?”
“It’s simple. I want to see just what kind of world your sense of taste is. Just like an artist is that way, epicureans may also get inspired at the tasting world of another one. Even if you eat the same food, depending on the explanation of who does it, the flavor will become completely different. I want to know and feel just how is the flavor expressed in your mouth. Because just with knowing your methods, my life will become much funnier.”
Regardless of the compliments, Jo Minjoon’s face wasn’t that bright. It rather became more hard. It was unavoidable because Jo Minjoon didn’t have that kind of sense of taste. Hence, he calmed down. Jo Minjoon said with a calm voice.
“Then what is the last reason?”
Emily replied shortly. Just like even if you said it long you wouldn’t express it all, she poured all of her feelings in that short sentence. But of course, she would have to explain it.
“The sense of taste of people are different, the likings are different, and how they feel it is also different. Those words follow in the world of tasting. Perhaps, if you can stand up an absolute standard……If you can completely differentiate the flavor that is on a dish and those that aren’t…… It wouldn’t simply be for epicureans, but the tasting standards for everyone on the world will increase. A world that has an absolute tasting theory. One that can’t be opposed and isn’t subjective. I’m talking about that kind of theory.”
Jo Minjoon shut his mouth for a moment. He wasn’t someone that could do that. Although he could pretend to have an absolute sense of taste……He couldn’t become a real one.
However he couldn’t say those words and didn’t even want to. He got greedy. If he didn’t miss this opportunity, it will become quite an experience even if he didn’t have an absolute sense of taste. The strength of the recipe will make him able to make a recipe more solidly.
Silence sat between the three people. And the one who chased it away was Jo Minjoon.
“You will regret it.”
“Having placed your expectations on me. I’m not that incredible of a person.”
Just because he wasn’t an incredible person, he wasn’t able to ignore the treasure that was shining in front of him. Jo Minjoon said. And the fish had bit the bait of the fisher.
“I will receive it. That proposal.”
Could the fish become a big one?
< Arbitration expenses (1) > End
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
PR Note: This is starting to remind me of Chuuka Ichiban and Wakakozaki… which also made me hungry
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa