The sights of the chefs got fixed on Kaya. And she looked at them as if there was a problem.
“……You are saying such a thing with such a calm expression.”
“There are lot more things being said about me, will this much be a problem?”
“Good. I like your ambition. And I also like your dish.”
He said while pointing at the langostin. Kaya smirked.
“I told you. That it was made by the chef I admire the most.”
“But that admiration, is that possible? He got eliminated earlier than you. In conclusion that means that he’s a worse cook than you…… If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to admire him.”
At those words, Kaya’s eyes became sharp.
“I don’t know about anything else, but I agree on what you said about admiring but not being better than themselves. There are teachers that even if they have good skills, they aren’t admirable at all. And there are also teachers that although they don’t have skills, they are admirable. I……..”
California glanced at New York. New York didn’t return the sight, but it could be seen that he was quite aware of it.
“Well, I have a noncommitted teacher.”
“Hey! I brought you up that didn’t even have experience and raised you well……..!”
“Why don’t I have experience? It had already been 10 years since I have washed the dishes instead of my mom.”
“So you broke the dishes like that? Originally, I shouldn’t even have given you your salary!”
“The dishes were really slippery……”
California started to eat the pure with an expression as if it was really unfair. New York frowned as if he couldn’t hold it.
Kaya quietly left the table. She didn’t know why she felt good today. Regardless of being a day that she has to be nervous more than ever, she felt peace in her heart.
In the other side, Anderson couldn’t do so. But of course, it wasn’t that he was showing his lacking side. He led the kitchen more cool headedly than ever, and there were no flaws on the food. However, you couldn’t see leisure in his face at all. Perhaps, it would be more obvious in Anderson’s situation. It was a moment where his life would be decided. It was a place that even if you wanted to feel comfortable, you couldn’t.
Anderson gave several glances to the chefs even while leading on the kitchen. He didn’t miss even one moment of their expressions of chewing the food, and the sigh like thing that came out of their mouths. It could simply had been a lump in their throat, or a sigh with disappointment in it, but he couldn’t know…… One certain thing was that every time they did that, Anderson’s heart trembled.
‘Don’t think about the competition. Concentrate on serving the customers. Concentrate, Anderson.’
However, hope and anxiousness intersected in his head. His heart pounded so much he wondered if his desire for this competition was this big. When he thought about what he would do if he got eliminated, his breath got clogged as if he had already gotten eliminated.
Ironically, the one that calmed down Anderson was Kaya. Where did she leave her usual fierce and atrocious side of her, that at sometimes she even smiled gently like Chloe and served the chefs. He got nervous by looking at that side of her.
But even if he was grumbling he that, he knew. That he had to imitate that damnable attitude. If they had to point out who was the inferior one, everyone would point at him.
Anderson bit his lips. He couldn’t fall back. It wasn’t only with Kaya, but he didn’t want to fall back to anyone. But it didn’t mean that he wanted to become the best. Because there was no best in the world of cooking. However, there were people that fell behind. He saw countless senior chefs in the restaurant of his parents getting chased out. And he wanted to evade ending up like that.
Anderson placed the roasted belly fat of a halibut and placed angel hair pasta, that was thin like thread, on top of it. Halibut flambeed with white wine and slightly smeared with lime juice. The deep aroma the belly that was next to the stomach had, and angel hair that was boiled with rosemary and slightly fried with olive oil.
The garnish was roasted peach, onions and fresh beads.Anderson placed the dishes on the table with a calm face. And started to explain it plainly.
“I smeared lime juice on the skin of the halibut, and I used the belly fat of it. For the angel hair, I boiled it along rosemaries and after that I fried it on olive oil. You will be able to feel a texture that’s like the first impression of Hong Kong.”
“So like Amelia’s son. Seeing how he plays internationally with even one dish. Just with eating this dish alone, I won’t even have to travel around the world.”
“If you only mention Amelia, Fabio will get disappointed. He just resembles Fabio on the part that he doesn’t regularly use brown sauce or white sauce, and he livens the flavor of vegetables and fruits. But why aren’t your parents here? Ah. Is it because of fairness? Or because the owner isn’t one, but two? Or California’s throne was taken away by that Natalia?”
“……….I’m not here as the son of Rousseau’s family, but like Anderson. Let’s talk about my parents after the competition ends.”
“He’s still as chilly as ever. See. He certainly resembles Amelia. No. If it was Amelia, he wouldn’t end at that? Looking at that side he may resemble Fabio…….”
Anderson forced himself to try to not to contort his face. However, on wherever table he went, the chefs shone their eyes and tried to find traces of Amelia and Fabio on him. It was tedious. He came here because the name of Anderson may get erased if he lived as their son, but now that he did come here, the shadow of his parents became larger and denser.
‘……I will certainly win.’
If he did so, it would change. He wouldn’t simply be the son of a famous couple chef, but he would be able to stand as a chef himself. That was everything Anderson wanted. Grand Chef’s prestige and the 300 thousand dollars were all secondary. Getting out of his parents shadow was the biggest homework he had hoped for all his life.
But he didn’t know if that reason of his was as earnest as Kaya’s. She lived all her life in poverty, and you wouldn’t know if she was able to properly get a ‘normal life’ people casually talked about.
But even if that was the case, he also had a reason. And also had the skills. He didn’t want to lose. Because he thought that he didn’t get pushed back in skill. And it was also him that administered the people. Because there was that thing he had seen until now. He could believe in the skills of his comrades. Although there may be some differences, in the end they were all skilled people that got in the top 10. And there wasn’t even that much of a difference when Anderson compared to her. That was what he thought and believed.
Time flowed like that. 4 hours passed.
The mealtime ended.
Waiting room. Anderson loosened the neck time of his uniform and down on the sofa as if he collapsed. An exhausted voice flowed from his throat.
“You have had it hard. Thanks.”
“You were the one that had it the hardest. Cheer up. You will be able to win.”
Anderson smiled faintly. Although he didn’t know how the results would turn out, he felt a bit more relaxed. Could it be because he felt that he had poured everything?
Kaya rested her neck on the back of the sofa and stared at the ceiling. The lamp was emitting light like usual, but she didn’t know why it felt like it was shining more than usual. She felt dizzy. Was it because she did many things in a short time? Chloe put a biscuit in Kaya’s mouth. Kaya turned her head with an absent minded expression while still having the biscuit in her mouth.
“You look like you need some sugar. Eat for now.”
“Don’t speak while having something in your mouth.”
Chloe snickered and pressed the biscuit. Kaya barely gulped it down and said.
But of course it was closer to a moan rather than words. Just how much strength did she lose that it seemed like she didn’t even have the strength to close her mouth again.
Kaya opened her mouth absent mindedly and did nothing. She really did nothing. Rolling her eyes, blinking, and she didn’t even breathe. How many seconds could she have been like that? When Chloe counted about 30 seconds inwardly, Kaya roughly took in some breaths.
“…….Are you fine?”
“Not at all. But it’s fortunate that today is the last day.”
“What are you going to do after the competition?”
“I wonder. First, I will pay the debt of my mom with the 300 thousand dollars…… And will I move to another house? But with 300 thousand dollars it would even be difficult to get a house with only one bedroom.”
“You can go to another state instead of New York. There’s also Georgia.”
“I don’t know. If my mother would want to leave New York. Although it was tedious, it’s the place that we lived almost half of our lives.”
Anderson cutted her words. He looked at Kaya as if it was nonsense.
“Why are you talking like you have certainly won?”
“When did I?”
“The moment you started to talk about the 300 thousand dollars means that you will win.”
“I don’t know. If after you win you say ’Ah, actually the genuine winner in this competition is Kaya Lotus. I will not only give the glory of this victory to Kaya Lotus, but also the prize to her.’ “
“…….Rather, the future where Alan and Emily marries each other will be more realistic.”
Kaya didn’t reply back. It seemed like all her energy depleted with copying Anderson right before. Only after a long while did Kaya speak with a split voice, like someone that sang for quite a few hours.
“I didn’t even cook but why am I this tired?”
“I’m also like that. It’s normal.”
Anderson replied with an impertinent voice. Hugo opened his voice.
“I saw an interview a chef realized a while ago. People think that the role of head chef is easy because they don’t grab the pan or knife and just have to check the dish. However leading the kitchen depletes your energy more than you think, and in your head you have to consider everything related to the kitchen. And that’s why you can’t feel comfortable…… Actually, when I became team leader, I felt the same way. So how will you feel if it’s a day like today?”
“You two have done well. You were cool.”
Jo Minjoon smiled brightly and said. It was the truth. Their looks of running towards their dreams shone. And he felt his heart getting warmer just with being able to stand together with them on the same place. But of course it wasn’t that he didn’t feel thirst. Because he was still half a step behind them. However, he believed that he would be able to catch up to them soon. No, he was determined to do so.
However there was no need to feel distressed. If he had a friend he could consider an objective, wasn’t it a blessing? But in the case he wouldn’t be able to catch up to them for all his life, interpreted in a good way, that would be a dream of chasing them for all their lives.
“I’m dying of curiousness as to what the chefs would be talking about right now.”
“They would be praising me.”
“They will. But they will praise me even more.”
Even while exhausted, Anderson and Kaya glared at each other. Jo Minjoon smiled bitterly. In the end, would there not be a gentle relationship between the two? Perhaps, he got a thought that they would live like Rachel and Serguei in mutual dislike for all their lives. It was then. A staff approached and yelled.
“The two finalists, go to the kitchen.”
Anderson replied heavily and stood up. Kaya seemed to be more exhausted rather than being nervous of the results. Jo Minjoon looked at Kaya.
“You will win.”
It was only for a moment, but Kaya’s voice sank heavily. However, that really was for only a moment, and the next instant Kaya was already up. And then started to walk. The moment the low beige shoes stepped on the next tile, Jo Minjoon unconsciously extended his leg on the crack in front of his leg.
However, as he extended his leg while sitting down, the tip of his leg just trembled at the end of the squared tile. If he didn’t get up, he wouldn’t be able to step on the tile. But now, it wasn’t the time for him nor Chloe to stand up. The only authorized ones to stand up now were Anderson and Kaya. Only they could move forward. But of course, one will end up walking even more than the other…..
‘I also have to get up.’
Jo Minjoon clenched his fists. His body felt tickly. At that moment, Chloe placed her hand above Jo Minjoon’s fist. Jo Minjoon slowly turned his head. At that short instant he wondered about taking off his hand, but looking at the smile in Chloe’s mouth, he couldn’t do so.
The reason she wrapped his fist was solely because of consideration. It was because of the usual gentleness. Shaking off her hand was the same as shaking off her consideration and gentleness. You wouldn’t know about other people, but he couldn’t do so. He was a person he couldn’t do so. Chloe opened her mouth.
“It’s not the end.”
At those words, the unexpected stifling sensation melted down in an instant. Jo Minjoon smiled as if he couldn’t cope with it. He loosened his fist. Chloe’s took off her hand, and Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Right. It’s only the start.”
< The winner’s scale (2) > End
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
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Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa