“It’s already been three times, but I still can’t get used to this moment.”
“It’s understandable, because there’s no moment that gets you more nervous on moments of fruition. And i’m talking about the cases where that fruition isn’t even ours.”
At Alan’s mumbling, Joseph quietly replied. The votes of the chefs ended. What remained now was only announcing it. One of the two will be given heaven, and to the other one only a deep and heavy despair will be given as it they only got close to that heaven.
‘It would be good if they overcame it well.’
Although the lighting was shining brightly, the black countertop and the black walls were too dark to get a bright impression. However rather than the white tables, the 50 chefs that also were wearing white uniforms made this moment kind of sacred and important.
The door opened. The door, which was so big made you wonder if an elephant was going to get in, opened and through that Kaya and Anderson were opening their eyes abruptly. Facing the 50 chefs at his back, Joseph opened his mouth.
“Kaya! Anderson! Before announcing the results, I will congratulate you for a moment. But it isn’t because you climbed all the way here. It’s because no one among these 50 chefs said the word ‘terrible’ with their mouths.”
“Adding to that, it isn’t because the temperaments of the chefs that came here is nice. Because from what I know quite a few nasty people, who are worse than stinky tofu, came.”
At Alan’s words, some chefs glared at him with fierce eyes. Alan smirked and said.
“Cameramen, if you are curious about who those stinky tofu’s are, you can put the chefs that glared at me on the screen.”
“………Well, whoever those stinky tofu are, the point is this. You have managed on satisfying chefs with high standards. There was also this word among the evaluations. ‘It was a menu that could have been served in my restaurant.’ If you know the attachment a chef has on their dish, you will know how difficult it is for them to say this.”
Emily said with a voice mixed with happiness and impatience.
“Right at this moment, we feel light even when he have to eliminate one person. Because I believe that even if you get eliminated here, you didn’t do so on cooking.”
“Yes, I believe that you will become good chefs. And that you will run restaurants that won’t fall back at all compared to the ones the chefs that gathered here have.”
Kaya and Anderson just looked in front without saying anything. These two were ones that always clashed and fought, but ironically they were thinking the same thing right now. ‘I don’t want to lose at all.’ They say that you have to see things on the long run, but at least they wanted to step the furthest away.
Grand Chef’s victory. This was a shortcut which normal chefs could overcome in an instant. When they are getting recognized by chefs around the world, it would be completed in an instant using the power of the mass. But of course, it was up to themselves whether the instant made star chef could make any progress.
Most of all, the two of them had reasons. Why they couldn’t give away the victory of this competition. Just like Columbus discovered a new continent, and Amundsen (PR Note: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Amundsen) fought and reached the South Pole, they also wanted the fruits of this competition. They wanted to fill their mouths with the juices that were sweeter than honey.
And they will say that it was sweet. That it was the most beautiful flavor they have tried in their lives.
However, there was only one person that could fell that flavor. The decision of the 52 chefs and 1 epicurean will make only one king or one queen. Kaya bit her lips. At that moment, she thought of her family. And her house. And the studio used by the three people. Memories about rummaging the clothes collection box while being aware of the sights of others and talking at school as if it was a new clothe they had bought.
And the powerless mother that could do nothing while looking at that daughter. She didn’t want to live in that situation anymore. But of course, even if she couldn’t win this competition, many things would change compared to her past life. Many restaurants would want her, and if she was lucky she would get a supporter. But…… She wanted to get away of this swamp the fastest possible. She didn’t want that something was tying her legs.
Kaya clenched her pinky finger of her right hand. When she made the promise with Jo Minjoon, she had certainly received it. But she couldn’t say what she received. But it was certain that she had received something, something that made her change. She didn’t know why she felt that all of those things were filled in her pinky.
Joseph raised his voice.
“The winner received 34 votes from 54. It’s not small, but a certain champion.”
“You can add to it many qualifiers. If we were to talk about what kind of dish it was and what kind of chef it was we would be able to make 30 minutes more worth of broadcast material. But we won’t. It’s because you have plenty of worth with just being you.”
Their sights were directed to her.
“Kaya. If perhaps you become the protagonist of that honor, what will you do?”
“……..I will yell.”
“And after that?”
Kaya looked like she was thinking for a moment. And soon, she replied again with a determined face.
“I will yell even louder.”
Joseph smiled brightly.
“Then, do it. Yell. The winner of Grand Chef’s trophy of 2010 is you!”
After a while, the chefs and staff that were there all had to cover their ears.
The final ended, and at the same time, a party opened. Expressing it in Korean, would it be ‘wrap party’? At the same time it was also a place to congratulate Kaya’s victory.
Jo Minjoon wearing the tuxedo the directors gave him and he looked in the mirror. What was reflected in the mirror was himself, but what he was looking at was at the TV he saw at the waiting room. Inside the TV, the results were announced and Kaya’s image of shouting was still clear.
Why could it be? That certainly wasn’t his achievement. But even so, he felt that he had accomplished something. The one who made the step was Kaya, but he felt that he had also grown one level.
‘…..Is this indirect satisfaction?’
Jo Minjoon smirked and got out of the room. There was already a person in the hall, Anderson. A black suit as if he was going to a funeral. He was leaning on the wall while putting his hands on the pockets and staring absentmindedly at his shoes. Jo Minjoon walked in front of those shoes. Anderson slowly raised his head.
“……Ah, you came?”
“You should be thinking about many things.”
“No. I’m rather not thinking about anything.”
At Anderson’s words, Jo Minjoon stood next to him and made the same posture. And said in a quiet voice.
“Kaya was still better.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“If it was the Kaya we saw first, it would have been difficult. Because she was a troublemaker. But she grew, and jumped over the elite chef Anderson.”
Anderson looked at Jo Minjoon with a weird face. Jo Minjoon spoke as if it was insignificant.
“We can also grow. On a marathon, if you see it until the end you won’t know who will goal in.”
“Wouldn’t Kaya have already made a goal?”
“Well, in that case we can also make a goal late. Ah, really. I don’t know why I keep saying these things when I am with you. I’m sorry if I just made you feel stifled.”
“…….I can’t feel more stifled than this. In the end, reality is simple. I lost. To that annoying scumbag Newyorker.”
“Why is Kaya a scumbag? She is just a bit rough.”
“People that act that roughly are normally called scumbag.”
He didn’t have anything to say. Thinking about it, there was no need to act like Kaya’s lawyer. Jo Minjoon separated from the wall.
“Are you planning to keep being sad here? You should at least go to the party. At least drink the alcohol you like over there.”
“……..Right. Let’s go.”
Most of the chefs that were invited as special judges still remained in the party. Looking that everyone were wearing suits and dresses and laughing, you wondered if they were the same people that evaluated the dishes with a picky attitude. As soon as Jo Minjoon and Anderson got in, some chefs approached them.
“Anderson! Your food was really delicious. Although I voted for Kaya…”
“…….Then don’t say that it’s delicious.”
“No, it was. But it was less delicious compared to Kaya’s. Precisely speaking, should I say that it was boring? You are really even. You really resemble Fabio on that point….”
“Please, can you stop saying that I resemble someone? And don’t you have customers on Washington? Don’t play leisurely over here and return to work.”
“Haha, why would I raise a disciple then? I raise one to leave it to him on cases like this.”
At the reply that came naturally, Anderson let out a sigh as if it was making him tired. He had certainly heard that it was a party to relieve the stress they had accumulated until now, but he didn’t know why he felt that his head hurt more. The old man that was next to Washington glancing at Jo Minjoon coughed with an ‘ahem’ and said.
“I’m Brian Harper. I’m running ‘Big Table’ on New York. Are you that….. person who has that fucking sensitive of a tongue?”
Although it was a bit perplexing that Brian said those vulgar words calmly as if it was decent, Jo Minjoon didn’t show it on his expression. Even if people recognized him or not, there was a common point on that chefs and artists created their works. Likewise, there were also many that had a bad temperament like artists. Jo Minjoon replied with a polite voice.
“Yes. I have a bit of talent on guessing the ingredients and the recipes.”
“I saw the broadcast. But you went to East Rabbit Garden when you were at New York, huh? It would have been better eating my food rather than that bastard Jeimy.”
“Ah, I also wanted to go to Big Table. But it was really difficult to make a reservation. They say that you had to do it half a year before?”
“If that was the reason, it’s understandable. Well, we have much more reservations than Jeimy’s restaurant because it’s more delicious and more popular!”
He didn’t know why but he didn’t see Brian, who was elevating his voice proudly with rough words, in a bad way. Because him getting proud of his restaurant felt just like a father being proud of his son or grandson. He understood him, and rather felt affectionate. Jo Minjoon smiled softly.
“I will certainly go there.”
“Are you planning on stealing my recipe?”
“I will learn quite a lot.”
At Jo Minjoon’s natural reply, Braian sharpened his eyes but soon, his corner of the mouth contorted like a devil.
“Good. I’m also curious as to whether you will be able to steal my recipe or not. If you come to New York some day, contact me. If we don’t have a seat, I will even pull out a bench of the streets and make you a seat.”
“It would be my honor then.”
“Haha, maybe because you came from Asia, a young man like you really is quite well mannered. Natalia, Natalia! Come here and learn a bit. He isn’t even my disciple but he is this polite.”
“Ah, that friend still wouldn’t have been hit with a ladle by teacher! Even so, I’m the one who treats you the best?”
“When did I, with a ladle……”
Brian replied with a loud voice, but he slowly started to lower that voice. Thinking about it, he felt that it had happened some day. It was at that moment when Jo Minjoon was trying not to laugh and turned his sight. His eyes shook as if he was perplexed for a moment. He saw a dress. And it wasn’t an ordinary one. No, precisely speaking the dress itself was normal. However, the people that wore the dresses made it not look normal.
They were Kaya and Chloe. Although next to them there was also Joanne and Ivanna, the ones that got into his eyes were only those two. And it wasn’t simply because they were close. And it also wasn’t because just by wearing a dress they became beautiful like angels.
Their atmosphere became really different. Kaya looked like Chloe, and Chloe looked like Kaya. First, the clothes itself was like that. Chloe wore a black dress that showed one of her shoulders, had dense eye makeup like Kaya and spread her hair. She wore fake rubies for earrings and necklace, and on that luxuriousness it was really difficult to find the usual ordinary countryside lady on her.
On the other side, Kaya wore a bright beige one piece dress which the chest part was digged, and she didn’t even wear make up. It wasn’t that she dressed up ordinarily but, her usual rough feeling was certainly less. Jo Minjoon smirked and asked.
“Did you change concepts?”
“Kaya is the champion. Originally, champions have to look noble instead of rough. And the competitors are the ones who have to look rougher.”
Chloe smirked and said. Kaya adjusted the chest part of the dress as if it was embarrassing and asked with an uneasy voice.
“Is it weird?”
“No, it’s only unfamiliar but it’s pretty. I like it.”
Jo Minjoon hurriedly replied. As he remembered, this was the first time Kaya dressed up this smoothly. And even if he summed up the memories from returning back was like that. But of course, if he took into account what wasn’t uploaded to the internet, this would be the first time he looked at her like this. Kaya said with an embarrassed voice.
“This is too erotic. Just why did the director bastards give this to Chloe?”
“Ah, you two swapped dresses?”
“That fits me too much.”
Kaya pointed Chloe’s dress. Jo Minjoon slowly thought. ‘It doesn’t seem like it fits Chloe that much.’ Chloe blushed.
“It’s because I exercise. If you exercise, you lose weight.”
“Why are you looking me like that? Please don’t put that sorry expression. Compared to Kaya, I’m just a bit small……No, I’m just slim. But even so, I’m just average. It’s true.”
Chloe put a teary face.
“Don’t look away!”
< The winner’s scale (3) > End
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
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Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa