It was obvious but there was no way the man hit him. But of course, even if that was the case it wasn’t that he had apologized. He mumbled something by himself and disappeared on the crowd. Jo Minjoon sighed. Normally, he wouldn’t butt in like this, but he couldn’t forgive people that blamed a fine dish at all. It was something that shouldn’t be done. Because he was a chef.
“……I do understand you but it was too reckless.”
Emily talked like that. Jo Minjoon said with a relieved voice.
“I know. I really thought I would get hit.”
“If that man was even a bit more stupid you would have. What if you hurt your hand like that?”
“I will reflect on it.”
And like that, a conversation was held between the two. The owner of the store which the man picked a fight with approached them and gave them two chicken kochis. He smiled with a wrinkled face.
“Thank you. This present.”
Jo Minjoon received the kochi. And the other one went to Emily’s hand. Maybe it was because of the short english of the store owner, but he didn’t say anymore and returned. Jo Minjoon smirked and said.
“Even so, we earned some kochis. Discussing for five minutes and earning 2 kochis seems quite the business.”
Emily smiled as if she was out of words and took a bite on the kochi. And soon, frowned.
“It’s fine. He made that scandal with this?”
“How is it? Do you still think that I butted in for nothing?”
“……half and half.”
It was when she talked like that and almost ate all the kochi. The PD approached and gave them two notes. It seems like they had also calculated the two kochis they ate. Emily asked in a calm voice.
“What were the hints until now?”
“Sea. Building. Somewhere we know. These three. And we have one more now. On my note there is a ‘expensive’ written. How about you, Emily?”
“Mine says peak…… Ah!”
Emily exclaimed. Jo Minjoon didn’t, but it seemed like he also knew where the hint was directing to. He opened his mouth and yelled.
“I was thinking the same thing!”
The only place that was expensive, a building situated on the sea and on the peak. There was only the penthouse Martin had talked about. Emily grabbed her head and said.
“Ugh. Even since it said that it was somewhere we knew I should have realized. How many places do I know in Thailand?”
“How should we go? It should be by taxi, right?”
“I would like to go with a rickshaw, but we are too short on time to chase romanticism. Anderson’s team wouldn’t have found it, right?”
“We don’t know. Let’s go quickly.”
Jo Minjoon urged Emily with a hurried face. They didn’t know what was this for him to be acting like this, but regardless of the penthouse, he felt a sense of competition. Looking at him that vaguely seemed like a kid, Emily thought.
‘He is indeed young.’
To be able to put passion in even small things like that. If Jo Minjoon heard it, it was something he wouldn’t like, but she thought that he was cute.
As they drove with the taxi for quite a distance, they could see the residential complex apartment. They got fed up of that height and width, and as they got in the hall Emily opened her mouth.
“As I know this penthouse hasn’t been sold for almost 6 years. Because it’s too expensive.”
“Then who has it right now?”
“The royal family.”
“Wow, It seems like they are really rich.”
“It’s true that they have a lot of money, but in the first place it isn’t that they bought it. As it didn’t sell, let’s offer this building to the royal family and raise it more luxuriously. They calculated like that. Think about it. If the people upstairs, no, if the king of this country was living in the same apartment as you. No, even if he wasn’t living but you were still in their house, wouldn’t you feel proud?”
It was a convincing story. Jo Minjoon, that was listening calmly, opened his eyes with doubts.
“Wait. Then the royalty provided us with a lodging?”
“That’s why I got surprised. Actually, I did hear that when national guests came, they lent it to them, but it was difficult to get in here when I last came here. Certainly……..”
“Wouldn’t it be because of Rachel? I wouldn’t know about young people, but at least 10 years ago Rachel Rose was really a living legend. Precisely speaking, it was from when she ran Rose Island with her husband.”
Every time he heard this he got curious. Just how amazing was Rachel’s husband? Even if he searched in the internet not many things appeared, maybe because it was before it got more active. Only information about epicureans reflecting on him all the time was all he could find.
As they got in the elevator, as there were many floors, there were also many buttons. When they placed the highest ‘83’rd floor Emily smiled brightly.
“I would be able to erase one thing from my bucket lists.”
“Is this place that amazing?”
“The most expensive things in the world can’t always be obtained with money. The penthouse we are right now is just like that.”
“We should express our thanks to Rachel.”
“You should know how precious the treasure you have is. Minjoon. Rachel’s interest can’t be obtained solely with effort.”
“I know. Sometimes I get stomach aches because the expectation is too big……I will have to see it off. That expectation. For her, and for me.”
“Is it because it’s in front of the camera? That line feels quite tickly.”
“Is it that noticeable?”
Jo Minjoon smiled teasingly. The elevator stopped. The door that got plated in gold opened and what was seen next was a room with a cozy atmosphere. A room that only had a door and the elevator between. It felt like one kind of elevator. The moment the cameramen and the PD entered together to the room, the door opened abruptly and Martin appeared.
“Congratulations! Emily, Minjoon. You got the answer.”
“We are the first, right? Huh?”
Emily asked in a careful voice. Jo Minjoon just laughed at that look. Once, she was a judge that teased the participants but now she was the same as him that only stared at Martin’s mouth. Martin didn’t reply and pointed at the door.
“Ey. Why are you like this again? Acting all scary. We won, right?”
Martin replied with a smile. In the end Emily and Jo Minjoon got inside and it was at that moment. Their mouths opened up naturally. There was nothing to say about the width, and the ceiling was also really high.
On the marbled floor, there were white furnitures placed, and through the glass that was placed instead of walls, you could clearly see Pattaya’s scenery. Below the buildings lit with yellow and white lights, the lights of the cars were moving slowly like a swarm of bees.
This is why they wondered why the penthouse was the symbol for romanticism. It was when Jo Minjoon was slowly getting drunk under those flowing lights. An old voice and without weight was heard.
“Huhu, it seems like that old hag Rachel was late.”
Jo Minjoon turned his body. And as he did so, after he saw an old man he was about to unconsciously bent down and stopped. Could he be in his seventies. Originally, he would show a courteous attitude, but this wasn’t Korea.
“Uh……Are you perhaps the new person?”
“Right. And you will be that famous Jo Minjoon?”
“I’m Jeremy Bennett. I’m an epicurean. It seems like it’s the first time meeting the one next to you.”
“Ah, it’s Emily Potter. I did hear some things about you. But are you perhaps….. The one they say is my friend?”
Doubt appeared on Emily’s eyes. She did hear the name Jeremy Bennett, but she couldn’t say that she was acquaintanced to him. Jeremy slowly shook his head and said.
“No. Your lady friend was here until now…..Did she go to the bathroom?”
“Lady? She’s a woman?”
“Yes. And quite a young one.”
Emily put an even more confused face. There were no more people that she could guess. But at that moment, a door from a side opened with a click and sounds of the high heel was heard. At that moment, the heads of the three of them turned side by side. And at that instant, Jo Minjoon got surprised. It wasn’t because of her clothes which the part of the chest was deep. It was because of the feeling.
‘She feels like Kaya.’
It wasn’t that she looked like her. Compared to her she looked less fierce, and she was a woman that gave a strong feeling she was from South America. If he were to say the things that resembled her it would only be her black hair and the blue eyes. But the dangerous and harsh charm that emanated from her body made him think of Kaya.
In the other side, Emily was feeling a completely different thing than Jo Minjoon. Astonishment. And it wasn’t a good one. She said as if she couldn’t believe it at all.
“Sera…….?! How come you are here?”
“I came as an epicurean. It’s been a while, Emily.”
“You are an epicurean? Since when?”
“I wonder. Has it been a year? I’m quite famous nowadays. As the sexiest epicurean in america.”
The woman called Sera replied comfortably and approached Jo Minjoon. And then extended her hand.
“It’s the first time seeing you. I’m Sera Keich.”
“Ah, it’s Jo Minjoon.”
Jo Minjoon grabbed her hands. Sera put a charming smile that would enchant most men and said.
“I wanted to see you at least once. You know that nowadays, you are quite famous?”
“Yeah. You also have the absolute sense of taste, but personally i’m a fan of your cooking style. Grand Chef, I saw it well.”
“I feel thankful as you only say good words.”
The first impression of the new participants wasn’t bad. But although the relationship between Sera and Emily seemed kind of delicate, compared to the word that they were friends.
And that was the same for Rachel, that came in after 30 minutes. The moment she saw Jeremy, she suddenly frowned.
“You were still alive?”
“Why would I die if not even Rachel Rose did? I have to stay alive until my niece meets his own niece.”
While they were conversing like that, Anderson was on a side of the room breathing shortly and slowly with a pale face. Looking at Rachel’s age she couldn’t eat much….. And all the hints were vague things. As it became like that, Anderson had to eat it all.
“…….Are you okay?”
“Don’t talk to……. Ughh.”
Even after that, Anderson went quite few more times to the toilet. If there was one thing that comforted him was that Martin had prepared a gift for them. But it wasn’t anything special. It was that Emily and Jo Minjoon would obviously be able to stay in the penthouse along with Anderson and Rachel.
But it didn’t seem like a moments mercy. It seemed like he was planning to do so from the start. If Rachel didn’t stay, it could turn out that they were ignoring the consideration of the king.
That day, could it be that he couldn’t get accustomed to the luxurious mat and blanket? Even before dawn ended, Jo Minjoon had to open his eyes. Funnily, what he thought that moment was cooking. As soon as he opened his eyes, he remembered the various colored dishes the thailandese store owners showed, and he couldn’t hold it.
And as he went and opened the fridge while thinking perhaps, fortunately, there were ingredients. He couldn’t know if the staff had prepared it, or it was already there due to the manager of the penthouse. The important thing was that he could cook.
There were exactly four kind of dishes that he ate on the stores. Banana loti, chicken barbecue, pad thai made by frying shrimp and noodles, and cow galbi boiled down in soy. But the cooking scenes he saw while passing by weren’t only four. Tom yum with a clear soup, phat kai paomu 팟카파오무 (Not sure about this) fried with basil and pork. Mango glutinous rice with condensed milk and mango placed on it.
But of course he could only know the ingredients if he didn’t put it on his mouth, he couldn’t get to know the recipe. At least it was like that with the strength of the recipe. But just because of that, it wasn’t that he could keep watching the cooking process. Jo Minjoon looked at many dishes, and he was confident on making those his own.
It wasn’t that there were all kinds of ingredients in the fridge, Cow, pork, chicken, duck, crab, shrimp, and basic vegetables. And some fruits. Jo Minjoon slightly checked his system window.
[Comprehension on Thai cooking] – Proficiency 13%
Your overall comprehension on Thai cooking increases.
The probabilities of failing a dish when making a Thai dish lowers.
You can make a piece that’s higher than your cooking level with a low probability.
It wasn’t that high of proficiency. Looking at it through all the experiences he has had, it was difficult to make a good dish compared to a dish with low proficiency. Sushi made by a chef with several styles and with tens of years of experience, and a japanese chef with three years of experience. If you were considerate the latter would be better.
Jo Minjoon raised his sleeve. There were some cameras installed on one side of the kitchen, but there was nobody here. That’s why it felt rather good. Because he could completely concentrate.
First, he soaked the rice noodles in water, and Jo Minjoon started to recreate the many dishes he saw. The freshest thing was that he could use coconut oil instead of butter. Originally, he wouldn’t even be able to touch it as it was expensive, but in Thailand, coconut oil wasn’t that expensive.
It wasn’t that he recreated the original recipe like it was. Because there was no need to. For example when even he made pad thai, on what he ate it had big peanuts placed on it. But this time, the peanuts were chopped small and even when he fried it he poured a bit of sangsom, which was a thai alcohol, and flambeed it.
A smile appeared on Jo Minjoon’s face. Some people may not be able to understand it, but he was happier when he cooked than when he ate. No, actually even when he ate his head was filled with ‘how can I change this?’ so it may feel more fun because of that.
It was when he was placing the dishes one by one on the table. The voice of a man that still hadn’t fully woken up was heard.
“What are you doing this early in the morning?”
“Ah, did you wake up because of me?”
“No. That’s not it. If you age, you tend to sleep less. And the urinating habits weaken. Can I eat this?”
“Of course. I made it for you to eat it.”
Jeremy served a bit of the pad thai with an indistinct face. And it was at that moment when he poured a bit of red pepper sap and thai vinegar. Jo Minjoon looked at that with a surprised face. The cooking score that was a 6, raised to 7 in an instant. Jeremy ate a bite and trembled. Compared to before, he looked at Jo Minjoon with clear eyes.
“You covered the flavor of fire really well. On top of that it seems like you flambeed it……”
“Ah, yes. I did it with sangsom. But the thing you did before…..”
“It’s something not many know about. You have to sprinkle a bit of red pepper sap and thai vinegar for pad thai. If you don’t do so, it’s not that delicious.”
“I learned a good thing.”
Jo Minjoon said with a simply amazed face. Jeremy smirked.
“I just know how to eat deliciously.”
“Eating deliciously is the most difficult thing.”
“So cooking deliciously like you is easy? When I was young, I was also in charge of a restaurant. As a head chef. No, actually it was a small restaurant it would be funny to say that I was the head chef. It was a small place where a friend and I ran. People that acted like epicureans always said bad comments……..and well, just take this into account. Anyways, i’m not a chef anymore.”
As time flowed, the other people started to wake up and gather in the kitchen. And they exclaimed at the dishes Jo Minjoon made. It was so because of his effort, but they could only express amazement at him copying exactly a dish he saw for the first time. To reproduce something he only saw and didn’t eat, that wasn’t only the problem of his sense of taste but the power of observation and concentration. Sera said.
“You really are a duplicating machine.”
“A cooking duplicator. How about stealing all the menu in a chain store and make a new one with me?”
He just laughed at that groundless proposition, but even so he felt quite happy on listening the compliments by them. Jo Minjoon checked how the people gathered in the table ate. Unfortunately he didn’t get an 8 point dish. Because he still hadn’t properly understood about thai sauces. Looking at it like that, it may be obvious. It was fortunate that he had some 7 poitns dishes.
Rachel was tasting the dishes Jo Minjoon made one by one with a face more serious than ever. A fried rice with crab meat claw, soft shell crab which was fried it its whole body. She felt that every ingredient was being deployed in a good place.
She obviously felt a thailandese feeling, but what she felt above that was the colour of Minjoon being a chef. It seemed like he still hadn’t realized it, but he certainly had a colour of his own. And that was the part that made Rachel the most expectant. Rachel put in coriander, crab meat, chicory and lime juice on a lettuce and ate a big bite. Jo Minjoon looked at that and smiled. She had the age of being a grandmother, but even so she eating his food like that was cute and joyful.
While Rachel was in the middle of chewing the food that filled her entire mouth Emily, that was eating fried kangkong, said with a bright face.
“As the kangkong is fresh it’s really delicious! And the flavor and aroma of the sap and garlic are also good……How is it, Rachel? Eat this.”
Rachel gulped and said.
“There’s nothing in this table that isn’t not delicious. For a breakfast, it’s so big it makes me perplexed.”
Although the cooking score were between 6 and 7, even so it wasn’t that it wasn’t delicious. Rather, giving a straight flavor with a simple cooking process could be more delicious for normal people. But of course, although they were epicureans, they still felt fun with this simple flavor. Anderson, that saw Rachel eating deliciously, mumbled with a mortifying face.
“I also had to make breakfast.”
“You do it tomorrow.”
“Even so, I was already planning to.”
It was when they conversed like that. Martin appeared with a swelled face. And then said while smiling.
“Good morning. Maybe because it’s a good morning, there’s a good news. Should I explain it longly or shortly?”
“The short one is long.”
At Anderson’s answer, Martin opened his mouth for a moment and closed it. And then, said with a voice filled with amusement when watching the stifled faces of them.
“Good. Then let’s do so. The royal family has invited you to lunch!”
< The envelope that embraces the street stall (3) > End
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
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Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa