“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“No. That’s not it…..”
Jo Minjoon hesitated and then chewed on a back rib. After his body trembled he lightly sighed. It was so delicious to the point he got chills. The flavor of the tom yum that spread all over his mouth, the flavor of the crab meat, and the flavor of the back rib. There was nothing that lacked or fitted. Jo Minjoon’s brows gathered. He couldn’t understand at all just why this delicious dish was still lacking.
“It’s really delicious right now. To the point I wonder if this recipe can be improved further.”
“Those are right words, if we were normal people. But we are chefs.”
Rachel said with a voice that had determination. Just like the perfect truth as this that won’t change no matter what someone said.
“A chef has to surpass their own limits. I think that if it’s you, you will be able to understand.”
Jo Minjoon smacked his lips as if trying to say something, but didn’t. He remembered the risotto he made before. Pear risotto. The estimated cooking score was 6. But even in the process of cooking that, he didn’t miss the changes on the food and he concentrated. And what were the results? Wasn’t an 8-point recipe born?
Because of that he thought he understood what Rachel was trying to say. But that also had its limits. If it was a 9-point recipe it had everything it should, and it had plenty of skill and dedication put in it. Just how more could this change?
But of course, you wouldn’t know if Rachel herself cooked. She would be able to catch the small parts others wouldn’t be able to feel. But would that small part be able to bring an amazing change such as changing a 9-point dish to become 10 points?
Jeremy came while holding a small pot that had a bit of the avocado soup.
“Why don’t you try this for now?”
“Ah, it’s already done?”
Jo Minjoon brightened and approached to the soup. Jeremy poured a bit of the soup on Jo Minjoon’s spoon with a ladle. He even licked the soup that fell in the hand he placed below the soup and odded.
“It’s delicious. I certainly like clean flavors such as this. But of course, there’s some greasy feeling to say that it’s completely clean……But in the end that’s the simple flavor of avocado.”
“Didn’t you say last time that you liked food with strong aroma?”
“Flavor and aroma are different things. It’s just like liking teas. Although the flavor is strong, it’s tasteless. But even so it’s not that I like tasteless things.”
At Emily’s question Jo Minjoon replied calmly. The score of the avocado soup from back then was 8. But that was also an amazing thing by itself. Because the ones that cooked it were Sera and Jeremy. They were people that had cooking levels of 5 and 6.
Actually, he thought that the one that really cooked was Rachel instead of them. It didn’t stop as her leading as a head chef, but she was completely controlling it. If she could feel the overall situation in real time and tune to it, actually it didn’t matter as to who grabbed the pan or the knife.
‘This is why she was a legend.’
Jo Minjoon’s eyes looking at Rachel weren’t normal. Anderson looked at Jo Minjoon with eyes that were a bit wary and then hit him with his elbow.
“Why are you that absentminded?”
“No, teacher Rachel…..I just thought that she was amazing.”
“…….Since when did you call her as teacher?”
“I don’t know. It just turned like this.”
Anderson’s expression was weird. He did like that Rachel was being admired, but it felt like he didn’t like her to be stolen. Could it be said that he was the older brother being wary of his younger brother of fear for their mother to be taken by him?
In the other hand, Rachel’s expression wasn’t that leisure. She looked at the back ribs placed in the plate. That face was just like that of a mother looking at her spoiled child. She had an expression of being guilty for not having perfectly done her job.
‘Daniel. What did I miss right now?’
It felt like his voice would be heard at any moment, but his voice and breath wasn’t heard. At that moment Rachel realized in a really long while that she had stepped to the kitchen again. And she remembered the grudge and the fear of having gotten in the kitchen in a really long while.
She felt stifled to the point she found it difficult to breathe. She remembered the scenery of that day. California, a summer of Venice’s beach. The sizzling and burning sand grains, and the disciples that were also sweating inside the kitchen. And the look of her collapsed husband.
“Rachel? Are you okay?”
As she got a hold of herself, she saw that Emily was looking at her with a worried face. Rachel looked back at Emily with an absent minded expression, and then got surprised and shook her head.
“Ah, I was a bit absentminded.”
“You don’t look good……Aren’t you overdoing it yourself?”
“A chef is in the kitchen, what would be overdoing it?”
“Even so, you rested for 10 years already.”
“That’s why I can’t do it anymore. I already rested what I had to.”
Rachel replied stubbornly and replied as if she was fine. Emily said as if she couldn’t get calm at all.
“Even so, don’t do it without being that relaxed. You still have a lot of time.”
“Yes. I know. Not leisure…….”
Rachel’s mouth stopped. She looked at the cask that had the back ribs with an absentminded face and soon smiled brightly.
“Right. Relaxed. I didn’t have relaxation.”
“Anderson, Minjoon. I’m sorry. I made a big mistake. Don’t cover the boiled back rib immediately with the dough and take it out with the thongs and wait a moment.”
Jo Minjoon immediately took out one piece of back rib. As he was just looking at it without doing anything, he felt itchy. Could you say that he was feeling that he had to do something quickly? But Rachel didn’t give him any signs. The water on the back rib had mostly fallen down.
It wasn’t to the point that the water disappeared, but when the meat cooled down that Rachel opened her mouth. “Now cover it with the dough and fry it.” Anderson hurriedly gave him the dough he made. Crab meat starch dough and bread crumbs covered the back rib, and it fell on the boiling oil.
‘Will it change?’
Jo Minjoon looked at the fried coating that was getting yellow while feeling half doubt and half expectation. Jeremy at an already made back rib next to them and said.
“It’s plentily delicious. It can get even more delicious here on?”
“Wait for it. A flavor beyond your imaginations will appear.”
Rachel said with a confident face. Jeremy looked at the avocado soup and the back rib fry alternatingly. Rachel frowned and said.
“No. Never thought about messing with food.”
“……Do you even know what I’m going to do?”
“Right now you…….Ugh.”
In the end he sticked the back rib on the green soup. Jeremy ate a diet with a cocky face and soon frowned and pinched his chin as if he ate something he shouldn’t have. Rachel sighed and said.
“Bear in mind the advices of a chef.”
“I will take it into account.”
The combination of the two seemed to be quite shocking, and soon Jeremy nodded with a sulky face without talking back. It was then that the back rib got completely fried. Jo Minjoon raised the back rib and after he took off the oil he placed it on a plate. And then he looked at it with a surprised face. Sera, that was looking at that cautiously, said.
“The colour is a bit different from before?”
If the fried back rib of before had a colorful color overall, this fried back rib had an uniform colour. Just like before, Rachel placed the fried potato sculptures and the pickles and it was the moment she placed the vegetables with it.
[Fried back rib simmered in tom yum sauce]
Freshness : 97%
Origins : (Too many ingredients to show)
Quality : High
Cooking Score : 10/10
[You experienced making a 10 points dish.]
[The mastery of the skill ‘comprehension of a head chef’ rose!]
[The mastery of the skill ‘standards of an assistant’ rose!]
[Cooking experience increases!]
Many windows popped up without control. But the number Jo Minjoon was concentrating on was only one. 10 points. Rather than having experienced making a 10-point dish for the first time he was more shocked on the point that that short time of waiting made such a big difference. Rachel calmly sliced the back rib. She put that on her mouth and trembled as if she was shuddering. It was perfect. She wanted to quickly show them this difference. She wanted to know how Jo Minjoon felt this difference. But at that moment, when she looked at Jo Minjoon’s face, Rachel even forgot her fidgeting and smirked.
“Why are you already putting that amazed face when you haven’t even eaten it? Here, eat it.”
Jo Minjoon couldn’t even reply and received the back rib with trembling hands. He slowly put it on his mouth. The first flavor was similar to before. The bread crumbs that stimulated the point of his lip melted even before it crumbled, and the moment his teeth broke down the crispy coating, the aroma of the crab meat spread calmly just like the aroma of a tea.
If when he ate the back rib before and felt the aroma of the tom yum as if it was exploding, this time it was only that it touched his tongue and ceiling softly. But that rather felt better. A dim and not blunt flavor. That flavor seduced him like a lady that dressed up purely.
Jo Minjoon chuckled. But even so, as he kept putting back ribs on his mouth, his face contorted as if he put on a teary face. Inside the reddened eye, his eyes were holding the back rib sunk in love and hatred.
It wasn’t because it was delicious. But of course, it was delicious. It was so delicious he felt amazed and emotional. But what made him shudder were because of various thoughts, feelings, and the intersection of his memories. He thought that it was far, that it was the end of this dish, and a perfect one. But even so, although he did follow Rachel’s orders, he made it with his hands, a flawless dish.
Most of all, what made him feel amazed the most was the power of time. Just how big of a difference could waiting, that small moment bring……He felt it to be too beautiful. The profoundness of the dish itself moved him. And at the same time he felt angry. Because it felt that it was right in front of his eyes. The end dish was born by his hands, but it wasn’t his. That made him really angry.
No one looked at him weirdly. Rather, thinking about Jo Minjoon’s absolute sense of taste, they looked this reaction as one characteristical to geniuses. Martin smirked. When scenes such as this was taken, depending on how he produced it he would be able to give a more explosive emotion and shudder. And that amount of production, he was confident on being able to do it.
‘It certainly was the right choice to bring him.’
He still hadn’t showed his sense of taste properly in this program. But there would be one day that he spreads his wings completely. And Martin wasn’t thinking of missing that moment.
The dish got completed. The simple two course, but the best dishes, was placed in front of the thai king and her wife…….and while eating, the king exclaimed deeply and wet in grief. At the end of the meal, he said with a voice swirling with many emotions.
“It was a yearning meal. And from now, I think I will keep yearning for it.”
“It won’t be long. I will certainly revive those memories. I promise.”
The king grabbed Rachel’s hand and kept thanking her several times. The cameramen recorded that. Everyone felt the strength of the chef called Rachel. Because she made that kind of dish with the hands of others, and not her own, she felt even more amazing.
It became time to leave the palace. Inside the car, Jo Minjoon, who was looking at the night scenery, silently opened his mouth.
“Teacher Rachel. Are you sleeping?”
“No. Do you have something to tell me?”
“It was really vague as to what kind of objective should I have as a chef. Will delicious dishes be enough? But on what standards is that deliciousness? It’s because of those thoughts.”
“I want to take you as my objective. I want to become…….. A chef that makes things lightly even if it seems difficult and impossible.”
Compared to before, it was certainly a voice that sank down clearly, but his ambition and desires were twitching in it. Rachel looked at that Jo Minjoon with a smile. The greed related to cooking, the more excessive it was the bigger the strength would become. She replied.
“That determination, I will cheer for you. But there’s something you are misunderstanding.”
“For me cooking is still heavy and difficult. Even if I have experience and get more skilled……”
The woman that got old by the time, held her life on her mouth.
“It doesn’t get lighter.”
< In the royal palace (3) > End
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Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa