As he put Alan’s linguine once more in his mouth, he could still feel the same sweet flavor. It wasn’t the flavor sugar gave. But even so, it also wasn’t the sweet flavor of fruit.
After placing Alan’s linguine in his mouth once more, he felt the same sweet flavor. It wasn’t the sweet flavor of sugar, nor was it the sweet flavor of a fruit.
He could feel faint traces of juices that came out of carrots, onions, etc. when you cooked them. However the only vegetables that came out were the basil that was put on the olive oil and the bok choy.
‘Can the sweet flavor of the bok choy cover this?’
Jo Minjoon frowned. Because bok choy wasn’t a vegetable with a strong sweet flavor. The charm of the bok choy was on the crunchy texture and the moist stem, and the flavor was the second thing. But it couldn’t completely cover the linguine with its sweet flavor.
There weren’t any more vegetables in it. The system was certainly telling him that. However, a flavor that couldn’t come out with these ingredients was felt in his mouth.
The answer was one of the two. That there was a blind spot on the system or if a really uncommon and extraordinary recipe was giving the sweet flavor. But if it wasn’t a completely different style like molecular gastronomy, it was impossible to bring this flavor with only these ingredients.
‘If it was only used to give flavor and the used vegetable was taken out…….’
It made sense then. And the ingredient that the system didn’t tell you about. Because in the end, it wasn’t on the dish. Looking at the recipe, it may tell you that it was in and taken out after a bit…….but it wasn’t weird that it didn’t tell you on the ingredients list.
The important thing was what did they put. He could feel that it was the sweet flavor of vegetables but beyond that, Jo Minjoon couldn’t feel it through his taste.
Jo Minjoon slightly glanced at Kaya. He had an expectation that if it was her, she may have guessed the answer. However Kaya was still glaring at Alan’s pasta with a confused expression and Anderson seemed to keep cooking rather than thinking, as he was standing in front of the countertop again.
In the end, Jo Minjoon went to the fridge and looked at the vegetables. Alan stood next to him and asked.
“You took out all of the ingredients before, so why did you come again?”
“……..Alan. Don’t act like this when I can see it all. I already realized.”
“What did you?”
“The recipe you told us before, isn’t 100% complete.”
Alan looked at Jo Minjoon without saying anything with a face that said ‘will that really be the case?’. But as he put that kind of expression, Jo Minjoon felt absolute certainness in his heart. If there was a problem it would be what kind of vegetable he used.
‘Carrot. Radish. Squash. Onion…….What will it be.’
The most possible candidates in the fridge were only that. It was then. Kaya, who was looking at Alan and Jo Minjoon suspiciously, stood next to Jo Minjoon stealthily and cleared her throat.
“Why are you still here?”
“And why did you come here?”
“That’s privacy violation.”
Kaya said an unreasonable thing and turned her head away. Jo Minjoon stepped aside and said.
“……You aren’t going to pick anything?”
“Then keep standing there.”
Jo Minjoon shrugged his shoulders. Kaya bit her lips and looked at Jo Minjoon’s eyes and the fridge alternatingly. Just at first glance it seemed like she wanted to take something, but as he was watching, it seemed like it was difficult to show it.
Kaya licked her lips with an anxious face. She hit Jo Minjoon’s arms with her shoulder.
“You really aren’t going to leave?”
Jo Minjoon opened his eyes exaggeratedly and replied. Kaya pouted her lips with a displeased face and then mumbled with a depressed voice.
“You have a finer tongue than me, so why are you acting like this?”
“Your tongue is better than mine.”
She wrinkled her nose and then extended her fingers that were as white as a peach. And the thing her hands grabbed was a bag that contained bell cabbages. Jo Minjoon let out an exclamation. Kaya held the bell cabbages like they were kids and then glanced at Jo Minjoon. Jo Minjoon smirked and asked.
“Are you going to use all of that?”
“Let me use too.”
“Hey! Are you really going to act this cowardly?”
“Alan said last time that a kitchen is a country of the smallest shape. So things like plundering is a basic thing.”
“Plundering should also have its limit! Then let’s do it like this. After one minute that I start cooking……”
Kaya, who was speaking, had her eyes become dark. At the end of her eyes was Anderson. It seemed like he had failed the new linguine he made, so Anderson, who was approaching them, put on a twisted smile. His eyes were fixed on the bell cabbages Kaya was holding.
“You are holding quite a funny thing?”
Kaya mumbled with an absent minded voice.
In the end it seemed like she had given up on defending the bell cabbages, that she hurriedly served the amount she was going to use. But was she acting perversely or trying to buy even a little bit more of time. Kaya tightly sealed the bag that contained the bell cabbages and put it on a deep part of the fridge, and then ran to the countertop.
Jo Minjoon took out the bell cabbages and organized his thoughts in front of the countertop. If Kaya chose it, there was a high possibility that the bell cabbages did indeed enter in the recipe. The problem was how did he use it that he couldn’t use it on the ingredients list. Precisely speaking, how would you bring out the flavor of the bell cabbage and not use it. That was the problem.
Kaya was boiling the bell cabbages with water. It seemed like she was planning to make vegetable stock. Thinking about it, it was obvious. Because to properly melt down the flavor of the bell cabbage, making stock was the fastest. But Jo Minjoon was certain, that it was wrong.
If he made stock like that, he would be seeing ‘vegetable stock’ in the ingredients list. But he didn’t see that. Most of all, even if he thought of the recipe Kaya was making….. The system was still telling him that the estimated cooking score was 9.
Anderson was grating the bell cabbages and making sap in a corner. It seemed like he was planning to use that as a sauce. However, Jo Minjoon was also certain this time that that was wrong.
“Minjoon. Why aren’t you cooking?”
“I’m setting up the recipe in my head. What can bring out the most similar flavor as Alan’s. What is the closest recipe.”
“Can you do that just by thinking……?”
Alan asked with a tired expression. Of course, when most of the chefs accumulated experience, just by making the recipe in their heads they were able to guess that flavor to an extent. However, that was only to a certain degree.
What Jo Minjoon was trying to do now was thinking of the faint differences of flavors. They say that he has an absolute sense of taste, but will only his tongue be the sensitive thing? Is he able to think up those minuscule differences in his head and compare it?
‘…….He’s the Beethoven of the cooking world.’
He didn’t know until where Alan’s misunderstanding stretched to and Jo Minjoon replied calmly.
“I calculated in my head that the dish I’m about to prepare now is right. If my linguine isn’t different to the one being sold here in your judgement, it will be right.”
Jo Minjoon placed the linguine on the boiling water. And while it was boiling, started to slice the squid and bok choy again. Beginners had it most difficult to control the time the most because they had to slice the vegetables and fry it on a heated pan before the linguine spread.
But of course, for Jo Minjoon, it wasn’t difficult at all. At first glance, his kniving will look plain, but he didn’t make a mistake for even a moment. Calmly and without resting. He only took 1 minute on cutting the squid in half and 10 stems of bok choy.
Jo Minjoon heated the pan, poured olive oil, and grated basil in it. After that, it became time to put the bell cabbages. The round cabbages rolled on the pan like balls and it’s aroma and flavor started to seep in the oil.
After that the squid and the bok choy started to mix in with the bell cabbages, but Jo Minjoon soon took out all of the bell cabbages. This was the reason the cabbages weren’t among the ingredients.
Alan let out a low groan inwardly. He was saying maybe, but he was really recreating his recipe. And not by reading the flavor, but by imagining it.
If he only had a proper teacher, there would have been nothing wrong if he was a head chef of a famous restaurant by now. Because Rachel’s husband, Daniel, became head chef at the age of 21.
Kaya tasted the linguine she made and frowned, and then didn’t even bring it to Alan and was looking at Jo Minjoon cook. And it was the same for Anderson. As he made cabbage sap and put it on the pasta, he didn’t feel a faint sweet flavor but a completely cabbage flavor.
Will he really make it? Expectation and feelings of not wanting him to succeed was felt. Because they wanted to win. But when Jo Minjoon served the complete linguine on a plate, they were unconsciously holding their forks in front of the dish. Kaya opened her mouth with an anxious face.
“I can eat it, right?”
But Jo Minjoon didn’t answer. He was looking at the air with soft eyes. Kaya felt a chill while looking at that Jo Minjoon. There was nothing in the air, but he was looking as if there really was something over there……. She was scared because he may be possessed by a ghost. Kaya carefully placed her hands on his shoulders.
“Why are you suddenly so absent minded? Are you okay?”
“No, I thought that the dish turned out well. Eat it.”
“How do you know when you didn’t even try it……”
Kaya that was rolling the linguine on the fork while grumbling, chewed after a while, and put on a strange expression. Her lips were smiling, and her eyes were frowning. It was a perfect flavor, just like the one Alan made. She put a smile on the happiness the flavor gave her, but she didn’t want to smile because she had lost.
Anderson and Alan ate it after her, and then nodded. Alan was about to say something but then let out a long sigh.
“I prepared for the case you weren’t able to grasp it until night……this is too null. I took more than one month on developing this menu.”
“I had a good guideline.”
Jo Minjoon smirked and pointed at Alan’s pasta. And soon looked at his linguine with eyes full of emotions. He was able to get a score of 10 through a recipe of another person, and through the strength of the pasta……..but even that was the first case he got a 10-point dish.
‘One day with my own strength, with my own recipe………’
Back then, when he was getting this kind of determination, the road in front of him was pitch black, but now he felt that he would be able to reach it any time. Would an adventurer with a treasure map feel like this? His chest boiled as if he was a youth suffering from a serious fever.
At the back of Jo Minjoon, Kaya was opening her eyes like a cat but then put on a smile as if she couldn’t do anything about it. Alan saw that and thought. Actually, the one that first found out about the bell cabbages was Kaya. It meant that her sense of taste was so sensitive to the point it was difficult to label it as an ordinary one.
‘If the two get to stand in the same kitchen……..’
That synergy would probably not be normal. Saliva gathered in Alan’s mouth. Just like he stood in the kitchen because he liked to cook, he also liked to eat a lot. It was fun just by imagining what kind of dish would be born when the two worked together.
“So did Minjoon win?”
“Right. And you will now have to assist Minjoon.”
At Alan’s words, Anderson placed the linguine he made in his mouth. Even if it wasn’t a success, it seemed like he couldn’t stand throwing food he made to the bin. Well, even if he didn’t succeed, it was a 9-point dish. It had plenty of flavor.
‘I wanted to show teacher Rachel that I had won.’
It was unfortunate, but he couldn’t do anything about it. Jo Minjoon felt thirst while looking at Kaya, and Anderson felt thirst while looking at Jo Minjoon. Although he obtained better results at Grand Chef, in the end…..the attention of the world and also Rachel’s was directed to Jo Minjoon.
He felt like he was look at a wall he couldn’t overcome. He knew that cooking wasn’t a competition with others but with himself……. When he stood next to Jo Minjoon, Anderson felt falling to a swamp that was sticky and muddy.
When he stood next to Jo Minjoon, Anderson felt like he was slowly drowning on a sticky and muddy swamp.
Anderson opened his mouth. Hesitation and his inferiority complex surged out like steam through his half-opened mouth. But Anderson wasn’t as weak as to yield to that pain. Anderson opened his eyes calmly and looked at Jo Minjoon.
“……You really are amazing.”
Jo Minjoon said with an awkward face. It felt like it was the first time he heard a compliment from Anderson himself. No, it didn’t feel like a simple compliment. The emotions in his voice felt similar. Those were the emotions he had when looking at Kaya.
Anderson said that he was young and straightforward……and because of that he spat out his greed that had more value and his competitiveness without decorating it at all.
“Wait for next time. I will certainly beat you.”
< What a kitchen is (4) > End
(PR Note: A wild rival has appeared! What will Minjoon do?)
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
PR note: If you like this novel, please give your support to the author, translator, and proofreader. Thanks.
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa