The unique aroma only a well roasted eel had, tickled his nose. The people observing Kaya’s dish unconsciously gulped. And no one could see her dish with cold eyes. It was unavoidable. If you possessed a nose and a tongue it was unavoidable to gulp. It was that kind of dish.
Kaya sliced the eel and put it on the mimosa salad. Jo Minjoon could vaguely imagine that taste. The lemon peel’s that were used instead of sugar, caramelized on top of the fire and could bring out the flavor even more. It was refreshing and erased the fishy smell at the same time, and the white wine’s aroma that was used could still be felt.
The combination of the mimosa salad was difficult to imagine. Eggs, mayonnaise, and mustard, would that flavor be able to mix well with eel? If you were slightly off, the egg was felt fishy. But because it was Kaya Lotus,she handled it easily. He removed the fishy smell to the flavor he was imagining.
And after that it was perfect. The tasty eggs and the eel’s deep flavor, it was as if you mixed fish with meat and that flavor was even deeper. The onions and the cucumbers saved the freshness in your mouth, and the lettuce was to compensate for the lack of chewing sensation. It was a well balanced dish. The combination of the eel and the mimosa salad was perfect. And the result of that was also shown on the system.
[Mimosa salad and grilled eel]
Origins: (Too many ingredients to know)
Quality: High (Average ingredients)
Cooking points: 8/10
Jo Minjoon looked at those points dumbfoundedly. 8 points. This was a scam. Of course it was Kaya’s own work, but for it to be 8 points…. Didn’t that mean that it could be a dish served in a Michelin restaurant?
‘She’s not on the level to be participating on Grand Chef.’
Jo Minjoon laughed without any strength. And there was one camera that was recording Jo Minjoon. It was recording Jo Minjoon’s eyes not being able to put off of Kaya’s. And the one that was holding the camera wasn’t the cameraman but the PD that took the camera from him.
‘A man’s pureness always ends up being a prize.’
The PD smiled and zoomed on Jo Minjoon’s face. It didn’t matter what thoughts that man was having, what the camera was recording right now was the sight of a man that was staring amazed. The meaning varied from how the viewers interpreted it. And just inserting subtitles to the screen was enough to persuade the thoughts of the viewers easily.
Kaya put the dish on the cart and went to meet the judges. The audience, dazed, looked at the leaving Kaya’s back. However there was no need to wait that long. It hasn’t been a while and Kaya already came back from the room where the judges were.
Of course, with a badge on her chest.
“You were staring intently at Kaya a while before.”
During the interview, those words came out of nowhere. Jo Minjoon opened his eyes widely and looked at the PD. The PD’s name was Marin Osburn. Hhe was 31 years old, and the smile he had was enough to make everyone well disposed of him.
“You are 21 right? It’s a good age. When I was also your age I had quite a few crushes.”
Theoretically speaking he was indeed 21. Because it hasn’t been his birthday yet. Jo Minjoon replied with a trembling voice.
“I think you are misunderstanding something.”
“Am I? I didn’t look clearly and interpreted it like that.”
Maybe it pinched him a little but Jo Minjoon let out a sigh.
“Her cooking skills were really outstanding today. I was just admiring her skills for a moment.”
“If you say it was outstanding, do you mean she’s better than you?”
Marin asked jokingly. Jo Minjoon hesitated a moment. His thoughts were clear. He was still lacking compared to Kaya. And that difference wouldn’t get shorter in a short time. However saying it himself was like a humiliation. Jo Minjoon replied resignedly.
“She was the best participant today. She was more than anyone I had ever seen. And probably will be the best from this competition.”
When Jo Minjoon was thinking that he replied well, Marin thought of something funny. What if he cut the part where Jo Minjoon said she was the best and uploaded it like that? Of course, that was rather excessive. Marin opened his mouth while having all kinds of thoughts.
“Saying that she is be the best from this tournament. Does that mean that you think she will win?”
“If nothing out of ordinary happens, she will. And I hope to become the one to upset that.”
Jo Minjoon’s speech was unexpectedly professional. He wasn’t brought up in an english talking country, but the words and phrasing he utilized surpassed that of natives. In truth, it couldn’t be helped to be like that. Because Korea’s way of teaching was to teach difficult english instead of usual ones. Sophistically speaking, knowing difficult english denominations but not knowing how to reply was normal for a Korean.
Of course, knowing difficult words didn’t make your speech more professional. The reason Jo Minjoon’s words seemed more sublime was because Jo Minjoon had already thought of what to say beforehand. It’s fault was because it wasn’t his native language, but also because he didn’t want to be someone who casually said things.
“It’s a good ambition. Personally I want you, Jo Minjoon, to win the tournament.”
“…….I get the feeling that you have already said that to those you already interviewed.”
Marin said that and smiled. Then continued speaking.
“I heard from the company that came with you a brief story. It seems that as soon as you came to the US you went through a big incident.”
“I don’t want to talk about that.”
“Minjoon. A good story makes good results. Of course, this program puts more emphasis on cooking, but think if there’s a case where food tastes the same. Based on your story, the judges may or not favor you. Because they are also people.”
“…….I would prefer getting disqualified. I don’t want winning with a story instead of my cooking.”
“You said that you wanted to make this your stage. Minjoon, is your resolution only this much?”
At Marin’s words Jo Minjoon’s gaze grew sharper. Resolution? What kind of resolution was he talking about? The resolution of making the Dean’s family’s tears a light gossip? He said with a very aggravated tone. It seemed as if a pariah dog was going to growl.
“My resolution is making a delicious dish. That’s all.”
Marin didn’t reply and just looked at Jo Minjoon. Jo Minjoon didn’t avert his eyes as if he didn’t want to lose. Marin said with a bitter smile.
“You are a good person. A good chef.”
He said that sincerely. While living as a PD of Grand Chef, Marin had met all kinds of people and talked about various things. Although it was a cooking program, it looked to stimulate the viewers rather than the quality of the dish. The PD’s seeked at least a little more of an appealing story from the participants. And the participants even made up stories sometimes.
The reason the broadcast altered reality was simple. So there were more viewers. And there was also a reason for the participants to do that. They wanted to get sympathy. They wanted to fill their dishes with tears and emotions.
Saying the truth, that was rather effective. If the dish was on the same standards, the PD asked the judges to give the participants that had a more preferable story or could become a star. Of course, the judges didn’t like that, but when they were presented dishes on the same level, they had a rather difficult time choosing. At those times, even they didn’t have chance but to favour those star participants. They wouldn’t be choosing willingly but certainly, the effectiveness was obvious.
And they guy in front of him was trying to give up on his story. Of course, Jo Minjoon’s story wasn’t any bad. An asian college student having the passion to become a chef, and crossing to the other side of the world for that purpose. However, the emotion on that story was a bit lacking.
“……You may regret it. Minjoon, your story in New York with the Dean family may become a really heavy weapon. A PD like me guarantees you that. Even so, are you unwilling to mention your story?”
“Yes. I’m not doing so.”
Marin shut his mouth for a moment. Soon, when he opened his mouth, a smile just like the first time could be seen.
“Good. Minjoon. I believe on your decision. This program is one that you win with your cooking skills. Only then can you do so in a place like this.”
“…….Thank you for understanding.”
Jo Minjoon replied while loosening his expression. Looking at that Jo Minjoon, Marin said seriously.
“I hope you become the winner.”
It was the second time he heard that. However it’s meaning was completely different from the first time. Jo Minjoon smiled.
“It seems I got a reassuring fan.”
< Grand Chef preliminaries, and… (5) > End
Translator’s note: Okay, so here’s your early regular chapter!
Regulars being on: Tue, thurs, sat and sun
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled