But of course, it wasn’t that a change occurred because of this step. His tasting level was still 8 and what people thought about this was still ‘the absolute taste is incredible’. And actually, the words that came up on the chat were all like that.
It was then. Jeremy looked down at his dish with warm eyes.
“It is delicious but…..I think that this restaurant is going to be more popular to tourists rather than japanese people. Am I right?”
“Mm….I can’t exactly deny that. They did say that they kind of compromised, so I couldn’t completely catch their tastes. But of course, it’s not that we don’t have japanese customers……At least half of the half are japanese.”
Not even a quarter of the customers in a japanese fusion restaurant are japanese. Even if it is a global michelin three star, it was quite a strange proportion. Jo Minjoon slowly thought back at the sushis he ate just now.
‘…..It was delicious indeed, but it felt like sushi that had a mask on.’
He thought that it may not suit the tastes of the feelings of the japanese. Rachel opened her mouth.
“Bringing the two of them is originally a difficult task. A foreign country…..Precisely speaking, it’s fine as westerners like it, right? The ones a chef has to treat are the customers inside the restaurant, thinking over the likings of the people that don’t even come is a stupid thing to do.”
“…..Ugh, I think I know what you are talking about. But even so, I still think of that. Is this fusion food that was masked as japanese or japanese food masked as fusion. Well, that may depend on each person.”
At Jeremy’s words, Rachel turned to look at Anderson and Jo Minjoon. She threw a question with the eyes of a teacher.
“What do you think about this?”
“What do you want us to say exactly?”
“The proportion of local and global food, what’s the most important thing in that balance. Can you tell me your opinions?”
[It’s a homework.]
[I always found those kinds of questions the hardest to solve. I feel like it may not do it if I answered it half heartedly.]
Jo Minjoon and Anderson turned to look at each other for a moment. And the one that spoke first was Anderson.
“It’s the ingredients.”
“Why do you think like that?”
“Because it’s the ingredients that show the characteristic of a country the best. With that meaning, I can’t understand Jeremy’s words that well. If it’s the sushis we just ate, I think that it’s a dish with plenty of japanese feeling.”
“Right. Then, Minjoon?”
“For me…….the condiments, and spices. Whatever ingredient you may use, if you use a sauce of that country, then the color of that country shows up. Actually most of the people that live in the western Europe think that if there’s raw fish and soy sauce, it’s always a japanese dish. And if there’s cheese in it that it’s an European dish. So in the end I think that the sauce is the most important thing.”
Jo Minjoon thought. If he wanted to globalize korean food, so if he wanted to localize it in another country……what would be the sauce that has the most commonalities?
Although it wasn’t yet, if you followed the future he came from, in a short time gochujang(고추장) would gain great popularity in west Europe. Although kimchi wasn’t at the level of gochujang, it was still demanded. Although not all of them liked unripe kimchi because of its fishy smell, it was good to use it as an ingredient to give a sweet flavor.
‘It’s the spicier side.’
There would be nothing wrong to have the prejudice that koreans liked korean food more. But of course, most of them really did like it. It was when he thought what would happen if he could handle all of the spices and condiments in the world. Anderson grabbed Jo Minjoon’s shoulders and shook it. Jo Minjoon got surprised and turned to look back at him.
“Wh, what? What happened?”
“No, teacher Rachel was calling you since before. Why are you this absent minded? What did you think of?”
“……..Ah, as you started to talk about global and local food, my head was filled with thoughts.”
It seemed like he couldn’t even hear what Rachel was telling him as he was concentrated on his thoughts. Rachel smiled softly and said.
“Both of your thoughts have some truth in it. This is a dilemma all the chefs running a fusion restaurant can’t help but have. And all of their answers are different. Whether it can become an right or not, it may depend on how long they walked their own path.”
“So what is your path teacher?”
At the unexpected answer, Jo Minjoon looked at Rachel with a confused face. And that was the same with Anderson and the others. Only Jeremy was sipping some sake as if it wasn’t surprising.
For a chef to say looks rather than something related to flavor. It was exactly those eyes. Rachel shrugged her shoulders as if she knew they would react like this.
“One of the prejudices people have is that if chefs focus on the looks, they take it as if they are doing something completely different.”
“It’s not a prejudice……but isn’t that true? In the end, cooking is flavor. Because it doesn’t matter what goes in your mouth.”
Sera asked as if she couldn’t understand well. Although she was an epicurean, she was also a girl. And just like a lot of girls were like, they got amazed the prettier a dish was. But they were certain that it had nothing to do with the flavor. And actually for three stars, the looks were luxurious for nothing but when you put it in your mouth, there were many cases where you frowned.
However Rachel shook her head. Her two eyes were filled with clear confidence.
“It would be like that if it wasn’t delicious. But when a flawless dish was decorated beautifully to the point you would get amazed by it…..Then the story changes. Chefs stimulate the hearts of the customers through their tongues, and that stimulation moves their heart. But if they all look different……….You will be able to make them feel the food when they have already had their hearts moved. The difference that makes is bigger than you think.”
“……But what does that have with the problem of local and global?”
“Being able to imagine the flavor just with its looks is that you are able to guess beforehand what color of which country it will have. Even if you serve the same sandwich, if you say that it’s a panini people will feel Italy inside the stretching cheese. Although you have to win a dish through the flavor, what you think of before eating also becomes a big factor.”
Jo Minjoon thought like he could understand Rachel’s words and also with what mind she achieved decorations level 10. Jo Minjoon thought.
‘Then I…..What do I have to end it with?’
Is it certainly the recipe? Although he knew that he felt the most confident in recipe composition, not being able to put your heart into it would also be because of his greed. He also wanted to have a decoration like Rachel’s, and Kaya’s sensitive senses. But he didn’t have much time. Because when the tasting trip ended and he started to work below Rachel……He wouldn’t even have the time to ponder.
It was then. Sera burst out of laughter. Rachel looked at Sera with an unexpected face. Sera pointed at the chat with a face that became red because of holding back the laughter.
“Rachel, they say that speeches bore them. People think that you are like a school principal.”
Rachel turned to look at the chat with round eyes and as soon as she read a few lines, she instantly became depressed. Anderson said towards Rachel with a soft voice.
“I didn’t dislike the speeches of my previous principal that much. That all becomes blood and skin.”
“Stop your flatteries. I’m not so old as to get deceived by those words.”
Rachel answered with a depressed voice.
They continued the meal. Grilled halibut that was placed in a consomme soup with vegetables, grilled duck that had a wholegrain mustard and wasabi slightly smeared in it, dakkochi, etc. Dishes that were the most luxuriously japanese were placed on the table.
Although all of it was delicious, Jo Minjoon felt a bit of regret. He looked at the menu again. Most were 9 points or 8. He thought that if it was a three star, it would at least have a 10 points dish…..but there were none.
‘There was also a 10 points dish in Alan’s restaurant, that isn’t a three star yet…….’
Although most of that was enough because of the pasta, it was still 10 points. He thought if there may really be a three star without any 10 points dish.
But he also couldn’t order everything in the menu. In the end, Jo Minjoon looked at Samuel anxiously. Samuel, that was putting on a bitter face at the good reviews mixed with a bit of bad ones, flinched at those eyes.
“…..Do you have something to tell me?”
“Um……Don’t you really have a menu that you think that we must eat?”
“Didn’t I tell you before. Each and every dish was made with the utmost effort. …..Is the flavor lacking?”
“No, it’s not that. Only….”
Jo Minjoon paused speaking. It was when he was about to say ‘I think that there was no dish that gave me a strong shock.’. He remembered the words Rachel had just said.
‘Although you have to win a dish through the flavor, what you think of before eating also becomes a big factor.’
He felt like the mist in his head was clearing up. Jo Minjoon looked at his plate. There was fried udon with crab meat and masala on top of the small plate.
The score was 9. It was a nice score. Before, he was amazed with just eating an 8 points dish, no, a 6 points one. However, was it because he just ate a lot of delicious things. His standards were elevated. No.
‘My standards…..were already set up.’
The people and the camera didn’t say a thing and looked at Jo Minjoon that was deep in his thoughts. It looked like he was thinking alone again. Although Jo Minjoon wasn’t aware himself, getting immersed in your own was seen as fastidious. Just like the culprit couldn’t understand, he was just like a person that was on a special and outstanding world. But at that moment, ironically enough, Jo Minjoon was blaming his stupidity.
He had thought. Always. That he wouldn’t get caught in the system. When he revealed the absolute taste while borrowing the strength of the system, he was determined to use the system as a tool, not to become dependent of it.
But, he was. Precisely speaking he was overcredulous. The cooking score could vary depending on the time, effort, recipe and technique…..Even when he knew that even when he had composed a recipe which could bring the best flavor, he could get a higher score. Even though he knew that simple dishes had low scores but could be more delicious than high scored dishes.
Even so, Jo Minjoon was obsessed with the score. Even when he discovered himself being like that he got surprised and said ‘this isn’t right’…… After that moment passed, he was being obsessed once again at the score.
It wasn’t that you had to ignore the score. You couldn’t get pulled in by it. Why did you get disappointed at the fact that there was no 10 points dishes. You couldn’t be like that.
Jo Minjoon raised his chopsticks again and slowly placed the fried udon on his tongue. The unique aroma of the masala melted down like ice cream, and the crunchy crab meat broke from between his teeth and at the same time soft because of his saliva. And beyond that, the udon that was hidden just like a turtle in its shell appeared.
It was a flavor he couldn’t feel until just now. Being impatient waiting for a 10 points dish to come out, and the prejudice that a 9 points dish wasn’t perfect. When those things disappeared……Even when it was the same dish, it was clearly felt differently.
‘Right. This……This was tasting.’
Jo Minjoon’s face brightened up.
[You have understood a basic of tasting!]
[Due to your broadened knowledge, the first condition to achieve tasting level 9 has been accomplished!]
< Global & Local (4) > End
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa