Venice. When hearing that word, many people may think about Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ And of course, they will think about it as the location in Italy.
Venice is definitely in Italy. However, the Venice Jo Minjoon is currently in was not in Italy, but in California, located in the West side of LA in the Santa Monica neighborhood. Beach. Although it may be expected to be lined up with fancy buildings and hotels, in reality, the neighborhood mainly consists of old villas and tiny apartments.
But that gave the neighborhood an odd but beautiful nature. People wearing swimsuits and casual outfits intermingled with each other, and many were on the bridge with no destination, enjoying fishing or hiking.
It was difficult to tell the tourists apart from the locals, and this gave the beach a mysterious feeling. Was it an illusion? Or was it real? The main store for Rose Island was located here on Venice Beach.
The main store was not that big. The height was close to a two story building, however, it was still just a one story building. The building could have been pulled out of ancient Greece, with its walls covered in white paint and the blue roof in the shape of a dome. The pillars resembled the Shrine of Olympus, and there was even an open balcony with windows decorated with wood.
If it was located anywhere else, it might look plain or even old-fashioned. However, paired together with Venice Beach, it was as if the building and the beach were helping to bring out the beauty of each other. Plus…
‘……Even those people are taking part.’
In front of the restaurant. Jo Minjoon had his hood on covering his face while looking at the crowd of people in front of the restaurant. He was afraid, thinking about having to push through that crowd, but he had no other choice. From what he had heard, even before Rachel came back to LA, people were gathering in front of the restaurant like that.
There were various types of people. The tourists who wanted to see the famed main store of Rose Island for themselves. Reporters who wanted to get an exclusive interview. And of course, hopeful chefs who wanted to gain Rachel’s approval and become her disciple.
It was at that moment. As Jo Minjoon hesitated before pushing through the crowd, a multiracial woman looked back quickly before her eyes opened wide.
“Uh, you …… Minjoon! You’re Minjoon, right?!”
“Wow, it really is Minjoon!”
“Can I take a selfie with you?”
With them smiling so happily while asking, it was difficult for him to say he was busy and decline. In the end, Jo MInjoon was caught in the crowd and forced to give out some signatures and take pictures. Of course, not everyone was like that, but even with only a small portion of them doing so, time quickly passed by. Furthermore, the reporters did not stay still either.
“Minjoon, how do you feel about working at Rachel’s restaurant?”
“There are many stories currently out about the opening date of Rose Island. Do you know the exact date?”
“How do you plan on organizing the kitchen personnel?”
Many questions poured out. Jo Minjoon avoided answering the questions by saying ‘there are many questions I cannot answer right now,’ before quickly walking to the entrance. He could hear the continued clicking of the cameras and the reporters’ questions continued to chase after his footsteps, but once he went through the door, they could no longer follow after him.
“Tsk. Tsk. Your problem is that you are too nice. Why do you deal with all that nonsense?”
He could hear Anderson’s voice. Jo Minjoon let out a tired sigh before entering the hall. Forty chairs were laid out without an owner. He didn’t realize how much he would appreciate this peacefulness.
“Where is Rachel?”
“In her office. Either way, did you do what I told you to do?”
“Yes, I signed up.”
“Hand over your ID.”
Anderson and Jo Minjoon were talking about the Starbook account that Minjoon kept pushing back from opening. Anderson briefly looked at Jo Minjoon’s settings before frowning.
“……You already have 800 fans?”
“Is that fast?”
Anderson did not answer. 800 people in just one day. It took him almost a whole week to get to that number. With a frown still on his face, Anderson pressed the top of his screen. A few moments later, a notification came up on Jo Minjoon’s cellphone.
- Minjoon has entered the chatroom.
[Hugo: Oh, Minjoon finally made a Starbook account.]
[Anderson: I made him do it.]
[Hugo: The number of his fans is no joke. He may even hit 1,000 by the end of the day.]
[Minjoon: This is quite odd. I’ve never chatted like this before.]
[Joanne: Minjoon! Nice to see you. Chatting like this makes me feel like I’m seeing you for real.]
[Minjoon: It sure does! It feels like we’re back in the competition.]
[Joanne: Should I tell you a secret? Kaya wins that competition!]
[Mijoon: Ohhhhhh, that’s surprising.]
Jo Minjoon laughed while looking at his phone. They had been in communication via calls or text, but having everybody in one chatroom felt different. Anderson snorted as he spoke.
“See, I told you you should open an account.”
“If you told me there was a group chat feature, I’m sure I would have opened it earlier.”
The reason Jo Minjoon created a Starbook account after all this time was because of this chatroom. This was 2010, before apps focused on chatting were created (TL: Hello? AIM was around way before 2010…and MSN Messenger…just to name a few…)
[Ivanna: I’m jealous. Both of you. I want to work at Rose Island too.]
[Minjoon: I am not working yet. There’s many things on the restaurant level we need to take care of before opening, and even when we open, I can’t work.]
[Joanne: Oh? Why?]
[Ivanna: Are you hurt?]
[Minjoon: No, nothing like that. It’s just an issue with my Visa. It’s going to take at least another 2 months or so for it to get approved.]
[Joanne: Then you just have a tourist visa right now?]
[Minjoon: Yup. So I can’t work right now.]
Although he didn’t currently have a paycheck, there was no issues with his everyday life. First of all, Jo Minjoon was currently living at Rachel’s house. If he had to buy something, he still didn’t have to worry. It wasn’t only because of the money he made appearing on Hunger Trip. In his wallet was a debit card Rachel had given him.
[Joanne: Either way, it must be great. Working with Rachel Rose! You’ve got it made, Minjoon.]
[Minjoon: I heard you were recently scouted to be a head chef. You can’t say that to me.]
[Joanne: It’s a small restaurant with five tables. I’m too embarrassed to call myself a head chef.]
[Minjoon: Don’t say that. No matter what anybody says, you are still a great head chef.]
[Ivanna: By the way, Kaya and Chloe aren’t here. I’m sure they would be happy i they knew Minjoon joined.]
The moment Chloe was mentioned, Jo Minjoon looked at his screen with an awkward expression. Then, even though they could not see him, he still fixed his expression. He was still in contact with Chloe, but seeing other people bringing up Chloe made him feel a little odd. (TL: I believe that is called a guilty conscience Minjoon. What have you been doing behind Kaya’s back?)
There was no news from Kaya lately either. At first, he thought she was angry because of the ‘you need to lose some weight’ comment Anderson forced him to say……but that’s probably not the only reason. She was having limited contact with everyone else as well.
[Anderson: She must be in the middle of filming. She’s busy lately.]
[Marco: Oh? Minjoon is here.]
[Joanne: You’re late, Marco.]
The two of them who were absorbed in their chat windows heard a stern voice behind them. The two of them slowly turned their heads around. There was an old man with his white hair combed over nicely who was looking at them with a cold gaze. Jo Minjoon and Anderson immediately stood up from their seats.
“Mr. Diaz, you’re here.”
Isaac Diaz was his name. Initially, he seems like a stern person who would be hard to deal with, and indeed, he was that way. The fact that Jo Minjoon still could not call him Isaac and called him Mr. Diaz should help explain just how difficult it was to talk to him.
“The head chef is calling you.”
Just because Isaac was hard to deal with did not mean that he was a bad person. He was just stiff. He would give soldiers in war a run for their money, and he was always sharp. You could tell that just by looking at his clothes. There were no wrinkles in the sleeves and the shirt was crisply ironed. Just as the color of grilled meat changes its taste, his clothes also showed his personality.
“Oh, you are here.”
“Yes, I brought them over.”
When he was in front of Rachel, he was like a little boy, or maybe a gentle grandfather. Hearing him talk like that was actually more foreign as the difference was pretty severe. It was to the point that Anderson and Minjoon who did not like to gossip, would gossip with each other about whether the feelings Isaac had for Rachel was a one sided crush.
It had already been four days since they arrived at LA, and since Hunger Trip ended. But Anderson and Jo Minjoon haven’t changed their routine much. To be specific, that was the case for Jo Minjoon. To him, LA was still a foreign area. Four days was a short amount of time to learn the area and it’s laws, as well as knowledge of daily life.
It was a different story for Anderson. He had grown up here ever since he was young. Anderson’s parents, Fabio and Amelia’s house and restaurant was only five minutes away from Rose Island’s Venice location. And that…….
“Oh, Rachel. You’ve already opened. Minjoon is here as well. It’s been a while.”
It meant that they could come to Rose Island whenever they wanted. Jo Minjoon answered in a stiff voice.
“……Hmm, it’s been about ten hours. Since I saw you when you came to take Anderson home last night.”
“It seems like I need to explain to you how long and valuable ten hours is. It’s enough time for a raw chicken breast placed in the Sous Vide machine to turn into an inexplanable treasure. And for a broth boiling in a pot……”
“Mom! Please! I’m begging you. Are you plan on nagging Minjoon like this now too?”
“Anderson. I’ve always been saying this to you. No matter how much you don’t want to listen, you can’t consider what your parents are saying to be nagging.”
Anderson let out a sigh. Then, like all children who have had to deal with their parents’ nagging, he just stopped responding. That was always quite an effective method. Amelia continued to talk to Anderson for a little bit longer before turning to Rachel.
“It’s amazing. There’s a ton of people setting up camp outside.”
“Half of them are here to see the place or old regulars. The other half are reporters or chefs. Lately, there are many people asking me to accept them even as a stage.”
Stage. If this was a company, it would be comparable to an intern. Cleaning, washing dishes, and even wiping off the chef’s sweat. The stage was a person who did chores like that. The problem was that even people who were qualified to be demi chefs at other restaurants were willing to degrade themselves as a stage to work here.
Jo Minjoon slightly headed towards the window and looked outside the front entrance. Then he expressed his admiration. There really was a lot of people gathered there. There were definitely at least fifty people.
‘Rachel teacher ……she really is amazing.’
“The two of you know what kind of teacher you are learning from right?”
Yes, I am still in awe about it.”
“But you should also be a bit worried. Rose Island, specifically, this Venice location, is known for overworking their chefs.”
“……Is that so?”
Jo Minjoon slyly looked at Rachel. Rachel was still looking at them with a calm expression, but why was it that it made him scared? Anderson opened his mouth.
“Anyways, why are you here right now? Even if it isn’t time to open yet, shouldn’t you start to prep?”
“Don’t worry. Your dad will go back soon to inspect things.”
“……What? Why do I need to go?”
Fabio responded as if this was the first time he was hearing about this. Amelia just silently glared at him. As Fabio made a sad expression and lowered his head as if he was admitting defeat, Rachel started to speak.
“I called them over. I needed a bridge.”
“There are quite a few people who are extremely angry with me. I needed someone to mediate for us.”
“……Can I ask who that person is?”
Rachel immediately answered Jo Minjoon’s cautious question. Of course it was a name Minjoon did not know. Rachel continued on in a slow, faint voice.
“He was the old pâtissier here.”
< Party Members Wanted (1) > End
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle