It was perplexing. He had no other choice but to be surprised. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect to see a food truck offering molecular gastronomy food.
It was then that Minjoon noticed the items laid out behind the man. A syringe used to squeeze sauce or fruit juice type of items inside ingredients. A foam maker used to make foam sauce. A rapid freezer called the pacojet, that can grind up any ingredient and turn it into ice cream or cold mousse.
Minjoon’s eyes were full of disbelief as he turned back to look at the man. He couldn’t fathom just what kind of person this was. The passenger door opened and the person got out of the truck. After taking a look at him Jo Minjoon let out a groan.
“……What is going on?”
“You’re smart. I’m sure you’ve already figured it out. Am I wrong?”
“I have figured out. But ……”
Jo Minjoon’s words were cut off by Ella’s tongue-tied exclamation. Jo Minjoon, no, both of them, were looking at Ella. After putting the spoon in her mouth, Ella had a joyful smile on her face. Ella then looked up while sucking on the spoon.
“Can you give me one more of this?”
“Hold on a minute. I will make you a different flavor.”
“Not for me, I want to give it to my mommy. But …… hmm …… I do want to try another flavor too.”
Jo Minjoon smiled as he put his spoon in Ella’s hand. Ella gasped and took in a deep breath.
You can take mine to her.”
“Ah, no. Uncle needs to eat it too. It’s really really tasty.”
“I’ll ask him for another one.”
Ella stared at the spoon for a bit as if she was unable to make up her mind before she opened her mouth. “Thank you, uncle.” Watching her walk back with her short legs, Jo Minjoon slowly started to speak.
“Nice to meet you, sous chef. My name is Jo Minjoon.”
“Let’s save the introductions for a little later. I prefer to introduce myself through cooking than speaking.”
To cook ice cream. Something was awkward about it, but Jo Minjoon understood. It was ice cream made using molecular gastronomy. Unless it was someone who was adamantly against molecular gastronomy, there was nobody who could claim this was not cooking.
Another spoon was placed in front of Jo Minjoon. The dish was an 8 point dish. Even if it is molecular gastronomy, it was just sherbet and carbonated cherry. It was easy to wonder how you could get such a high point dish with just these two ingredients, but the moment he put it in his mouth, his thoughts changed completely.
At first, he thought it was probably mojito or apple ice cream. But what he tasted was completely different than what he expected. First of all, speaking just about the sherbet, it wasn’t that sweet. The texture was soft, but the taste was instead slightly salty. And the taste that was subtle but present was ……
“I heard you were the best in the world at least in guessing ingredients;now I know it must be true.”
“I have never even considered making ice cream out of asparagus……I’ve never tasted anything like this.”
If it was just asparagus, it might have tasted a bit bland. It might have been refreshing, but not enough to call an ice cream. But the carbonated cherry on top brought everything together. The sweetness hit your tongue at the same time as the carbonation, which made the asparagus sherbet taste like a refreshing herb cream.
It made sense for little Ella to think it was tasty. Jo Minjoon nodded his head as he started to speak.
“It’s like dipping ice cream in a sauce. It’s definitely a unique creation.”
“That is why many people keep calling me a genius.”
The man smiled with a confident expression. It was about the time he got off the truck and reached his hand out to Minjoon.
There was a creaking noise from behind them, and footsteps started to approach them. Ella, who was holding the spoon like a cane in her hand, was in the lead, and the kitchen family were coming out behind her. Anderson started to speak.
“Teacher, you are here. That means that this person here ……”
The person who said the name was not Rafael himself. It was Janet. She asked in a somewhat moaning voice.
“Are you …… our sous chef?”
“Rafael Yoon. Chairman of the Food Truck Chef Association …… The most innovative food truck owner-chef. Originally started cooking at the Arjo Hotel Restaurant La Guarde ……why are there so many descriptors for him?”
“It just means he’s managed to succeed.”
Anderson answered shortly. Jo Minjoon read through all of Rafael’s experiences that popped up on his smartphone. While attending Culinary School, he decided they were bringing down his efficiency and dropped out to become an apprentice in his neighborhood restaurant. As he was about to become a prep cook there, he moved immediately to a hotel, and after only a few years as a sous chef there, he left there as well.
He then started a food truck. That was the moment the name Rafael Yoon reached the level of ‘Star Chef.’ Rafael used the food truck as a means to bring molecular gastronomy, something many people were curious about, straight to the people.
Of course the results were successful. Many people were interested in molecular gastronomy, but the majority of molecular gastronomy dishes were only found in fancy restaurants. There was no other option. The cost of molecular gastronomy equipment played a factor, but that was not the main reason. There were not many chefs who had properly studied molecular gastronomy, and there was no way those rare chefs would work in a mediocre restaurant.
In that aspect, Rafael Yoon’s ‘Molecular Ice Cream’ was quite refreshing. Setting the price to match the market made the amount of food you received small, but ice cream was not a dish you ate to get full in the first place. At first, people came to his truck because they were curious about molecular gastronomy, and as the name Rafael Yoon became popular, they stopped by with interest in him as a person.
“……What a rollercoaster of a life.”
“Now our restaurant is a part of that roller coaster.”
“I wonder what the reason is.”
Janet, who had been quietly listening to the two of them talk, started to mumble in a quiet voice. Janet spoke in a somewhat embarrassed voice.
“Looking at his experience, he just looks like someone who does whatever he wants to do.
“But he needs to have a reason for choosing Rose Island. He is someone who has managed to succeed with the food truck. He is someone who probably has no problem deciding from offers to become the head chef at many restaurants, so why is he coming here even at the cost of his beloved food truck? Even more weird is that it is as a sous chef. Shouldn’t there be some type of reason for going on such an adventure?”
Jo Minjoon started to think hard at Janet’s question. There was only one answer he could come up with.
“To learn from Teacher Rachel. I cannot think of any other reason.”
Jo Minjoon said that as he looked toward the office. Rafael had walked straight into the office once he entered the restaurant. Javier was in front of the door trying to eavesdrop on the conversation, but it didn’t seem like he could hear anything. If he could, he wouldn’t have kept his ear on the door when Isaac suddenly opened it. As Isaac stared him down with a cold gaze, Javier started to awkwardly laugh.
“Uh …… how did the conversation go?”
“Mr. Javier. Just what are you doing here?”
“It’s okay, Isaac. It’s something they will end up hearing anyways. Everybody, come over this way.”
Rachel motioned to them. Once everybody gathered together, Rachel smiled as she started to speak.
“As mentioned earlier, Rafael will be taking on the role of sous chef. Finally our kitchen is in balance. Now that that is settled, we can start to take care of the homework that has been piling up for a while.”
“When you say homework, perhaps ……”
Janet started to speak with a voice full of anticipation. Rachel nodded her head.
“Yes. It is time to determine your sections. At the same time, we also need to decide which prep cooks you will be partnering with.
Everybody’s ears perked up at Rachel’s comments. For the demi chefs, because of the section they will be responsible for, and for the prep cooks, the demi chefs they will be working with. Everybody was edgy because of that. It was especially complicated for Jo Minjoon. Not because of the arguments that will happen for the section. It was because he had still not made up his mind about the section he wanted to do. Pasta. Or main? He didn’t even consider molecular gastronomy. Rafael looked toward them before asking a question.
“Let me ask something first. Is there anybody here who is interested in molecular gastronomy?”
None of the demi chefs answered his question. In fact, they tried to avoid eye contact with him. Rafael continued on with a disappointed voice.
“Chef. Didn’t I say so? These days, everybody has this desire to reject molecular gastronomy. It’s not a bad type of food, it is also an area where you can mold your soul as a chef.”
“Yes. I know. So relax.”
Rafael was blurting out his disappointment, but soon, he looked down with a disappointed expression. His emotions seem to change quite quickly. Maybe it was this aspect of his personality that made him never stay at any one place for too long. Rachel continued to speak.
“I thought hard about how to assign your sections. And as usual, there was only one answer. No matter what, chefs must speak with their skills!”
“Are you talking about a face off?”
“Similar. You will all learn his cooking from Rafael. Not only the demi chefs, but the prep cooks as well. At the same time, you will be learning from me as well.”
“……Teacher, you will be doing molecular gastronomy as well?”
Anderson asked in a surprised voice. Although no one else had said it, all of their expressions were similar. Rachel was someone who had been cooking traditional dishes for her whole life. Even if the majority of the recently popular fancy restaurants relied on the help of molecular gastronomy, that was when the head chef was decently young. Most chefs like Rachel who had been researching traditional cooking for a long time did not like adjusting to change that much.
Rachel nodded her head.
“I wasn’t just playing around for the last ten years. I was focused on cooking, more than I had ever done so, in order to bring out a fantastic flavor. Molecular gastronomy was no exception.
Jo Minjoon was moaning internally. He liked that Rachel had researched molecular gastronomy. But the problem was the reason she did so. Rachel had always seen her husband’s cooking as the epitome for her to reach. But if she couldn’t close the gap using molecular gastronomy for food from a time when molecular gastronomy had not even been developed……would that still be human cooking?
‘Cooking …… of the gods probably.’
Then Daniel was no different than a living God of Cooking. With his cooking level like that, Daniel’s shadow probably feels even bigger than it actually was when he was still alive. Rather than thinking there was a person whose dishes you couldn’t imitate or even imagine ……it was easier to believe he was a god.
Clap. The sound of a clap brought him out of his thoughts. Rachel looked at each and every one of them before speaking.
“There are three rules in my kitchen. First is to make sure we gift our customers with a taste they can only taste in their dreams. Second is to never forget our gratitude for our customers. And third, the final rule, is to never stop changing. So that nobody can get tired of our food. We can’t just leave molecular gastronomy out of the changes we have to overcome.”
“Even if you don’t end up in the molecular gastronomy section, you will need to understand how molecular cooking is done and how to properly bring out the flavor. Although the dishes you will touch will only be the dishes in your section, each dish cannot be on its own. Cooking is not about the individual plates, but the overall course. Do you understand what I am saying?”
Jo Minjoon answered first, and the rest shouted in unison right after. Rafael took his time looking at each of the demi chefs, and once he arrived in front of Jo Minjoon, he stopped and casually asked.
“So. What do you think? Do you still have no desire to be in charge of the molecular gastronomy section?”
Jo Minjoon responded.
“None at all.”
<The Person Who Showed Up on a Truck (2)>
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
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