“I told you I wasn’t going to. If you keep fooling around, I’m going to punch you.”
Kaya said that as she stretched her fist and punched his shoulder. Jo Minjoon rubbed his shoulder as he looked at her with a look of disbelief.
“Who hits while giving a warning?”
“Don’t fret over the small stuff. Anyways, how was today?”
“It’s the same for me every day. Learn molecular gastronomy from the Head Chef and Sous Chef, research, try to develop a recipe……Ah. I really want to head the main or pasta station. What would you want?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think I would hate molecular gastronomy. It would be fun.”
“It’ll definitely be fun. It’ll feel like doing a science experiment too. But how do I put this? It doesn’t feel like I’m cooking……and I want to focus more on the basics. That is why I have no desire to win at this recipe battle.”
“Let’s rest a bit.”
Kaya stopped walking and plopped down on a bench as she started to catch her breath. As Jo Minjoon sat down next to her, Kaya slowly leaned her head on Minjoon’s shoulder and hugged him. Jo Minjoon spoke in a nervous voice.
“Hey, what if someone sees us……”
“Who cares about that? I’m hugging my man.”
“But this is too much.”
“Oh, but casually kissing in the cafe wasn’t too much? You made the picture of a twenty-ish year old girl kissing a man spread throughout the internet.”
Kaya lifted her head to look at Minjoon before putting her cheek back on his neck. Jo Minjoon sighed as he replied.
“You provoked me quite a bit that day. You made it so I couldn’t maintain my rationality.”
“What. Then it wasn’t rationality but a kiss done on instinct. Is that it?”
“Let’s not call it instinct but emotion.”
Kaya looked up toward Minjoon. Jo Minjoon looked down at her before speaking in a tired voice.
“You look really ugly right now.”
“Watch your mouth. I am your girlfriend. I don’t expect a Romeo or a Hamlet, so how about at least showing Werther’s level of purity?” 
“If you are talking about The Sorrows of Young Werther, isn’t that the one where the main character has a one-sided, unrequited love before committing suicide?”
“Yes. So how about being a little more thankful. You don’t need to love me without me loving you back, hmm …… nor face an ending like that.”
“I am more shocked before I am thankful. When did you read a book like that? It is a classic so it should have been difficult to read.”
At his words, Kaya smirked before taking her smartphone out. After reading the lines on the screen, Jo Minjoon made a disgusted expression. There was information about all sorts of classic literature and masterpieces summarized in two to three lines. Taking The Sorrows of Young Werther for example, it stated, ‘Goethe’s novel, the main character has a one-sided, unrequited love before committing suicide.’
“……What is this?”
“How to transform into an educated person in just 5 minutes, page 1.”
Kaya laughed as she answered. Jo Minjoon showed no response and just looked quietly at Kaya.
Kaya pouted before putting her smartphone away.
“I haven’t learned anything. Everybody just ignores me. So I wanted to show that I am not as stupid as you all think I am! I wanted to be able to say that…… was I being stupid?”
“More like I’m curious. You care enough to look up that type of stuff, but why don’t you have any thoughts about actually reading the book?”
“You said it yourself. It will be difficult. Anyways, I want to give you some advice as well. Molecular gastronomy. Won’t it be easy to just think of it this way? Just like this shortened the information of the book, molecular gastronomy is just bringing the uniqueness of each ingredient out. I have no confidence in understanding classical literature even if I read it. That is why I need the summary like this. I’m sure there will be those type of people. Those type of customers.”
Jo Minjoon quietly paid attention to what Kaya was saying. Kaya continued as if she was whispering. Her voice and breath approached him and started to tickle his chin.
“I know my man. If there is a customer, no matter what the situation is, he is the type to put in his whole effort in the dish. So don’t even worry about the chance of ending up in the molecular gastronomy section. And that mission. Push yourself to win it. I don’t want you to lose to anybody other than myself.”
“I already lost to Anderson though?”
“Ah, really. Why would you talk about him. It’s just a saying. Just a saying. Can’t even tell the atmosphere……”
Kaya’s words were cut off. Jo Minjoon lightly kissed her and started to smile. Kaya turned red as she pulled her shirt up to her nose to cover her mouth and looked around.
“Hey! What are you doing when there are so many people?”
Jo Minjoon smiled.
“Who cares about other people looking? I’m choosing to kiss my woman.”
“……That makes you sound like a player.”
“I just repeated your words back to you.”
“The nuance between hugging and kissing are completely different! Sob sob, I’m worried. There’s no girl following you around in the kitchen saying she likes you, is there?”
He wanted to say there wasn’t, but Ella’s face popped up in his mind and his mouth stopped. Kaya did not miss that moment and started to glare.
“It’s a 6 year old little girl. Don’t worry.”
“How can I not …… …… she’s six?”
Kaya now looked at Minjoon like he was a criminal. Jo Minjoon looked at Kaya as if to ask why she was like that. Kaya looked like she didn’t want to be an accomplish and shouted in a whisper.
“I know you like younger girls, but isn’t that too much? I’m only 18 and now a six year old……!”
“Rather than saying I like younger girls, I think it is more like I am popular with the younger girls.”
“I need to make a mark saying you are mine. Where should I stamp?”
Jo Minjoon scratched his head before answering.
“If you want the help of the law, I guess a marriage license?”
Kaya herself did not now this, but Minjoon did not just treat the words coming out of her mouth as that of his girlfriend’s. The words of someone who was always a role model to Minjoon, it was no different than a teaching moment. He wanted to be a good chef. He wanted to be like Kaya.
That is why Jo Minjoon stopped calculating. The only thinking that needed to happen with ingredients in front of him was figuring out a recipe. That type of mindset was clearly visible from the way he was now treating molecular gastronomy. His expression was more focused than ever before, and his hands moved quickly. Rachel asked with a slightly confused expression.
“You seem to be focusing more than usual. Are you finally finding molecular gastronomy to be fun?”
“It was fun from the beginning. However, the fact that I would be stuck with molecular gastronomy for a while if I won was frustrating me ……but I’m just going to throw those types of thoughts away. I believe in you, teacher Rachel, and sous chef Rafael. I have faith in myself as well. Not only will my skills in molecular gastronomy go up, my understanding of real cooking can go up as well. I’m sure the two of you will guide me to make that happen.
Rachel just started to smile at Minjoon’s words. Anderson, who was standing nearby, snorted as he started to speak.
“That is only if you win.”
“You honestly have no desire to win. Isn’t that right?”
Anderson showed a guilty expression at Minjoon’s question. It was not just Anderson. Janet and Javier were the same. All three of them wanted to handle traditional cooking over molecular gastronomy. Janet spoke in her usual indifferent voice.
“Seeing as how you are talking like that, it looks like you now have a reason to win?”
“It is a battle. Why do we have battles? Of course it is to win.”
“……You call that a reason.”
Jo Minjoon nodded his head. Janet looked at him like she could not understand him. Javier let out a fake cough.
“Fine. I will give you first place. But I must take second.”
“……You mean second from the back, right?”
“Of course it is second from the front.”
Janet, Anderson, and Javier all fiercely glared at one another. Rafael, who had been watching the three of them, spoke in an upset voice.
“Don’t be so blunt about your dislike of molecular gastronomy. It’s so tasty.”
“It is tasty, but extremely annoying. Plus, it is not tastier than traditional cooking. It is a different kind of taste.”
“You need to know the value of that difference!”
“I didn’t say I don’t know the value of it.”
Janet answered in a calm voice. Rafale looked like he wanted to shout, but just sighed and closed his mouth.
Jo Minjoon stopped paying attention to them and focused back on the dish he was making.
Jelly had a more extensive history than expected. The ancient Romans solidified meat and broth to eat it in jelly form. And a new method that was created from molecular gastronomy was using agar.
Compared to jelly made from gelatin, jelly made from agar was more chewy, but also felt like it could break apart easier …… almost like the texture of noodles.
Jo Minjoon’s recipe was simple. First, grind garlic, basil, and onion into a chicken broth, and add agar, salt, pepper and other seasoning before boiling it. Then put that in a syringe to squeeze it into a silicon tube the thickness of a spaghetti noodle, and let the tube cool down in cold water.
The next part was the most difficult part. It was also the part that seemed to be the furthest away from cooking. Fill the syringe with air, and put it in the tube to use the air and push the jelly spaghetti noodle out.
On a quick glance, it could look funny like he was conducting an experiment, but Jo Minjoon was more focused than ever. First he needed to squeeze the needle with the tube to prevent air from seeping out, and then he needed to carefully squeeze the air so that the noodle did not break.
“……It is complete.”
Jo Minjoon looked at the noodle with a proud expression. It was a transparent noodle with a green tint. But this was not the end. He had to put it back in the fridge and let it ferment for another 24 hours. After that, anything was possible. He could add any type of ingredient he wanted, and as long as the temperature did not go past 80 degrees, it could be served warm as well.
Nobody knew when she showed up, but Ella was looking toward them with a black expression. To be more specific, she was looking at the jelly spaghetti Minjoon was making. Jo Minjoon shook his head.
“Ella. I’m sorry, but I can’t give you this right now. Tomorrow, after it finishes fermenting, I can give it to you.”
Ella nodded while almost drooling. Anderson looked at that with an amused expression.
“Looks like you are going to present this as your menu item for the battle. Am I right?”
“Isn’t it fun? Normally, you would have to chew the noodle along with other ingredients, but with this, all you have to do is chew the noodle to feel all of the ingredients. I think this type of recipe is what makes molecular gastronomy fun.”
“You need to eat it to know whether it is fun or not.”
But it was something Jo Minjoon made. Anderson was already certain that this dish was going to be fun. At least the Jo Minjoon he had been watching until now was a genius when it came to coming up with recipes. He was comparable to head chefs in that aspect. There was no recipe that Jo Minjoon came up with that wasn’t delicious.
That wasn’t only because Jo Minjoon used the system’s abilities to check the estimated score of a dish. These days, when he checked the estimated score of a dish, there were rarely any time that it fell below 7 points. That showed just how hard he had been working. When it came to holding the pan and knife, his cooking level may only be a 7, but if you consider only the creativity in coming up with recipes……Jo Minjoon may already be far ahead of Anderson.
Although Anderson could not see the system, he felt something similar. Jo Minjoon’s creativity was becoming more sophisticated and meticulous. Sometimes it was to the point that it scared him. Anderson quietly started to speak.
“The recipe battle, do you have any confidence in winning?”
“Can an athlete who goes into the ring without any confidence beat their opponent?”
“…… This feels weird. I want to tell you to win, but I also don’t want to lose on purpose to let you win.”
“Lose on purpose? Yeah right. More like you’ll just end up losing.”
Anderson did not answer and just turned around with a complicated expression before heading to his countertop. Although the prize for first place was not something he wanted, he didn’t seem to want to lose to Jo Minjoon either.
Janet and Javier were feeling pretty similar. They each headed to their countertops and diligently started to ponder about their recipes. Rafael clenched his fist and hugged Minjoon before kissing Minjoon’s cheek. Jo Minjoon was grossed out and backed away. Rafael smiled as he started to speak.
“Thank you Minjoon. You were a good stimulant for them.”
“……Must you show your thanks through a kiss?”
“Sometimes, I need to act like a white person like this.”
“If my girlfriend saw it, she would have thrown a good punch.”
“At you? Or at me?”
Jo Minjoon smiled instead of responding. It was a meaningful smile. Rafael started to shake in fear.
“You must be dating quite the feisty woman.”
Jo Minjoon shrugged his shoulders.
“She is a woman who is like the MSG of my life.”
<The Person Who Showed Up on a Truck (4)> End
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
Sponsored chapters for God of Cooking are available! Thank you in advance for your support!