[Chicken Jelly Spaghetti]
Origin: (There are too many ingredients, so it is hidden)
Cooking Score: 7/10
‘7 points with just the noodle.’
Jo Minjoon put the jelly spaghetti that finished fermenting in his mouth. He could feel the elasticity of jelly, but since it was jelly made with agar, the softness worked with the elasticity to give it the chewy texture like a normal noodle. If you focus just on the texture, it might even be difficult to tell whether it was a noodle or jelly.
Just eating the noodle by itself tasted like a decent dish. It had to be that way. Already inside the noodle wasn’t grains but chicken broth and basil, pepper, salt, etc. Janet, who was standing nearby, stealthily put Jo Minjoon’s spaghetti in her mouth and her eyes opened up a little wider. Jo Minjoon smirked as he asked.
“How is it. Tasty?”
“……It’s good, but.”
Janet had a slightly uncomfortable expression as she looked toward the spaghetti. Jo Minjoon understood the meaning of her gaze.
“Something is missing.”
“First, there needs to be some type of garnish that will add a crispy texture. Sprinkle some olive oil, but not add any other herbs since the flavors of the ingredients inside are already strong.”
Although she didn’t have casual conversations that often, Janet tended to talk a lot when it was related to cooking. There was only one other reason for her to talk. Janet turned her head as she started to speak.
“Ella, do you want to eat this?”
“She says she wants to.”
Jo Minjoon started to laugh at Janet’s gaze that seemed to be asking why he wasn’t giving it to Ella yet. Ella put her chin on the countertop and looked past the dish with sparkling eyes. Seeing the light green noodle, Ella opened her mouth and started to admire it, with her chin still on the countertop.
“It looks like jelly!”
“It is spaghetti made from jelly.”
“Make spaghetti with jelly? Then do I put tomato sauce on it?”
“You can…… but it probably won’t taste good.”
Jo Minjoon answered with an expression that said he couldn’t really imagine that taste. Janet brought over some tomato paste and started to speak.
“It’s not tomato sauce, but try dipping it. You’ll at least be able to tell the taste.”
Of course it was bad. Jo Minjoon shook his head as he started to speak.
“I need to either just put this out as cold pasta, or make it using a vegetable broth instead of a chicken broth and then add some seafood. That might be a better way.”
“If you are done contemplating, I want you to try my dish.”
“You supposedly have absolute taste. Although you are a competitor, I should use whatever is available. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“Give it to me.”
Jo Minjoon snatched the dish from Janet’s hand. Janet’s dish was a ravioli. But if there was anything different than a regular ravioli, the dough was transparent and as thin as a plastic bag. It was a molecular gastronomy method called film, made with starch and lecithin.
On first glance you might think of the rice paper used in Vietnamese Spring Rolls, but it was so much thinner to be compared to it, and melted easily in your mouth. What Janet had put inside was thinly sliced peanuts and a vegetable broth that was seasoned and then chilled.
When it comes to molecular gastronomy, the slightest mistake in ratio leads to failure. Which means, any successful molecular gastronomy dish had no choice but to receive high points. But Jo Minjoon had an odd expression on his face after eating Janet’s ravioli.
‘Compared to the points of the dish, it’s not as good as I expected.’
“……What. Is it bad?”
“Rather than saying it is bad …… should I call it mechanical?”
Hearing that it was not human, Janet’s eyes started to shake. Jo Minjoon quickly waved his hand as he continued.
“I am not saying that about you at all. What I am trying to say is … I feel like you focused a lot on making a great dish. There is a difference between cooking well and a tasty dish. You know what I mean?”
“But don’t focus too much on it because it is not terrible.”
“If it was you……”
Janet’s lips quivered. She wanted to say something, but it seemed to be hard to actually get herself to say it. But Jo Minjoon did not urge her to continue. He was used to waiting. He was used to listening to other people’s silence. He was that type of person.
In the end, that endurance let Janet finally start to speak.
“If it was you, how would you have done it?”
The moment he heard what Janet had to say, he could understand why Janet hesitated so much. She was normally stiff and pretty rough. In some aspects, she was even worse than Kaya. For someone like her to ask Jo Minjoon a cooking related question, it probably was not easy for her pride and personality to allow.
Jo Minjoon responded with a serious expression. Since Janet made such a difficult decision to ask, he couldn’t just give a simple answer. Jo Minjoon ripped apart and fixed the recipe tens of times in his head. What he was focused on wasn’t the points, but the taste.
The taste from his imagination wouldn’t be completely accurate, but the transferability has been going up slowly. As proof of that, these days, the tastes he imagine as he comes up with recipes were not much different than the end result. It was proof that his intuition regarding taste was getting higher.
“If it was me, I would have used cornstarch instead of potato starch to start. It wouldn’t be as transparent, but the feeling when it touches the tongue should be better. As for the broth ……the lightness of the vegetable broth doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with the oily taste of the peanut. Wouldn’t a fish broth be better?”
“……You thought about a lot in a short amount of time.”
“This is our job. I need to do at least this much. But it seems like you are slowly starting to want to win.”
“Nothing has changed about my desire to work appetizers. Still, even if 2nd place is the best situation…..I also don’t want to lose.”
Jo Minjoon started to laugh.
“I’m the same way.”
Ten days was not a long time. At least for molecular gastronomy beginners trying to come up with a proper ‘menu’ recipe, it was an extremely short amount of time.
There was no need to even discuss the prep cooks. Their homework everyday was to recreate the recipes Rachel came up with that day, and that could be traditional cooking or molecular gastronomy. In addition to that, they had a more important problem than digesting those menus. That was ……
“Who sharpened my knife?”
Anderson shouted in an irritated voice. The prep cooks looked at each other. The one to step forward was Maya, a Hispanic woman who still had some baby fat on her cheeks. She cautiously started to speak.
“I sharpened it. It seemed to be missing some teeth……”
“You said you were from Great Cuisine; do they just touch other people’s knives however they want over there? Don’t do it unless you are asked to do so! I hate other people touching my knife.”
“Yes, chef! I’m very sorry!”
It looked like she was trying to earn some points, but all she got was anger. Her fellow prep cook, Gerrick, clicked his tongue as he started to speak.
“Tsk. Tsk. If you are going to sharpen knives like that, you should have sharpened chef Minjoon or chef Javier’s knives. The two of them would have been thankful. I could have told you that.”
“……I don’t know. I’m doomed.”
Maya mumbled with a devastated expression. An African man originally from Kenya, Fred, whispered in a quiet voice not fitting his large body.
“It’s fine. Even if you don’t try to earn points from them, if you end up working with them, they’re definitely going to treat you well. Just hope you don’t end up unlucky and work for chef Janet or chef Anderson. They’re going to be really harsh.”
Among the prep cooks, the two of them were the current list of people to avoid. In Anderson’s case, he had been showing a rough side from the beginning. Of course he needed to be stern to make sure the prep cooks focus and cook properly, but they were afraid about how harsh he would be once the restaurant officially opened.
As for Janet, she wasn’t the type to raise her voice like Anderson, but if you make a mistake, she’ll glare at you to the point you’ll be scared to death. Maya let out a sigh as she started to speak.
“When I become a demi chef, I won’t be like the two of them. I’ll treat my prep cooks nicely.”
“I want to work for chef Minjoon.”
“But chef Minjoon has a hidden tough side too. Of course it is much better compared to the other two. I like chef Javier because he is nice.”
“It’s because you haven’t properly experienced it that you are saying that. It is those chefs who are the scariest when you are actually working. It’s probably better to get cursed at by chef Anderson.”
The person saying that was Antonio, a young man who had flew all the way here from Italy just for Rose Island.
Maya looked toward Antonio and asked.
“So you are saying you like chef Anderson, is that it?”
“In the end, the only chef that nobody wants to work for is chef Janet.”
“Chef Janet is …… she feels like she’s full of venom. When you are next to her, I feel like I can’t breathe because I am so nervous.”
Gerrick let out a sigh at Antonio’s words.
“What good is it going to do for us to talk like this? In the end, the demi chefs have the power to select us.”
It was just as he said. Based on the results of the molecular gastronomy mission, Rachel announced that the demi chefs would also get prep cook selection orders.
Maya groaned before speaking.
“I think chef Minjoon will win. The jelly spaghetti he has been making lately, it is so hard for me to follow. Matching the density is hard, pushing the air in the tube with the syringe is hard……”
“If you think about it, the chefs are new to molecular gastronomy just like us, so why are they better than us?”
“Because their foundations are strong, their dexterity is good too. Anyways, it makes sense for the other chefs, but chef Minjoon is really amazing. How could he have such skills at 21…… it’s not like he has kitchen experience from somewhere else.”
“That just means he worked hard on his own.”
Jo Minjoon’s abilities were quite often a talking point for them. It was because most of them were similar, or a bit older than he was. Anderson was a bit older than Jo Minjoon, and had been gaining experience due to the influence of his parents since he was young, so they could accept.
But Jo Minjoon was younger than Anderson, and of course did not have as much experience as Anderson. But his abilities weren’t much different than Anderson’s, so they all respected him while envying his abilities at the same time.
“……I wonder if they know they’re not controlling their voices right now.”
Jo Minjoon whispered to Anderson who was next to him. The four prep cooks had forgotten to control their voices starting from the middle of the conversation, and were talking at a level that they could all hear. Anderson snorted as he responded.
“You must be happy. You’re a respected supervisor.”
“So why do you act so rough……”
“I was born to be like a disney villain, so what can I do?”
He grumbled and answered as if he was joking, but there was a visible nervousness in his eyes. It made sense. Ten days had passed. That meant that soon, they would need to battle.
The battle method introduced by Rachel was simple. They would travel around in a food truck and show their molecular gastronomy dishes to the public. It was not based on who sold the most. They would find random people to try all four of their dishes and have them vote.
Jo Minjoon took out a decently fermented jelly pasta from the fridge. It wasn’t just spaghetti. He had a blue colored ravioli filled with fruits, and a red colored lasagna. This was what he came up with after hearing Janet say something was missing.
Increasing the variety. The disappointing part was that everything was compressed into one. But it wasn’t like he could give up on the compressed nature. So the only answer was to increase the types. Anderson, who was next to him, looked at it with a bitter expression.
“……Should I have made different ones too?”
“Mine looks like many, but they’re all tied together under the category of jelly pasta.”
“That is true, but……”
“You want 2nd place anyways. Then won’t it be better for me to safely take 1st place?”
“You talk like you’re guaranteed to be 1st place.”
“Kaya told me not to lose.”
“……You must have a screw loose. Do you like Kaya that much?”
Anderson spoke as if he could not understand. Jo Minjoon had an expression that seemed to be saying ‘why are you asking the obvious’ before he answered.
“There’s no reason not to like her. She’s nice, cute, pretty, cooks well, and talented. Wow. Now that I think about it, she’s amazing. Just what it is that my girlfriend lacks?”
Anderson grabbed his forehead, as if it was too tiring to even respond. He then closed his eyes and started to mutter as if he was praying.
‘Lord. Please forgive my friend. He seems crazy, but he’s not crazy.”
“Since you are not saying anything, you must be amazed as well. See, Kaya really is the perfect girlfriend.”
Jo Minjoon continued. Anderson closed his eyes again.
‘……I’m sorry. I lied. He really is crazy.’
<Taking the Initiative (1)> End
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Miraclerifle
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