“There is no need to be nervous. However, you cannot be relaxed either. Everyone is paying attention to us right now. All you have to do is make those uncertain gazes change their minds at once.”
Jo Minjun just quietly nodded his head at Rafael’s statement. The request was simple. Right now, they did not need PR; what they needed was verification. In fact, if you considered everything, there really was no point to any additional PR.
Grand Chef Runner-Up Anderson. Absolute Taste Jo Minjun. Creator of Molecular Gastronomy Food Truck, Rafael Yoon. Plus the Memorable Legend Rachel Rose. There probably weren’t many restaurants throughout the United States to have so many famous people working together.
What Rachel wanted to do was destroy the question ‘How great can they be?’ And winning this competition would be a strong statement to show their level.
The rules of the competition were simple. 4 people in one team. The cooking category was team’s choice. The time limit was 30 minutes. The demi chef all had casual expressions as Rachel explained the details. Well, to be specific, until Rachel said the following.
“The four of you will be the ones to participate in the competition.”
Even Jo Minjun could not help but be surprised at her words. His jaw dropped as he looked towards Rachel. Javier started to speak in a nervous voice.
“But there is no such restriction in the rules. Wouldn’t the other restaurants send their best four, regardless of whether they were demi chefs or sous chefs?”
“There are places that send their best like that. For some of them, they might not have the numbers to do anything else. However, that is not the case for us. Rafael and I will be doing more with our eyes and mouth than our hands. The four of you will be the ones to cook all of the food. That is why the four of you have to represent us in the competition as well. The food that you make in the competition is the food that our customers will be eating.”
It made sense. Jo Minjun was in awe. He wondered if that stubborn will to not compromise was what helped Rose Island get as large as it did. The other demi chefs still had expressions that made it seem like they could not accept it. Jo Minjun slowly started to speak.
“Did you send demi chefs in the past as well?”
“Those kids have never lost even once.”
Thankfully, Rachel did not leave the recipe up to the demi chefs as well. It was normal. Rachel had said that the demi chefs were the ones to participate because they would be the ones to actually cook in the kitchen.
While the demi chefs cook in the kitchen, the majority of the recipe development was Rachel’s responsibility. That was why it made sense that the recipe for the competition came from Rachel’s head as well.
There was less than half a month left until the competition. Maybe that was why, but Rachel was being extremely strict compared to her normal style. If it looked like you were about to get something even slightly wrong, Rachel immediately came to you and shouted sternly.
“Move your hand. Even if you put that in the frying pan, it’ll just end up as fried trash.”
“Think that the hall over there is full of customers. You pretty much just told a customer to wait 20 more minutes!”
“If this is all you got, I won’t have anything to say when the Epicureans will say that Rose Island is now only a shell of its past.”
Maybe it was because the real game had started now. The usually gentle Rachel had completely disappeared to the point that we could barely even remember it existed. That was how rough she was right now.
What they were making was a four-course meal. Appetizer, pasta, main, and dessert. Jo Minjun was responsible for the dessert. At the same time, he was also the team captain. The reason that he became the team captain out of the four of them was simple.
‘You have the best sense when it comes to molecular gastronomy. That is why you have to be the team captain.’
It was not a nice explanation, but it made sense. Jo Minjun’s dessert was not the only dish to feature molecular gastronomy methods. Anderson’s pasta, well to be more specific, other than his gnocchi, the rest of the dishes were all influenced by molecular gastronomy.
What he had learned under Rachel’s guidance was that her control of the kitchen, as well as her attention to everything going on, was so perfect it was scary. In fact, her leadership was almost more respectable than her cooking skills.
Although the four chefs were cooking apart from each other, Rachel was like a ghost. She knew exactly when any of them made even the slightest of errors. If someone messed up the proportions of the ingredients, Rachel could even instantly state which ingredient it was and even how much of it they were off.
‘……At her level, it is pretty much the same as the system.’
The thing that Jo Minjun was most satisfied with the system ability he had was that it was able to immediately recognize any errors. It was easier to resolve issues if you know what is wrong while you are cooking, rather than being told what was wrong once you finished.
Furthermore, Jo Minjun could use the estimated cooking score to determine the best course of action. It was an advantage that no other chef in the world could have. Well, that’s what he thought.
But the moment he became Rachel’s disciple, he had to get rid of that idea. Rachel was the perfect mentor. She gave you the advice you needed most when you needed it the most.
With a mentor like her, even without the system, their growth should not be much slower than Jo Minjun. But Jo Minjun was not anxious. He did not wish to stand at the top by himself. What he wanted was for no one to fall behind and for everyone that he loved to run side by side. Being at the top together rather than alone. Jo Minjun preferred something like that.
“……This is so tiring.”
Just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean that it is not tiring. Javier stuck his tongue out like a dog as he plopped down into a chair in the hall. Ella, who had just come back from kindergarten, took a vitamin candy out of her cute children’s backpack and held it up. She started to speak in a concerned voice.
“Is it really hard? It’ll be better if you eat this.”
“Does that solve any problems?”
“Yes. Mommy says she’s not tired at all if she eats this. She also gets completely better if Ella kisses her.”
“Will you give uncle a kiss too?”
Janet threw a rubber glove at Javier’s face. It made a slapping noise as if she had slapped him. Janet started to speak in a cold voice.
“Should I report you?”
“……I am just joking! A joke! Can’t I say something full of humor every so often? You need to watch some stand-up comedies or something like that. You are too stiff.”
“You go watch a documentary first and then let me know.”
It wasn’t rare to see them argue like this. Anderson was looking at Jo Minun. Jo Minjun lifted up his chin as if to ask ‘what are you looking at?’ Anderson started to speak.
“Aren’t they the same as you and Kaya?”
“They can hear you. Be quiet.”
“What you just said. Kaya kept telling me the same thing.”
Janet quietly glared at Anderson after he said that. Of course, Anderson was not the type to flinch at Janet’s gaze. In the end, Jo Minjun stepped forward and started to speak.
“Enough fighting. We are a team. We need to get on the same page.”
“……What’s the point? We just have to cook our own dishes.”
“Janet, do you really think that?”
Jo Minjun gazed at Janet. There was no malice, but rather, the gaze was full of disappointment. That was why it was harder to stand. If there was even a hint of malice, she would argue back, but since there was just disappointment and care, it made her feel like she had become a bad person.
‘……Well, it is true that I am not a good person.’
But Jo Minuun was certainly a good chef and a good person. Natural talent. That talent was paired together with luck through the broadcast to make him a genius that became a demi chef for Rose Island at the young age of 21. Since it was that Jo Minjun, Janet had always considered him to be a competitor she had to overcome.
But Jo Minjun considered Janet a friend. When she realized how he felt, Janet could only admit that she had lost. That was the same right now. Janet let out a sigh.
“I will take back my last statement.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Jo Minjun smiled brightly. Janet let out another sigh internally. It made her think about Minjun’s girlfriend. Kaya. The image of how the woman who was famous for her attitude act like a gentle girl in front of Jo Minjun was still fresh on her mind. But she understood what Kaya was going through. Jo Minjun did not just have a nice personality. He was sincere, and a gentleman’s attitude was ingrained in everything he did. To treat such a person terribly would only end up lowering your own value.
The atmosphere turned better. Jo Minjun lightly pressed on Ella’s nose as she flopped down to his knees and started to speak.
“Anyways, isn’t molecular gastronomy fun and amazing the more you do it?”
“He’s slowly trying to accept it. I guess it makes sense. If he doesn’t even do that, being in charge of the molecular gastronomy section will only feel super tiring.”
“……Be quiet, Anderson. I am not trying to brainwash myself. I really feel that way. It is fun. It’s so interesting to watch cream and sauces that I thought could only be in liquid form become powder. I enjoy making pasta out of other things than just flour, and the fact that water can take shape, it really…… Chef Rafael said this to me. He said I will not regret coming to the molecular gastronomy section. Lately, I am starting to understand why he said that.”
Anderson shrugged his shoulders as he said that. Jo Minjun quietly glared at Anderson before looking down at Ella and starting to speak.
“Ella. Out of all of the chefs here, which chef’s cooking do you like the most.”
“I like Uncle Minjun’s the best.”
“See. Molecular gastronomy is like this.”
The three chefs who had been looking at Ella with anticipation quickly lowered their heads at her quick response. Janet opened her mouth as if to say she did not like the answer.
“This is not fair. Ella would say anything you made is good.”
“We will know if we ask. Ella. Do you like everything that uncle makes?”
“Mm, uhh……I still don’t like broccoli.”
“See. She says she doesn’t like it.”
“……That is slightly different.”
Although Janet answered while shaking her head, Jo Minjun did not care. He started to speak in a pious voice as if he had become a religious believer.
“The power of science is amazing. It easily destroys the things people know about cooking. Just doing molecular gastronomy makes me feel like I’ve become a revolutionary.”
“I accept that ……but it makes me scared as well. If the molecular gastronomy kit continues to develop…… the concept of home cooking that we have lived with until now can be shaken. It makes me wonder whether I will be able to keep up with the trends when I get older.”
“Just look at Teacher Rachel. She may be older in age, but she’s as good as, no, she’s even better at handling molecular gastronomy than sous chef Rafael. There is nothing you won’t be able to do if you put in the effort.”
“……Are you comparing me to Teacher Rachel right now?”
Javier asked with a stiff expression. Jo Minjun let out a moan as he rolled his eyes.
“Is it overestimating you?”
“I was able to feel it in my bones based on the recipe and know-how that chef taught us this time. She has something that you cannot explain with experience again.”
“That something. I’m sure teacher will teach it to us as well. So do not worry.”
Jo Minjun started to speak as if he was calming Javier down. Nobody noticed it yet, but the team captain position was naturally putting a special kind of weight in the things Jo Minjun was saying. No, it probably would still have been that way even if he wasn’t the team captain.
Jo Minjun wasn’t the type to lead the people around him to do something revolutionary, but he was the type of character that brought people around him in and consoled them. Just look at the Grand Chef competition. The people who were reluctant to get to know him in the first half of the competition ended up all becoming his friends. That gentle yet sharp and pure and warm character was his own ability that could not be expressed through the system.
“The only thing we can do right now, and the only thing we need to do right now is accurately portraying Teacher Rachel’s recipe. We will prove with our own hands what kind of chef our teacher is. And as we slowly start to introduce teacher to people ……”
He started to laugh. It was the type of warm laughter you would get from your family members.
“Then one day, shouldn’t our hands resemble teacher’s hands?”
The other three quietly nodded their heads at Jo Minjun’s words. There were no visible smiles, but there was warmth surrounding them. In the middle of that warmth, Ella was staring at her tiny hands in confusion as she started to quietly mumble.
“But grandma Rachel’s hands are full of wrinkles……”
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Dragneel, Illidanstormrage
Sponsored chapters for God of Cooking are available! Thank you in advance for your support!