As usual, time did not care for anybody’s situation. The opening date for Rose Island was already less than a month away. Of course, there were no customers yet, but the kitchen atmosphere seemed to be a bit more nervous than before.
And now, Jo Minjun was frowning while holding an orange in the middle of the market.
“This isn’t good quality, is it? It seems like it would be lower in sweetness as well.”
“Why wouldn’t the quality be good …… …… Yes, it was a bit less sweet than usual.”
“Are you going to be like this? If you keep doing this, I’m going to Trudy ajumma’s store.”
“Ah, don’t be like that. It is not that big of a difference. It is still quite sweet. There is just a slight difference.”
“That slight difference can control everything in cooking. So where are the good quality ones? Do you not have any?”
“Sorry. I think the deliverers did not keep the temperature right during the transport.”
The man sighed with an embarrassed expression. He then peeked toward Jo Minjun. On the outside, it was difficult for even him, someone who had been selling fruits for almost forever, to tell the difference, but how could he tell without even tasting it ……he could only click his tongue. Jo Minjun crossed his arms and sighed.
“Then why would you accept that shipment. You should have just sent it back. I guess today is no good. I will be back tomorrow.”
“No, don’t be like that. At least take a look at the other things.”
“I don’t plan on buying small amounts. The card is not my card.”
JO Minjun left the disappointed man behind and turned around. Maya and Justin just followed behind him and started to speak.
“Wow, chef. You’re amazing. How can you tell the sweetness without even tasting it?”
“I wish I can be like you in the future …… is there a know-how for it?”
“Color and smell. The texture as well.”
Of course, the system was slightly involved as well, but Maya and Justin’s noses were high up with arrogance and pride. It made sense. Of the four demi chefs, they could clearly say that Jo Minjun was the best, at least when it came to purchasing ingredients. There was never a time that Minjun bought bad ingredients. If you buy ten onions, there was a good chance at least one of them would be bad, but Jo Minjun verified each and every one of them.
It even led to the kitchen team asking if Jo Minjun should just be in charge of the ingredient shopping. Of course, there was no way Jo Minjun would accept it. It was not easy to wake up early in the morning to shop for ingredients.
But even though it was not easy, Maya and Justin actually looked forward to this time the most. The early morning air. The fragrance of multiple fruits in the air and all of the different colors of the ingredients were more beautiful than even a field of flowers. But these were not the reason they looked forward to it. Of course, these things all helped to calm and clear their mind, but the real fun was elsewhere. That fun was …
“Look over there. The chefs from Pesto Pesto. After Chef Minjun said no to the oranges, they aren’t buying it either.”
“The chefs from Glacier are just following behind us. They are trying to figure out what we don’t buy.”
This was it. Of course, they didn’t follow Jo Minjun around if the Head Chef or Sous Chef personally came out. But when the demi chefs or lower came out to run the errands, following Jo Minjun was a way to avoid the mines and only find the good ingredients. You could call it an ingredient shopping guide of some sort.
It made sense. Jo Minjun was like a famous celebrity around the market merchants right now. It was not because he had an absolute taste nor because he was a chef at Rose Island. After being able to tell apart the condition of ingredients that even merchants who have been working for tens of years could not do, how could he not be famous?
It was like he became an elite of the chef world. Of course just working at Rose Island was enough to call him an elite, but Jo Minjun’s calm demeanor and knowledge not filling his age allowed those around him to have a sense of pride. Almost to the point that hey felt like they had to even walk in a stylish fashion.
As usual, Justin was driving on their way back from the market. He started to speak in an excited voice.
“It is always easy and fun when we go shopping with you, chef. It feels like I am walking around with a celebrity.”
“How can a chef find the market to be difficult? Doesn’t it feel like you are at an amusement park? Whenever I see a lot of high quality and interesting ingredients, I feel like I am on a vacation.”
“But unlike the demi chefs and prep cooks who take turns, I have to come every day. No matter how good something is, you’ll get tired of it if you eat it every day.”
“Keep it up. It will become easier once you get rid of the apprentice title.”
Jo Minjun sent him a warm gaze as if he understood what Justin was going through. He himself had been an apprentice and an apprentice for a terrible and twisted individual at that. That was why he understood what Justin was going through. If the Head Chef was the busiest person mentally, the apprentice was the busiest person physically. They were in charge of all sorts of scut work.
Maya started to think while looking at the way Minjun treated Justin. Although it might be the molecular gastronomy section, it might actually be really good that she ended up as Jo Minjun’s assistant. He was gentle but not a pushover, stern, but not difficult. His focus was always on cooking, and he did not try to teach her in any area other than cooking.
Most importantly, he did not treat the people around him terribly. Of course, the other demi chefs were not much different, but you could clearly tell that Jo Minjun cared about the other person’s situation a lot. It was to the point that if she even tried to complain, the other prep cooks would stop her saying ‘at least you are Chef Minjun’s assistant.’
They had to immediately get to work once they returned to the kitchen. Many people only think about the machine related tasks when they think about molecular gastronomy, but in Maya’s opinion, there was more time spent dealing with special ingredients. Agar. Dextrose monohydrate. Lecithin. Tapioca maltodextrin and sodium citrate. Ingredients like that.
Which also meant that there was a lot of time spent checking the state of the doughs or gels made from using those ingredients as well. Of course, that alone did not make it extremely busy. But it was a busy job for both the hands and the mind to take those prepared ingredients out and cook with it. If it was already this difficult, just imagine what it would be like once they actually opened.
If there was anything the prep cooks learned while preparing for the opening was that there was a reason for the difference between demi chefs and prep cooks. It was not just the difference in their cooking abilities. Although the demi chefs got tired as well, they would never break their concentration while in the middle of cooking a dish. You could clearly see them putting their full attention on the dish. The prep cooks couldn’t help but become motivated while watching the demi chefs concentrate.
“Maya. Have a taste of this.”
Jo Minjun held a dish in front of Maya. Maya looked into the dish and saw a transparent noodle with white powder on it. After that, coriander and lemongrass were on top of it.
Maya started to speak.
“What is this?”
“It is a Thai-style rice noodle with calf broth that was creamed. After that, it was turned back into powder and simmered. Of course, it is not completed yet …… but at least tell me what you think of the taste.”
“……It would be my honor.”
She seemed quite concerned for calling it an honor. It made sense. Jo Minjun’s molecular gastronomy dishes were quite… interesting. Almost amazing. Which meant……
‘You don’t know whether you will be going to heaven or hell.”
Maya closed her eyes tightly and put the noodle in her mouth. The instant she took a bite, her closed eyes slowly opened back and her face was full of admiration. Maya chewed the noodles before swallowing it and clapping her hands.
“Wow. This is actually pretty decent. It is the best of the things you’ve made these days”
“But if there was something disappointing about it …the flavor of the broth powder does not seem to be that deep.”
Jo Minjun heavily nodded his head. The thing that interested Jo Minjun lately was broth. There was quite a difference between Western and Eastern cuisine in broths as well. While Eastern nations tended to drink broths as they were, the Western cuisine used it more as an ingredient for soup or demi-glace sauce.
The problem was that both were really difficult and took a lot of care. Demi-glace sauce and broths, they both can feel like very basic ingredients……but it was not easy to make it correctly. If you took a look at the Korean broth and rice restaurants, there are quite a few of them giving their entire life to create the proper broth taste.
‘……I do have a recipe, but.’
There were quite a few decent broth and rice restaurants that he had visited throughout Koreatown. And Jo Minjun knew all of their broth recipes. The problem was that most broth and rice restaurants boiled large amounts of beef at once. In addition, they also had someone by the fire 24/7 to make sure the fire does not go out.
“Is this what you’ve been putting your heart into these days?”
A voice suddenly popped up. It was Rafael. He lifted up a fork and rolled up the noodle before putting it in his mouth.
He then nodded his head and started to speak.
“It tastes good, but the depth is not there.”
“I think it is because I wasn’t able to let the broth take as much time as it needs.”
“Did you use a commercial broth?”
“No, I made it myself. I thought handmade would definitely be better.”
“I’m not sure. I think with this much depth, it would be better to use commercial broths. You can’t look down on them because they are sold commercially. Products coming from a factory may all seem pretty similar, but there are quite a few that have the creator’s sincerity in them.”
“Yes. I know. However ……I feel like the customers coming here would prefer things that we created by hand.”
“That is true. Then why don’t you try making it yourself? I will allow it.”
Once Rafael said that, Jo Minjun looked at Rafael in confusion. Rafael smiled before continuing to speak.
“That broth. Make it with your own hands.”
“……I was wondering why I couldn’t see you, but are you really doing this crazy thing?”
Kaya looked at Minjun with eyes that seemed to be calling him an idiot. It was night time. THere were only three people in the kitchen. Jo Minjun. Kaya. And Anderson. Jo Minjun smiled cooly as he answered.
“To be honest, I wanted to try it at least once. SLow food. I have never personally made it with my hands before.”
“But there is still a limit to it. People don’t just get on a spaceship because they want to go to space.”
“Ay, you can’t compare this to that.”
“……You really are helpless. Really.”
Kaya sat down on a counter. Anderson started to frown.
“That’s my countertop.”
“Oh. Sorry my butt. I put something weird on you.”
Kaya jumped off and patted her butt off. Jo Minjun let out a sigh.
“If you’re just going to do that, leave. It’s already late.”
“You may say that, but you’ll be lonely if I leave.”
“Is there a person who gets lonely while cooking?”
Jo Minjun casually answered as he skimmed off the fat that was rising up to the top of the broth. Kaya poked her head out from next to Jo Minjun’s neck.
“The smell of pork is going to become seeped into the kitchen. How long do you need to boil this for?”
“……..You’re just going to stay like this for the whole time? You’ll hurt yourself.”
“It’s okay if I take a couple minute break every so often.”
“All this suffering just to make a fancy ramen soup.”
“……I’m suddenly getting tired hearing you put it like that.”
He let out a laugh. While Kaya was massaging Minjun’s neck, Anderson started to speak.
“Cooking is one thing, but we need to sign the contract for our house soon.”
“Did you two decide?”
Jo Minjun did not take his eyes off the broth as he asked. There were two contenders for where they would live. One was in Beverly Hills, the other was in West Hollywood. The former was close to Rose Island while the latter was close to Kaya’s Grand Chef restaurant. Of course, neither was that much further than the other.
“I like Beverly Hills.”
“There are too many crazies in Hollywood.”
Minjun could understand what Kaya was trying to say. All sorts of artists gathered into Hollywood to the point that the people on the Hollywood side tended to be quite…odd. Anderson started to speak.
“But the Beverly Hills side … … you already know, right? All it has is a master bedroom and a second bedroom.”
The cost of housing on the Beverly Hills side was quite expensive. It was difficult to find a three bedroom with their salaries. This meant that at least two of the three of them would need to share the master bedroom. Anderson shrugged his shoulders and continued.
“Then we just have one thing left. The master bedroom. Who will use it? The two of you? Or Minjun and I?”
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Dragneel, Illidanstormrage
Dragneel is going through closed door training in order to surpass the limits of his current self and reach the next level in his adventure called life. Thank you for all of your help until now Dragneel and best of luck on all your future endeavors.
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