The unexpected voice brought the PD, Pabo, back to reality. Pabo looked around. Rachel was looking at him.
“They will be arriving soon.”
“Ah. Got it. Yes. Thank you very much. Film team. Over here!”
Pabo headed out of the kitchen and motioned to his staff. Jo Minjun looked toward Rachel with confusion.
“Arrived? Who is coming?”
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
Rachel just smiled and did not respond. He wondered if he could coax it out of her if he continued to ask, but …… Jo Minjun did not want to test out his theory. He wasn’t extremely curious about it. If it is someone Rachel invited, they will be either epicureans or chefs. And no matter who it is, they are bound to be pretty famous. Knowing that much was enough. Or so he thought.
But the guest who arrived one hour later was out of Jo Minjun’s expectations. To be specific, the guests, plural, were all out of Minjun’s expectations.
There were 36 of them.
LAX. Los Angeles International Airport’s parking lot was filled with buses as usual. Rachel’s guests were in one of those buses. A basic charter bus with nothing unique about it. There were no special decorations or anything, on a quick glance, it just looked like a bus full of tourists.
Naturally, there were some people who were not satisfied with the arrangements. A woman with curly red hair was one of those people. She let out a sigh and shook her head.
“Grand Chef gets a plane for the chefs they invite.”
“Debra. That is Grand Chef. What they are filming right now is more like a documentary. In addition, the chefs on that plane were Chef Rachel and Chef Sergei. The two of them deserve something like that.”
The person to respond was Dave, the head chef of the first three-star restaurant that Jo Minjun ever visited, one of the branches of Rose Island. The woman named Debra who was being scolded by Dave just weakly banged her forehead on the window as she responded.
“I don’t know. Of course, we are lacking compared to Teacher Rachel or Sergei, that wacky old man, but …… think about the total number of stars all of us here have together. If it wasn’t for the fact that many of them opened restaurants outside of the Michelin Guide’s supported area we probably could have had 100 stars together.”
“You sure? In order for the 36 of us to have 100 stars, the majority of us would need to have three stars. You yourself only have one star.”
“… … That hurts a bit.”
Debra scowled as she turned her head away with nothing else to say. Dave looked around the bus. Inside this bus that could fit a little more than 40 people, a little less than 30 people were currently on board. Dave let out a grunt as he started to caress his chin.
“It would be weirder if everybody arrived at the same time when we have people coming over from all around the world.”
“How long has it been since we all gathered together?”
“Not sure. All I know is that it has been at least ten years. Just us in the United States is one thing, but with people going all over the world …teacher Rachel really is our center point.”
“Rose Island … … just the thought of that name standing back up makes my heart go crazy.”
“I don’t care about anything else. I’m just happy that teacher is cooking again.”
Debra had a blank expression as she nostalgically thought about the past before starting to smile. It was at that moment. A thick but weak voice interjected into the conversation.
“But did you all hear about the rumor?”
The one to speak was a sturdy built white man with a shaved head. Dave looked behind him and asked.
“I’m not sure what rumor you are talking about.”
“I heard that teacher plans to take that kid, Jo Minjun, as her successor.”
That statement made the entire bus go silent. It was a quite sensitive topic to discuss. Dave crossed his arms and let out a groan. He then quietly responded.
“Philip. That is not something for us to discuss.”
“Why not? We are all teacher’s students. We are also soldiers of Rose Island. If we are going to get a new general … … we should at least be able to voice our opinion.”
“It is not that I don’t understand what you are trying to say. But it isn’t like teacher has said anything to us. She might get the wrong idea if we base our thoughts on rumors.”
“I have no desire for her to have the wrong idea. But you can’t help but be curious about it. If teacher really is putting her hopes into that little kid, or not … … Dave. You’ve met him before. How was he?”
Debra, as well as all of the other chefs who were paying attention to their conversation, perked up their ears at Philip’s question. Dave frowned after feeling burdened, before starting to mumble as if he was deep in thought.
“I’m not really sure. All he did was try my food and instantly figure out my recipe. What I do know for sure is that he does have an absolute taste. If all of you remember teacher Daniel, you know very well what having a talented palate means.”
“He really has an absolute taste? It wasn’t fabricated or exaggerated?”
“If there was something like that, there is no way teacher would have taken him under her wings.”
“I guess that is true.”
Debra nodded her head. Absolute taste. And although it was just suspicions, Rachel’s potential successor. Jo Minjun had some fancy titles to his name. And the latter title was one that held even more meaning for these chefs of Rose Island.
Philip crossed his arms. You could clearly see the complicated emotions on his face.
“I’m not sure whether I should be nervous or excited. Normally, I would be excited to hear about someone with absolute taste and want to feed them my food. But hearing that he’s my competition……”
“Competition? He’s still just a kid with a demi chef role. There’s no need to be so concerned with him is there?”
“You know that there are monsters who do things in one year that take others ten years to learn. Jo Minjun is a strong opponent. Sigh, I already had a headache going up against all of you ……”
Although they never talked about it, the position of Rachel Rose’s successor was one that all of the Rose Island head chefs dreamt about. It wasn’t their greed to own all of Rachel Rose’s estate. They cared more about the fame of being the representative of Rose Island. After dedicating their whole lives to Rose Island, that title held so much more meaning for all of them.
But if the main branch is restored like this … … there was a good chance that the head chef of the main branch will take over that representative role. Of course, nobody had any complaints because Rachel was going to be the head chef of the main branch right now, but if Jo Minjun or someone else became the head chef and their skills were not significantly better than the rest of them here … … that might lead to some problems.
The reason for all 36 head chefs of the branch locations gathered here today was not only to congratulate the revival of the main branch but also because of their curiosity for the future.
That was why they all had serious expressions when they finally all gathered together and arrived at Rose Island. Dave looked around the restaurant with nostalgic eyes. He too had worked at this location at one point. It was painful to see this place completely empty the last ten years. Seeing this place lit back up made him feel so good.
“… … Who are those people?”
“I recognize some of them. They’re all chefs. Rose Islands’ head chefs. Are they all head chefs……?”
The TV staff didn’t seem that surprised, but the servers, chefs, and the rest of the restaurant family seemed nervous after seeing so many people walk in. Rachel smiled brightly as she stepped in front of the chefs.
“It has been a long time. All of you … … well, most of you. I did see some of you in the last ten years.”
“That’s not because we didn’t want to meet you. Teacher, you were the one who wouldn’t meet with us. You were hidden away like a princess in the middle of a forest.”
Debra shot back with a bitter voice. Rachel’s gaze became more gentle.
“You’re right. I did hide away for a while. But forget princess, it looks like you’ve become a queen during that time. Listen to all that sass in your voice.”
“You seemed quite gentle on TV so I thought you really did get older, but it seems you are not completely useless yet.”
“Looking at the respect you are showing your teacher, I can understand it. You’re still a one star?”
“Damn it. That’s because the epicureans who showed up at that time scored it however they wanted. Those punks really had no proper decorum fitting a professional.”
“So you are telling me that you’ve continued to meet unprofessional epicureans year after year? Enough. Excuses get you nowhere Debra.”
“Are you really going to be like this to your cute student you haven’t met in years?”
“Are you really going to be like this to your so-called respectable teacher after so long?”
Debra glared at Rachel with teary eyes before quickly approaching her and tightly hugging her. Rachel did not become anxious and just lightly smiled. Debra whispered in a slightly teary voice.
“I really missed you. Teacher, you should have met with me. Really.”
“… … I’m sorry.”
Seeing Debra acting that way, the other head chefs started to slowly move. Rachel lifted up her palm to stop them.
“Stop. All thirty plus of you don’t want me to hug you, do you? My body will ache if I did that. No.”
“You’re still like a knife.”
“Old people like me have to take care of our own bodies.”
Rachel smiled as she responded to Dave’s words. It was at that moment that the demi chefs came out to the hall. Jo Minjun was walking next to the head chefs before flinching at all of the gazes of the head chefs that suddenly focused on him. They were not looking at the demi chefs. They were all looking at Jo Minjun. He started to speak in an awkward voice.
“Nice to meet you… …?”
“Minjun, it’s been a while.”
“Ah, Dave. Good to see you.”
Jo Minjun shook Dave’s hand before looking toward Rachel. His eyes were full of questions. He seemed to be asking what this was all about. Rachel started to speak in a calm voice.
“The people gathered here are the head chefs of the Rose Island branches around the world. They all came here even with their busy schedules because I asked them to come. They are all wonderful people.”
“You threatened us by saying we won’t get any bonuses for the next year if we don’t come.”
“My my. Jeave. You didn’t understand that was a joke? You’re still just as slow.”
The black man named Jeave looked shocked. Was he really slow? Something similar must have happened in the past. Some of them recalled how she did not give any bonuses for a couple months … … Of course, Rachel did not continue with that conversation. She slowly looked toward the other chefs.
There are two reasons I asked all of you to gather here like this. First, with Rose Island’s reopening not far away, I wanted to share this moment with all of you before that happened. And second … … I wanted all of you to be the first customers to personally take a look and grade the dishes of this kitchen. All of you knew Daniel well and should remember the tastes of his food.”
“Are you planning on … … recreating the tastes of the past?”
The voice that asked the question was slightly shaking. There was no other choice. All of the Rose Island branch locations tried everything they could to imitate or chase after the taste of the main branch, but there were barely any locations that managed to recreate the taste of the old main branch in more than one or two dishes. No, it would not be wrong to say there were absolutely no locations that managed to do that.
Just thinking about experiencing that taste again made them shiver with excitement. Whether the body was shaking as a chef or as a person who enjoys food, he … … no, they, could not tell. Rachel answered back.
“We will not be recreating the old taste.”
“Even Daniel would not want me living in the past by his grave. I am going to show that unlucky human. The main branch will progress much further than where it was in the past. It will evolve even more.”
She proclaimed with a serious voice.
“I will make it happen.”
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Illidanstormrage
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