After the interview concluded, Jo Minjoon went to the waiting room. Usually, he felt that the interviews were pointless, but today specially, he felt that it was even more so. Actually, a part of it was because he was thinking of other things.
As soon as he opened to door, he looked for Kaya. However, she couldn’t be seen anywhere. What he could actually see was Anderson’s gloomy face. Jo Minjoon grinned and said.
“Hello, mister A.”
“I apologized last time. It wasn’t on purpose. No, would I pass it on to you after thanking you?”
“In conclusion, you did.”
“That’s true but….”
He had a gloomy face, but looking at him conversing well with Jo Minjoon, the participants couldn’t help but get surprised. Because he wasn’t the kind of person to get along with the other participants. He could be seen as a male version of Kaya Lotus. But for them to be conversing that lightly, it could only be unexpected.
And that was the same for Chloe and Marco. Chloe placed her chin on Jo Minjoon’s shoulder and smiled. Her black hair with a trace of orange tickled his neck like a foxtail. Chloe opened her mouth.
“What’s this? When did you get so close?”
“Don’t get that disgusting misunderstanding. Because we are not close.”
Anderson grumbled like that and sat on a sofa that was in a corner. Jo Minjoon tapped the chin of Chloe that was placed in his shoulder. Chloe lifted her chin and said.
“Did you do well in the interview?”
“Is there something to do good? You just have to answer what you are questioned.”
“It’s because you couldn’t do that, that a scandal was made.”
Jo Minjoon inflated his cheeks without saying anything, and gulped down the air. There was particularly nothing he could reply. Chloe was right. He did think that he had spoken well, but he was the kind of person that couldn’t differentiate between what was right to say and what wasn’t.
‘Is it because of the habit when I used to teach my students?’
He felt sour. Jo Minjoon sat on the sofa and looked at Chloe. Then asked.
“I thought why weren’t you asking. She went out before. She felt uncomfortable. I think that she was going to get some fresh air.”
“Is there a problem?”
“No. It’s not a problem. Just so.”
Jo Minjoon spoke. Marco, that was seated next to him opened his mouth.
“Is there a need to be worried about her? She’s a strong girl.”
“Yes. She is indeed a strong girl. But she is a child.”
Jo Minjoon talked like that and let out a sigh. Even so, he was still a teacher. Just like he acted with Jessie, he couldn’t help but feel sad while looking at Kaya. Because it wasn’t that he wanted to teach just because of the job.
He was normally that kind of person. To butt in? It could be expressed like that, but he was someone that didn’t like to see immature children suffering.
But just because of that, it would be a funny thing if he went and consoled or advised her. In Jessie’s case, the situation turned out like that so he could say something, but Kaya’s situation was different. The environment, and her character. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“How much time is left until the mission starts?”
“There would be at least 3 people left to interview. So I think that 15 minutes. You are going to look for her?”
At Marco’s question, Jo Minjoon shook his head. It wasn’t something he should butt in. There was silence between them for a minute. The one who broke that silence was Chloe and her question.
“What do you think the next mission will be?”
“This mission’s theme will be ‘vegetarian’. “
Emily announced the theme with a lively voice. Jo Minjoon just looked at her. Emily smiled brightly and made eye contact with each of the participants. And then continued speaking.
“When you are operating a restaurant, vegetarians always become a homework for us. And between vegetarians, there are various kinds. Of course, they don’t eat meat and fish, and even eggs and milk, and only eat vegetables. Those are vegans. Vegans that are only allowed to eat dairy lactose. They are uncountable. What you people have to do, is to consider us, the judges, as lactose eaters. Saying it with simple words, you can’t use any kinds of meat excluding eggs and dairy products. You are also prohibited from using fish and poultry.”
Those were some picky conditions. But because he could use eggs and dairy products, it would be a bit easier, but being prohibited from using meat varieties was a huge condition. It would be an especially hard mission for the westerners that mainly ate meat.
But it wasn’t for Jo Minjoon. Because he was korean. And Korea was one of the countries that was represented for it’s vegans. There were many vegetarian related recipes in his head. But the problem was in another thing.
‘7 points. Should I mind it?’
The idea he had about cooking score had changed for a long time. Of course, if the cooking score was high, then his dish would also be good. But he got to know that because of a low score, the quality wouldn’t drop.
Of course, the judges normally preferred high score dishes, so the higher the score all the more better. But the problem was that there were two recipes he had thought. One was 7 points, and the other 6. His head was telling him to choose the 7 points dish, but his heart chose the 6 points one.
The recipe of the 7 points one was quite simple. You steamed white broccoli, cauliflower. Mixed paprika and butter, applied it on the cauliflower and roasted it. And sprinkling bread powder, herbs, and etc. was the end of it. At first glance, it was quite a simple recipe, but the roasting process needed dedication and skill.
And the recipe of the 6 points was one which he was quite accustomed to. It was a recipe copied from a dish that was normally eaten in korean temples. It was a cabbage roll that contained sliced eggs, tofu, mushrooms, and herbs. On top of that, he wanted to put a raw egg in the bibimbap(비빔밥), and wanted to present gamjajeon with chives(감자부추전), and perilla seeds miyeokguk(들깨미역국) in the same table.
It wasn’t because he wanted to present a korean cuisine. Although the score was 6, it was because it was an usual dish in Korea. But for the judges, it would be a new thing. It was that kind of calculation.
Even before he could organize his thoughts in his head, Alan opened his mouth.
“This mission will be an individual one. You have to take full responsibility of your dish and make it.”
Nobody replied back. Because they were already busy thinking of the recipe they were going to use. Joseph said with a calm voice.
“We will give you 5 minutes to think up your recipe. Think of a vegan recipe in that time. Also, the cooking time will be 60 minutes.”
Jo Minjoon fell in his thoughts. If he took into account the flavor and the nutrients, he thought that it would be better to present various dishes in one table. If there was something bothering him, then it would be the estimated 6 points. But he couldn’t depend on the system all the time. Jo Minjoon wasn’t a gamer that played cooking games, but rather, a chef. And his chef subconsciousness was telling him to choose the 6 points recipe.
Jo Minjoon checked at his surroundings. There were a total of 21 people including him. And they were all participating seriously and passionately in this program. It was rather hurting to his pride. Even if it was a strength he had obtained, he didn’t like himself for being looking at the numbers next to those kinds of people.
‘Okay. Let’s do it my way this time. I’m also a chef.’
The system wasn’t a loyal object. It was a tool, and he had to utilize it. The moment he was influenced by the score, then at that moment it wouldn’t be Jo Minjoon cooking, but the system doing it for him.
It was at that moment. The buzzer rang. It was the buzzer that signaled the start of the cooking. Joseph opened his mouth and yelled.
“60 minutes! Start now!”
Jo Minjoon didn’t waste a minute and went to the pantry. The ingredients he had to pick were simple. Seaweed, perilla seeds, rice, eggs, various vegetables and fruits.
The first thing he had to do was the rice. Jo Minjoon washed the rice and threw the water, and then filled the pot again with water and kept it away. They didn’t have an electric cooker, so he had to use a pressure cooker instead. In the first place, the electric cooker was only used in Korea or in Japan. It was a fairly unfamiliar tool overseas. Even if it was Grand Chef and they had many ingredients and tools, it was an exception for the electric cooker.
After putting the rice to cook, next was the perilla seed miyeokguk. The first thing he handled was obviously the seaweed. Jo Minjoon washed it cleanly with cold water, and then, squeezed it out. After that, was the perilla seeds. Jo Minjoon grated the perilla seeds in the rice water.
The next step was simple. Jo Minjoon fried the seaweed in the perilla oil, and after putting perilla seed powder, rice water and diced garlic in a pot, he closed the lid. The reason he didn’t use instant rice and prepared the rice this way was because of this reason. Because he couldn’t use anchovy broth in a vegan dish. The rice water was insufficient, but it would play the role of broth.
Seasoning it after it was almost done was enough. Jo Minjoon closed the lid and prepared for the next thing. Gamjajeon, cabbage roll. The first thing he had to handle was the cabbage roll. It was better to make the gamjajeon last because of it’s crunchiness.
First, Jo Minjoon simmered the cabbage in a water that was mixed with vinegar and salt. After that, he sliced the vegetables long, and after taking out the water of the tofu, he squashed it. There couldn’t be water left on the tofu. Because when you ate it, the water left in it could soak the ingredients in your stomach.
It was at that moment. Joseph approached Jo Minjoon and just observed him working. Jo Minjoon too, didn’t mind Joseph and ripped the cabbage. Eventually, it was Emily that was looking them who asked as if she was bothered.
“Joseph. Why are you just looking like that?”
“Because I’m curious. I think that Jo Minjoon isn’t trying to make one dish, but an asian table meal.”
“Hmm….. Will you have enough time?”
Emily asked, but Jo Minjoon didn’t reply. Emily laughed awkwardly. Jo Minjoon was completely focused on the countertop. In the first place, he couldn’t even listen any voices. Rather than saying that he was anxious, he was committed.
The difficulty of making a table meal was that you had to cook various dishes at the same time. Even if you were concentrated in one thing, you had to check the state of the other dishes. It wasn’t in vain that housewives yelled ‘ah!’ in the middle of cooking, to turn their attention to the cooking that was burning in the frying pan. Of course, the cause of it in Korea would be more because they were focused in watching TV rather than being bad chefs.
It had already passed 30 minutes. Jo Minjoon took out the cabbage from the steamer and put tofu, mushrooms, sliced eggs, etc. inside of it. And after putting coriander, basil and other things in it, the flavor was clearly more delicious.
But it wasn’t a completely good flavor. Because the only seasoning put was the salt, and there was no meat. But it was certainly a food that made you feel good. The cabbage juice flowed in his mouth like juice, and the aroma of the herbs and coriander roamed in his mouth like the mojito’s lime aroma.
The cooking score was 6. But it was an obvious thing. Because in this kind of cooking, there were no particularly special cooking methods.
He thought about roasting the cabbage roll in perilla seed oil and soy sauce, but if he did that, the light flavor would disappear in an instant. Jo Minjoon just sliced the roll and served it in a plate.
When he checked the miyeokguk, the flavor of the seaweed and garlic was felt really deeply. The feeling of the perilla seeds that roamed at the tip of his tongue was good, and the flavor was also good. Jo Minjoon seasoned it with soy sauce and salt. And closed the lid once again. He had to boil the miyeokguk like this until he presented it to the judges. Because the softer the seaweed, then the better.
He also checked the rice and it was already cooked. It was a perfectly cooked rice. The species of the rice was calrose. So compared to the white rice that was eaten in Korea, the flavor was a bit lacking, but that could be fixed with sesame oil.
Jo Minjoo sliced the herbs, lettuce, pumpkin, carrots, etc. In the United States, no, in America, they didn’t eat plants as herbs, like in Korea. In Korea, it was mostly eaten as herbs. Because of that, Jo Minjoon thought that the bibimbap he was making right now with the vegetables he was using would be felt more freshly.
< A dish made by a chef (2) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! Thanks for reading and your support! Okay, so the fun chapters start from now on! So keep up to date 😉
Regulars being on: Tue, thurs, sat and sun
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled