Nobody said a word. They just couldn’t. Even accepting what just happened was hard to do so. No, precisely speaking, it was excluding two people. One of them was Kaya. She was standing with her arms crossed and observing down at Jo Minjoon. And the other one was an unexpected person, Martin.
He could only do so. No one was expecting that kind of ability from Jo Minjoon, and it was the same for Martin. No, was that something that could be explained through tasting? He had just seen what had happened with his own eyes, but even still, it was unbelieveable.
‘This……is great. Great.’
This scene was the greatest in this season. No, it was also the greatest from all of the previous ones. Because there was no such thing that made you happy and flustered than his ability. Even right now, his heart was thumping so madly that it could almost be heard. It was to the point that he couldn’t wait to see the reactions of the participants. Maybe, some would say that it was made up. The argument would bore an issue, and the issue would come back like a huge snowball in the form of elevated ratings. In Martin’s face could be seen a smile so big that almost seemed to rip.
He had never thought that Jo Minjoon would be a treasure trove. His handsome face and right attitude was just to attract fans, but in the end, this was a cooking program. When his dishes were compared to the other chefs, it couldn’t be seen as anything special. Coupling with Kaya, and looks that caught the viewers hearts. That was what Martin had thought of him until now.
“I was leaving a jewel in the ground…..”
Martin sighed while mumbling. He couldn’t hold the regret to have known of his ability just know. It was at that moment. The youngest PD that was next to him whispered in his ear.
“Sunbae. Weren’t the contents leaked?”
“Don’t speak nonsense. The ones who filled the contents of the pocket were the judges themselves. If Minjoon wanted to know the answer, then he would have to buy the judges. Do you think that the judges would sell themselves to this youth?”
“……But even so. He got all of that? Is that possible?”
“Reality is always more fictitious than fiction itself. Keep looking. Because this is an important scene that doesn’t show up much.”
“Minjoon. Did you have an absolute taste…..?”
Jo Minjoon replied like that. Because it wasn’t like he did have it. But because of that, he couldn’t reveal the system.
Saying the truth, if he had wanted to avoid this kind of situation, he could. Because he could get some ingredients wrong on purpose. But he didn’t want to. He did think of the system as foul play. But he would stop doing so. The danger of getting disqualified stimulated him. Because this was a place where if you lacked something for even a moment, you would fall. It was that kind of war.
And Jo Minjoon even had to show an ability he didn’t really have. He wasn’t in a situation where he could relax.
The reason why he got all twenty ingredients right, was partly because he wanted to promise himself. He wanted to show all of his abilities. He wanted to show everything he had to the judges, and to the people.
Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Can I go now?”
Jo Minjoon pointed to the place where the eliminated candidates were. Precisely speaking to the place where the confirmed surviving candidates were gathered. Alan flinched and looked back at Joseph. It was the same for Joseph to be surprised at Jo Minjoon’s sense of taste. Joseph said.
“……I will now announce the disqualified people. Selena, Dan, Jordan. It’s unfortunate, but your relation with Grand Chef will be up to here.”
Selena started to cry. The judges and the people who passed looked at her with a sad expression. Three people got out from the broadcasting place and soon, it was filled with silence. At that moment, Jo Minjoon couldn’t know if they were silent because of him, or because of the three people that left.
Jo Minjoon looked up. All of their gazes were directed to Jo Minjoon. Rather than saying that it was burdensome, it was strange. Did he ever get this much attention? Oh, right. There was one time. When he claimed that the winner was going to be Kaya.
But the sights from them and now were completely different. Envy? Jealousy? Those were sights that couldn’t be expressed with any words. Those were sights he had never experienced before.
Jo Minjoon lowered his head. After all of those gazes, the one who opened his mouth was Joseph. Joseph said hurriedly.
“You posses an ability we couldn’t even think of. I’m impressed.”
Jo Minjoon replied with a cool expression. However, Joseph couldn’t be as cool as him. Because the more sensitive a chef was to flavor, the better dish he would be able to make. Having a deep understanding to flavor means that he would be able to make that much of a delicious dish.
Joseph opened his mouth for a while. But the words that were supposed to come out remained in his mouth. Those were some heavy words to casually say them. He couldn’t be caught in the moment and just say some random things.
In the end, Joseph could only calm down his excitement. Joseph started to calm down and opened his mouth.
“I ask to the participants upstairs to come down.”
The participants that were on the second floor conversed between themselves and came down to the second floor. The moment Jo Minjoon turned his head, he could see that Kaya was looking at him. It was at that moment when Kaya was opening her mouth. In front of him, Chloe’s face appeared out of nowhere.
“Congratulations. I didn’t know I would be able to see someone that guesses the ingredients in such a cool way.”
Before, he thought that she was staring dumbfoundedly, but it seems that she has memorized everything in her head. Chloe smiled and said.
“Do you have an absolute sense of taste? I’m quite curious.”
Alan’s coughing could be heard. Only then did Chloe realize that the judging hadn’t ended. Chloe’s face reddened and shut her mouth. Jo Minjoon slightly glanced at Kaya. Suddenly, her sight was directed at the judges.
“Congratulations. You 18 people are the ones who get to participate in the next mission.”
At that moment, everyone cheered rejoicingly. Just then, three people that used to be with them disqualified, but a happy thing was a happy thing. Of course, those who were close to those three just clapped. Emily smiled and said.
“Until the next mission, you are free. I hope that you get a comfortable time.”
“But you mustn’t relax. Don’t forget that you are gathered in a place where many amateur chefs came to realize their dreams. This is a place that demands your pride, and responsibility.”
Alan said with his usual cold voice. But he, who was looking at all the participants, fell his gaze on Jo Minjoon, and laughed.
“But it seems that you will have to talk about many things today. Now, go. Go and rip your prey to your hearts contents.”
Alan talked like that and turned back.
It was at that moment, almost all of the participants turned their heads to look at Jo Minjoon.
After Alan’s not so considerate consideration, Jo Minjoon went to the interviewing room. He had already come before the disqualifying mission, but the atmosphere was different. Jo Minjoon looked at Martin’s sparkling eyes and could know, for the first time in his life, what a real sparkling eye was. And he thought that it was quite a burdensome and harsh expression. Jo Minjoon said with his voice trembling.
“Martin, until when are you planning to look at me like that?”
“Don’t you know that feeling? When you pick a rock without thinking of anything and that rock turns out to be a valuable jewel worth tens of thousands of dollars. That’s what I’m feeling right now.”
“……Is that supposed to make me happy? In the end, it means that you used to look at me like an ordinary rock.”
“But it also means that now I look at you like a jewel.”
Martin talked like that and smiled letting all of his teeth be shown. Jo Minjoon could confirm. That from all of those times he saw Martin, he was the happiest right now. But he could understand him. Because for a PD, there was nothing more precious than an excellent scene. And the scene from Jo Minjoon in the eliminating mission was such a scene.
“So, the interview?”
“First, let’s go with the basic things. How are you feeling right now?”
“Saying the truth, I don’t feel bad. Because I survived. It’s not a situation where I should be sad.”
“What did you think when you got to know that it was going to be a tasting mission?”
Jo Minjoon didn’t hesitate and replied. Martin nodded as if he understood him.
“It means that you were confident in tasting.”
Jo Minjoon replied bluntly. He felt like he was being praised for cheating on an exam and getting a full score. But he started to get more shameless. Because even if he answered through his tasting or through the system, the result was that it was still his ability.
“Why didn’t you tell us until now? If we knew that you had an absolute taste…….”
“Because it’s another thing than cooking. There was no need to say it. Of course, there was also no need to hide it, so I showed it like this.”
“Does the score you told us about last time related to your tasting?”
At that question Jo Minjoon flinched. He didn’t know what he should reply. But because it was the same function of the system, it was better to just say that it was because of his tasting. Jo Minjoon nodded and said.
“Then the top score would obviously be 10, right?”
“That’s right. However, I never ate a 10 points dish. Because it’s not just the flavor, it’s also the skill and experience of the chef that I evaluate.”
If it was the same as before, he would just say that he was bluffing, but looking at his absolute taste, such thoughts didn’t even show up. Martin put on a smile and looked at Jo Minjoon. At that smile that seemed to appreciate him with whatever he did, Jo Minjoon backed off a little.
“Saying that you haven’t experienced a 10 points dish means that you did for a 9 points?”
“Yes. Only once. At East rabbit garden. The sheep ribs over there were an absolute art.”
“Just once….. I think I get what you are talking about. Then what about the 8 points?”
“Only being an 8 points dish can make your whole day happier. I have eaten such a dish in this competition. Hmm……”
Jo Minjoon started to think. Saying the truth, he had seen many 8 points dishes. Kaya’s grilled eel was 8 points, and her salmon tataki salad was also 8 points, but because it didn’t match the theme, it couldn’t be eaten by the judges. Chloe’s pan fried scallops were also 8 points…. For it to be an amateur competition, there were a lot of 8 points dishes. It was also that this season’s level was high.
But the 8 points dishes he could name right now, were the ones he had tried. Because he couldn’t judge a dish he didn’t even eat. And there was only one dish. Chloe’s pan fried scallops. The foie gras he had made by Kaya was also 8 points, but because he was being evaluated by the judges, he didn’t have the time to try it. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“In my opinion, the pan fried scallops Chloe made when we teamed up was an 8 points. Beyond that, I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried any.”
“So what’s the highest you can make with your own hands?”
“……Unfortunately, I still can’t cook an 8 points dish. Making a 7 points one is my utmost.”
Maybe, it could be a rather funny scene. Because even when Michelin restaurants were evaluated, there were many restrictions and strictness on the evaluation. And that person was evaluating a dish just by himself.
‘But it’s different when he has an absolute taste.’
Martin thought like that and still didn’t erase that big smile that seemed to rip. Compared to what Jo Minjoon had given him, this treatment was nothing.
The interview lasted for a long while more. It was a longer interview than usual. And because of that, Jo Minjoon didn’t feel like doing anything. Being interviewed was more taxing than cooking.
I will slowly get back and rest. That’s what he thought, thinking about it, even when he got back he would be interviewed by the participants. It was when he was leaving the interviewing room without strength. After he opened the door, Jo Minjoon stopped his steps. A long and curly blond hair was fluttering in front of him. When he was looking at the nape of that woman, she turned back. Jo Minjoon opened with his voice trembling.
< Absolute sense of taste (2) > End
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Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled