“Grand Chef season 3 winner… Kaya Lotus.”
Jo Minjoon wrote down what he remembered on his notebook. The season that opened on 2010 was the third one. Although he didn’t watch all the episodes, he did watch all the important parts. Like who was the winner, what abilities did she have. And in this season, she was also the chef Jo Minjoon respected the most.
Maybe she was the most talented one on Grand Chef. Also she was the most popular winner. I think she deserved that. She was white, 18 years old, pretty looking, and british accent. And on top of that the trademark that she was from a poor family made her the perfect cinderella.
Just like what you would expect of someone from a poor family, her mouth was foul and she liked to curse, but there wasn’t a single time when the judges didn’t praise her dish. You wouldn’t believe it if they told you that her dish was made without receiving any education. Even in Korea the name of ‘Kaya Lotus’ rose to the top of search engines…
“Will I be able to beat her?”
I don’t need any background. Grand chef wasn’t an audition that picked singers or actors. It was a chefs war where the food on the stage decided the winner. Cooking was everything that determined the winner. However.
Kaya Lotus was like a bottomless pit. Honestly it was to the point that he didn’t even want her to participate on season 3. She was a monster that an amateur couldn’t hope to beat.
“My weapons are knowledge and the system. Her’s is talent….”
Jo Minjoon didn’t know it all, but he remembered what kind of competition it was. There were some pieces of memory he couldn’t remember, but he would be able to when the time came. Also in the case of tasting missions for example, you had to guess the ingredients of the crepe and Jo Minjoon had confidence in guessing all of them without getting any mistakes. It was the strength of the system.
Even if he was shown a dish and asked to make something identical, he could do it. Because he could know the recipe of the dish he tasted. Accurately speaking, he could only guess the dishes which tasting level was inferior to his cooking level.
And now Jo Minjoon’s levels were like this.
Cooking level: 5
Bakery level: 4
Tasting level: 7
Decoration level: 4
After reincarnating, the only thing that changed was that the tasting level went up by one. It was the results of trying to feel the tastes one by one when he tried food. But certainly,after that, whenever he tried food he felt it funnier and felt a deeper taste. The flavor of an ingredient, he could feel it more precisely with the tip of his tongue, and also seemed to get a deeper understanding on the ingredients.
“I need to raise my cooking level.”
Jo Minjoon mumbled with a disappointed voice. The results of Jo Minjoon roaming around, the chefs of the restaurants that seemed okay to eat were on average from 4 to 5 points. That meant that Jo Minjoon’s skills were just like that. Of course, for an amateur that was quite good, but it was insufficient.
He wanted to win. He didn’t want to be another ordinary chef, but someone that could make food better than anyone else. Also Grand Chef was the first stepping stone for that.
He grew curious. What could be the level of Kaya Lotus?
Airport. In front of security check. Lee Hye Seon let out a sigh.
“Ugh. Saying that you are going to the United States.”
“I’m sorry for going alone. Let’s go together next time, mom.”
“Who’s telling you something for going alone. No, I’m right for rebuking you. To go alone to that dangerous place….”
Lee Hye Seon seemed to look at the United States as a country of firearms, gangs and drugs. Saying the truth it was partially right. Even if it was a developed country there were a lot of crimes. That was the United States. Jo Minjoon said.
“Even so, New York is a city so it won’t be as dangerous.”
“Do crimes in Korea only occur in the provinces ?”
Jo Minjoon smiled at what his mom said and replied.
“But New York is protected by Spider Man.”
Lee Hye Seon laughed as if she was flabbergasted. Jo Minjoon hugged Lee Hye Seon for a moment. It was really just a moment. Jo Minjoon saw the soon shocked face of Lee Hye Seon and said.
“I’ll be back.”
“………Call when you get there.”
After getting past the security check and the passport control, Jo Minjoon went to the gate of his plane. It was of course economy. His finances weren’t abundant as to get on bussiness class.
[Greetings, dear passengers. We give you our sincerest thanks for travelling with our Mokdong airlines number 127……]
In the middle of the announcement, the plane was taking off to the skies. To arrive at New York you needed 24 hours. If you bought the ticket that went directly to New York it would be only 14 hours, but just to get 10 hours earlier to spend 300.000 won more (*around 260 dollars) on a plane ticket, it was something he couldn’t afford. Jo Minjoon’s 10 hours weren’t as valuable as those 300 thousand won. At least, he thought like that.
“Grand Chef. I believe in only you.”
Don’t let it be 10 hours wasted but 10 minutes worth 300 thousand won.
The time on the plane was really boring. There were times where they gave you in flight food, but it was only 4 to 5 points food. It was already incredible that it got that score when the food was prepared beforehand and reheated with the oven. However, after completing his tasting training and putting good food on his mouth, the quality dropped considerably.
And now, Jo Minjoon was tasting the fourth in flight meal.
Origin: (There are too many ingredients to figure out)
Cooking Points: 6/10
To say the truth it was satisfactory. If something like this that was reheated on the oven, it made you wonder how good must it taste when fresh. It was a dish that would make many chefs to question that.
Jambalaya was an only kind of dish that was eaten on the southern parts of the United States as fried rice. Also it was normally called Red Jambalaya when you put in some tomato sauce or slices of tomato to make the Jambalaya have a red colour. It was as soft as a risotto and had a deep flavor. The muddy feeling similar to fried rice, was the perfect touch.
Jo Minjoon closed his eyes and tried to feel the tastes of the Jambalaya one by one. Of course, right now he was thinking up of the recipe of the Jambalaya, but he was trying his best not to borrow the system’s strength and figure it out just with his strength. The sausage on his mouth produced the Maillard Reaction and a sweet aroma could be felt. Simply said it was well roasted.
Normal Jambalaya’s recipes started with frying meat in an oily pan. On top of that you fried onions, garlic, celery, etc. After that you boiled mushrooms, scallions, and different spices. The most important part here was the spices. Normally you used tabasco sauce, but there was a whole world of differences on the jambalaya depending on what sauce you used or what herbs you put on.
“I honestly don’t know about…… tabasco. What herbs did they use? Is it saffron? It’s a bit weak to be saffron….. Maybe lime?”
Jo Minjoon checked the systems window. And smiled brightly. There was definitely some lime in it. Besides that there was the sweet and sour flavor of the sauce.
The recipe was also exactly as Jo Minjoon thought it to be. After boiling lime juice and tabasco sauce, you cooked the seafood and after that put some rice and chicken gravy. And you just had to wait for the rice to be cooked and it was done.
Jo Minjoon could feel his heart beating and pressed the part that said tabasco sauce. However he couldn’t help but sigh at the message he saw.
[As the tasting level is low you are unable to view and analyze the recipe.]
Although the Jambalaya’s recipe was already analyzed, you couldn’t do it with the tabasco sauce. Well, that meant that the tabasco sauce was that good and was able to get a 6 on cooking points in an in flight meal. He was disappointed but at the same time was curious about who was the owner of this recipe and felt some adoration for him.
When he saw his surroundings there seemed to be no one who tried Jambalaya to dislike it. Certainly it was a dish that everyone liked. When he realised that simple truth, a corner of his heart seemed to fill with admiration.
After finishing his last meal like that, he was on New York’s La Guardia airport. February 26th. New York’s climate didn’t seem that different to Seoul. When inhaled some air the blood vessels on your nose constricted, and because of that Jo Minjoon unconsciously started to breath from his mouth.
“Ah, it’s rather cold.”
After getting on the bus setting out of the airport, a road with beautiful houses appeared after getting through a path of leafless trees. They were mostly houses made of red bricks. By the emotions you couldn’t get on Korea, Jo Minjoon let an awkward laugh. It was somewhat embarrassing. He didn’t know what he was embarrassed of, but he was. Maybe he was proud of having achieved something. Jo Minjoon got off the road. It was a place he didn’t even know the name, but he decided to roam and find a place to stay.
At that time Jo Minjoon saw a poorly dressed man with an absent minded expression. Jo Minjoon approached the man and took out his wallet. And he gave him a 5 dollar bill. He stared at Jo Minjoon dazed. Maybe it was because of the unexpected approach.
When Jo Minjoon was about to say something a kid came running to him at full speed. He bumped Jo Minjoon and kept running. He fell sloppily on the floor on his butt and Jo Minjoon frowned his brows and looked at the boy getting farther away.
“What was that…….?”
Why did they shove people and didn’t even apologize? Maybe that was the character of New Yorkers? It was at that moment when he tried to complain. Jo Minjoon’s expression got rock hard. It wasn’t there. That thing that was in his hands just some moments ago, disappeared as if it rised to the skies.
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled