He thought that feeling overwhelmed was something like this. Looking at the many colorful clothes, and the people from various cultures he felt happy and scared at the same time. The youngest PD approached and opened his mouth.
“Are you going to open now?”
The PD nodded and returned with the staff. Martin wasn’t there. Just like the participants split in three, the staff also had to split in three. And Martin was in charge of Chloe’s team.
As he opened the side door of the truck, the team members that were preparing to take orders looked outside dumbfoundedly. Jo Minjoon understood them. Although Grand Chef had an influence in it, he had never thought that this amount of customers would come.
Jo Minjoon got inside the truck and opened his mouth.
“How should we do this? Two does the calculations and the remaining three keeps making some more? Making the rice lasts 30 minutes, hmm……. What ingredients are left?”
“We are out of beef. And there are only a few of avocado’s.”
“……Then we are excluding hamburger and tuna avocado. We will have to use the rice we were going to use tonight. What about the other things?”
“There’s some roasted tandoori chicken left, would this be okay? ”
“Norimaki is eaten cold, but even so if time passes more than it should, I think that it would start to feel bad. But let’s keep looking. There’s not even stored ingredients?”
“Yeah. We used it all.”
“I will first wash the rice. You keep taking on the orders.”
It wasn’t the time to be losing time. The four were standing in front of the displaying stand and wrapping the order and serving it. The one who was taking the orders and the money was Joanne. Honestly speaking, the remaining three didn’t have a temperament to take the orders of the customers easily. Anderson was mean, Ivanna was absentminded, and Peter…..was just him.
Excluding Joanne, Jo Minjoon could also serve the customers, but the one who washed rice the best was Jo Minjoon. And the process that took the longest on making norimaki, was cooking the rice. He had to prepare it beforehand.
He hesitated on the amount, but for now he decided to make for a hundred people. He had to fill two of the three rice cookers. Maybe, more customers would come, but in the case that they stopped coming, he had to compensate the losses.
He could use the remaining rice that night, but honestly he didn’t really like that. Because rice cooked on the moment, and rice after 5 hours had a clear difference between them. Even if he stored it well, the flavor could only fall. The customers that came looking Grand Chef should be around half of them. He didn’t want to disappoint them. Of course, with the minimal condition of the rice, it wouldn’t vary too much for them, but it was the heart of a chef to want to give them a dish that was at least a little bit better.
“Minjoon, if you are done take the counter.”
“I am done, but why the counter?”
“I want to prepare some pork barbecue. And.”
Joanne whispered in his ear as if she was telling him a very important secret.
“People want you. You are a popular star.”
“……If you thought of making me embarrassed you succeeded doing so.”
To be a popular star. He didn’t know why that word made him get goosebumps. Jo Minjoon frowned, and soon put an a faint smile and approached the counter. As he stood in front of the counter, the first customer he saw was an asian girl. She had her mouth so wide it seemed about to rip, and was putting a flustered smile.
“Hello! I’m your fan!”
“Thank you. You are Korean.”
“Yes! I just heard that you were doing food truck business around here, so I immediately came with my car.”
The girl was talking in korean. Now that he thought about it, it had been a really long while since he had talked and met a korean. Feeling her exquisite perfume, he smiled and said.
“What’s your order?”
“One tuna avocado and one korean style. Two lines will fill me, right?”
“If you are not a heavy eater. It will be 4.5 dollars together.”
“Here. Win please! I will cheer for you.”
Jo Minjoon smiled instead of replying. She was not the only one asking about other things rather than the bill. Of course, there were many people that were cautious while asking, but even they asked him while he was putting the money and taking out some in the counter. And the question that occupied the most amount of percentage was obviously,
“Say honestly. What’s your relationship with Kaya?”
It was that kind of question. At first he said that he was nothing with her, but the ones listening to him didn’t seem to believe him at all. Well, even the other participants didn’t believe him.
But because of that, he couldn’t say what they wanted to listen to. Because truth was truth. Jo Minjoon just thought that they were just friends, or at most a kind of brother and sister.
Excluding the questions about Kaya, there were also good words among them. I saw well your cooking. I ask for a good dish. Are you confident on winning? He replied appropriately to all of them, but it also took its own toll. In average, two or three people in one minute. And they would mostly buy two lines each, so after half an hour passed there were at least half of the norimakis from the 300.
The first one that sold out was obviously the pork barbecue. It was well known from old times the love of pork barbecue from americans. And likewise, the second thing sold out was the hamburger.
In the other hand, the least selling one was an unexpected menu. And Jo Minjoon thought that it would be the korean norimaki, kimbap. Of course, there were many kinds of norimaki that were filled up just like korean kimbap, but they had named it as korean. So he thought that it would be quite risky because of that.
But of course kimbap didn’t do that bad. It was behind the second place. And the last one was urchins egg. Just when he had designed the menu, he thought that it wouldn’t get good results, it seemed like urchin egg was lacking fascination for americans. But they were fortunate to not have made as much as the other menus.
“The rice should be almost done. Joanne! If you are done with the barbecue, come here to the counter.”
“Wait a moment. Give me a minute.”
Joanne replied without even turning back because she was really busy. The norimakis kept decreasing, but the lines were still really long. But compared to the start, it was affordable, but if you thought that the lines would keep increasing, 30 minutes would be the limit with the norimakis they had right now.
“Done! Let’s change.”
Joanne approached him and opened her mouth. Jo Minjoon finished what he was doing and went back to the rice cooker. The rice was well done. Because he washed it more than usual, it didn’t smell bad at all, and each grain of rice had a beautiful shape. It was so well done that he unconsciously smiled.
“Anderson. Are the fried shrimps and karaage done?”
“I put it on the sieve. You can immediately use them when the oil is removed.”
Anderson wasn’t wrapping the norimaki from the start, but preparing the fillings. And it wasn’t excessive for him. Because one person was in charge of taking the orders, if they were only busy with no time to rest, it was an affordable pace.
‘Should we get one more person in the counter for tonight?’
It was hard. If it was like that, the remaining three would all have to concentrate on wrapping it. If he thought about adding help like just now, it was good that only one person was in charge of the counter. But of course, the speed the line reduces would decrease.
‘Should I change the selling method…….’
It was a problem he didn’t have to think about right now. Jo Minjoon poured vinegar and keep water in the rice and carefully rubbed it. The rice need to crumble the least amount possible to keep the clean flavor.
After that it was simple. Spreading rice in the laver, and rolling after filling it up. The kinds were each pork barbecue, karaage, and fried shrimp. From the remaining ingredients they had, these were the best selling menus. And they made twice the amount of pork barbecue this time.
As Jo Minjoon and Anderson wanted to roll all of those norimakis, it took quite a toll. The muscles in their arms stretched tightly, and the bent neck kept getting harder.
‘This is the tough part of the restaurant.’
As it is a restaurant with better quality menus, there were many cases where you had to keep repeating things without cutting the flow. Just when Jo Minjoon was working as the youngest chef in a luxurious restaurant, the scene he saw was similar. He had to keep cutting the vegetables consistently.
And that’s why Jo Minjoon was rather delighted of this exhaustion. Because it was exhaustion originated from cooking, and not by preparing. It was his cooking. Their cookings. He could hold the knife, hold the pan, and make the customers smile. Just with that, his made became warmer. Anderson sticked out his tongue and said.
“……..Let’s rest for a bit. Anyways, there’s no need to roll this immediately. Let’s do it resting for bits. The speed we roll it should be faster than the speed it gets sold.”
“Rest for a bit. I will do a bit more.”
“If the team leader acts like this, am I able to stop?”
Anderson grumbled and kept rolling the norimaki. Jo Minjoon looked at him and laughed without him noticing. It was temporary, but it was still their restaurant. He had customers, and also good comrades. If he could someday be in this situation on the restaurant he would have some day…..
“I thought I was going to die.”
“Me too. Ah, talking is also hard right now.”
At Ivanna’s absentminded voice, Joanne sighed and agreed. They worked for a little more than two and a half hours. And they sold all of the norimakis without leaving a single line. But of course, in the case of urchin eggs, they bought it because there was nothing else to buy. Because it sold out only after the newly added barbecue, karaage and etc were also sold out.
Jo Minjoon smirked.
“Want to know something funny?”
“……..Looking that you are smiling, it doesn’t seem to be something fun. But first, talk.”
“After half an hour we have to start again.”
“… … …”
Joanne stared at him without saying anything. Ivanna also looked at him with a dour face next to her. Anderson let out a sigh.
“I did help my parents in their store, but this seems much more exhausting than that.”
“Standing still was also work. No, I think that standing was the harshest work. How can it be that it hurts more than my arms and legs that were moving?”
“Lean your heads back. Because in a while you won’t even have the time to loosen up your neck muscles.”
At Jo Minjoon’s words, the four of them leaned their heads back at the same time, as if they had agreed beforehand. It was really fortunate that there was a camera installed. Because, it was such a funny scene that if they missed it, it would be really regrettable. Jo Minjoon massaged his nape and opened his mouth.
“I’m curious as to what the other guys did. If they too had as much people as us, they wouldn’t have been able to properly shorten the line. Because such a simple thing like norimaki is this much of a pain.”
“Oh, thinking about it. About now….. Wait a minute.”
Joanne raised her handphone. At that moment, the other four all guessed what she was going to do. There would also be customers in the other team’s trucks, and they wouldn’t just be silent. So the menu couldn’t be helped but to leak out. Joanne looked at the screen for a long while. Peter, that was feeling stuffy, couldn’t hold it any more and asked.
“What? What is it? Tell us quickly.”
“Wait a moment. I’m reading right now. First, Hugo’s team is cake and coffee. It seems like they caught the concept of a coffee truck. And Chloe’s team….. Seems to have made kochi or sandwich. But the problem isn’t that. They say that they fought.”
“…….Did Kaya make trouble?”
Jo Minjoon’s face got serious. However, Joanne shook her head. She looked at the screen as if she couldn’t believe it and frowned.
< Travelling, cooking and business (4) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! Finally some real romance on the chapter I am translating… Be waiting for it! 😉
Thanks for reading and for your support!
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled