If it was like usual, he would have been overjoyed by the notification. But right now, it wasn’t a number but the deep emotions that passed through his tongue was felt more densely and clearly.
Jo Minjoon grabbed the red wine bread and wiped up the remaining sauce in the plate. Cleaning the dish without leaving a drop of sauce was more of a compliment than hundred words. Elly took out the empty plates with a smile in her face.
The main dish ended, and a sense of accomplishment and reality came at the same time. Jo Minjoon laughed embarrassedly. Even though the food was delicious, the fact that he had cried was quite embarrassing. Anderson said with a calm face.
“If you are paying with your tears after eating something delicious, it is rather cheap.”
“………But we do pay. Don’t the staff pay for us?”
“Acting so tight… Then take it as a tip. A tears tip.”
The moment he wanted to say something back at Anderson, the servers approached. The plate right now had a round shape with its side higher, just like a soup plate. And inside of it was a frozen cranberry and caramelized cranberry, roasted rye bread crumbs, and a roasted meringue with sage on top of it. They thought that it was kind of heavy to be a dessert, but at that moment, another server came with plates in both of his hands.
There was a pine needle spread on the plate, and on top of that was a seasoning ice. The server placed those ices on each of the plates. Honestly, you wouldn’t bother to think about the difference putting it before and after, but in the end it was a problem of service. Because looking at a dish being completed right before your eyes was also fun to look.
The flavor didn’t have a big difference to what you saw from the outside. The little marvelous point was that the aroma of the pine needle was felt in the ice, but the dishes they had already tried were so splendid they couldn’t be amazed by something like this. A course that organized the flavor of the course cleanly in your mouth, it was that kind of feeling.
As they emptied the plate, an ice coffee along with boiled down pear came out. Inside of it was a ganache mixed with chocolate and cream, a crunchy cardamom and elderflower, and a tamarind juice. Because the indian spices cardamomo and tamarind were put in, the overall flavor had an unique characteristic of Southeast Asia.
“……..This is also delicious.”
Jo Minjoon laughed. For there to be not even one mistake in the course. No, it was on the lever where there couldn’t be mistakes. They were all excessively delicious. The carefulness and the daringness of the head chef was felt clearly in the dish.
‘One day, I will also………’
It was a composition that just made you think like that.
The next dish was a caramelized sudachi. Sudachi in Korea was a fruit that was also known as yeong orange (영귤). It had an overall yellow colour. Below everything was a transparent and watery sudachi curd, which felt softer than cream.
The things that were on top of the sudachi cord were roasted cashew nut, asian pear, nastrium, green apple jelly, and celery.
The aroma of the sudachi felt like it caught the basics rather than being excessive. The savory flavor of the cashew nut and the sweetness of the jelly and the pear, and on top of that, combined with the sudachi custard’s freshness the flavor, was quite luxurious.
The desserts kept coming. Lemon mint or frozen chestnut powder, vanila cream and milk jam, chestnut purée along with chocolate pastry. It was surrounded by a chocolate shell and inside was caramel popcorn covered by liquid caramel. There were branches and dried medicines on the dish. After eating the chocolates one by one, the meal ended.
Only eating took almost two and a half hours. The amount on the dishes wasn’t much, but as you ate constantly for long it filled your stomach quite much. It felt similar to having eaten three packs of ramen in one go.
As he looked at the others, they were in a similar state. Peter took in air with difficulty. He was originally slim and had a short mouth, so there was no way he could have taken this long course meal easily.
“Now, even if they say that one dish costs a thousand dollars I won’t eat it. No, I can’t.”
“…….I wonder. If it does come out I think that you will eat again. Anderson. You seem to have quite a comfortable face.”
“This amount of food isn’t much. Your stomach are the small ones.”
Jo Minjoon didn’t refute back. It was just as he had said. He wasn’t different to a big eater. It was at that moment that Martin looked at Jo Minjoon and opened his mouth.
“By now, you should have plentily enjoyed yourselves, so how do you feel? Interview, Is it going to be hard?”
“Let’s do it. What are you curious of? No, thinking about it, there’s no need to even ask. A 10-point dish, there was one. Although it was only one, it was enough with just that to have become the best meal I had in my life.”
Martin put on a surprised face as if he wasn’t expecting it. Honestly, he thought that the best score would be a 9. Even if it was three stars, taking into account the absolute taste Jo Minjoon had showed them until now, he thought that the 10 points would only suit a transcendent-like dish.
It was only 10 points by words, but it was top score for him. A dish he didn’t even have the need to score. It wasn’t easy for him to think that it existed in this world. However, there couldn’t be seen even a trace of hesitation in his face. Martin said with a little excited voice.
“What was that dish? Ah, no. It’s nothing. I think that I know. It was that, right? That…..white anchovy and calf cheek meat?”
There wasn’t even a need to guess. Because the only time Jo Minjoon showed the strongest reaction to the point he cried, was only once. Jo Minjoon nodded. Martin let out a cheerful voice.
“Certainly, even from the epicureans it had a good reputation. It’s the top dish that made this restaurant to become a three star……”
“It was that kind of a dish. I already told you that it was 10 points. It was also 100 points. It was so perfect that it was pointless to score it. Because it made me want to go to France to study.”
Jo Minjoon said with a serious face without a trace of laughter. He could see from his face how stimulated he got. Martin looked at the other four.
“Do you agree?”
“I’m not able to score it, but I do agree on the point that there was no parts to point out. At least, I think that it had reached the limit from what a chef can do.”
Anderson said with a hard voice. It was at the moment when Martin was thinking how to use this scene. A man who was tall and with strong muscles came walking to them. It was Dave. He seemed to be in his middle thirties. Because his long brown hair was tied backwards and his face could be seen more clearly because of that, he seemed to be a celebrity. Dave glanced at Jo Minjoon, and looked at all of them.
“Did it suit your tastes?”
“Yes, it was very good.”
“The best of my life.”
At the compliments, a smile could be seen in his mouth. He slowly opened his mouth.
“When I got a call from teacher Rachel, I was really surprised. Because she had never even asked me to do something like this even once. But……”
Dave made eye contact with him. Jo Minjoon didn’t evade his sight. Rather, he shined his eyes and looked at him. A guy who wasn’t even in his forties and made a 10-point dish. He couldn’t not respect him. Also, his cooking level was 9. It meant that he was in the same level as Joseph. But of course, even if they were the same level 9, there would be some differences……..
“So the broadcast where the owner of absolute taste is, is this one. I originally don’t watch the TV much, but I have heard a lot of stories about you and your absolute sense of taste. I also looked at the video. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Minjoon.”
“No, the pleasure is mine. It was a really good dish. The best I have had in all my life. Thank you.”
Jo Minjoon held tightly the hand Dave lent. Dave’s corner of the mouth raised.
“10 points, was there any?”
“Yes. The calf cheek meat was a 10 points. And it was also the first in my life.”
“……..Good. I feel as good as being acknowledged by teacher Rachel.”
At Dave’s words, Jo Minjoon laughed awkwardly. He felt quite burdened for him to have put his compliment in such a high regard, but even so, he honestly didn’t hate it. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Someday………I will also show you this kind of dish.”
“You will be able to. Because in this world, the taste is more important than what you are thinking about. The ability you possess, I hope you use it well.”
Jo Minjoon just smiled without saying anything.
The van that was going back to Grand Chef’s house was silent. It wasn’t because of a particular reason. The four all them were fallen asleep. Jo Minjoon closed his eyes and started to think in the menus he ate today.
‘If I copied it……Would I be able to copy the flavor to an extent?’
Honestly, it was difficult to do so if he couldn’t read the recipe. As his tasting level became 8, he could read the recipes of 8-point dishes, but level 9 dishes was something he couldn’t reach yet. He could read the ingredients regardless of the score, but he could only know the recipes with tasting level that was similar or lower.
The difference of one drop of sauce, a world where the time that you briefly put the ingredient on fire, changes it everything. What he experienced today in the dishes was a fragment of that world. Why could it be? That at this moment, he thought of Kaya’s face.
‘Kaya would have also liked it if she tried it.’
Perhaps, she would have liked it more than Jo Minjoon. Although Jo Minjoon didn’t have an ability he was born with, in Kaya’s environment it was already difficult to eat something excellent. Maybe, the best food she could eat was only the ones she ate.
She had a tasting level 10 and had such a sensitive and delicate tongue, but grew up eating only her food. Maybe, if she had tried Dave’s food…….she would have gotten a shock that was incomparable to what he had felt.
Jo Minjoon touched his handphone. He wanted to call her, but perhaps they would still be in the middle of the disqualifying mission. In the end, he could only send a message. As he sent the brief ‘What are you doing?’ the reply came back after a few seconds.
[Kaya : In the middle of the disqualifying mission.]
[Me : What is the mission?]
[Kaya : Apple pie. From the dough to all.]
[Kaya: They are evaluating right now. Marco’s pie.]
Apple pie for Marco. It was a mission he didn’t even have to worry about. Jo Minjoon sent a message again.
[Me : The food was really delicious. It would have been good if you had come.]
[Kaya : Are you making fun of me?]
[Me : It’s because it’s really regretful. Should I make a minor copy of it and teach you the flavor?]
[Kaya : Want me to teach you the flavor of a bullet?]
He didn’t even have the heart to tease her, but it seemed like she was really angry. To say the flavor of a bullet, even the scale of the threats was different in the United States. Jo Minjoon smiled bitterly. He just looked at his handphone for a moment, and a message from her came again.
[Kaya : …It’s not that I’m really going to shoot you. You aren’t so stupid as to misunderstand this, right?]
It could clearly be seen that this message was sent to see if he hadn’t misunderstood. At first, she was a picky kid that only knew how to curse, but as time passed he could see more of her childish side. It was also her that kept bothering him because she thought that he had ignored her in the case of the norimaki. If he sloppily sent a text, she would end up getting hurt again.
[Me : Why are you acting shy? If you are going to act strong, then act strong until the end. Why are you acting like this? It’s so not like you.]
[Kaya : It’s because you usually act really sensitive.]
Jo Minjoon frowned. To act sensitive. In his memories, he had never acted as such. Of course, he was the type to point out the napkin that was left on the table or that the clothes wasn’t clean…… But he thought that it wasn’t to the point to hear that he was sensitive.
Of course, he was in the middle of typing something to refute back. A message came again.
[Kaya : Oh, an eliminated one appeared.]
[Me : Who?]
[Kaya : That person.]
It was a brief reply. And also not kind at all. Jo Minjoon just looked at the screen. He sent a message again.
[Me : If you tell me that, how am I supposed to know? Tell me who it is. Who is that person?]
The reply didn’t come back.
< Temptation of a three star (3) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter!
Thanks for reading and for your support!
Translator : Subak Proofreader : Saihikawa