Was she trying to take revenge because he disn’t reply back last time? Jo Minjoon laughed bitterly and closed his handphone. If she wasn’t replying back, there was no need to keep pressing her because he would know about it when he arrived.
‘Marco’s certainly not……..’
Who else was on that team? Jo Minjoon started to think. The only ones who were close with him were Marco and Hugo. And it wasn’t still clear, but he had also gotten a bit close with Jacob. Aside from them……
‘It doesn’t matter who it is.’
Excluding those three, it would be difficult to say that he was particularly close. Honestly speaking, he didn’t feel too disappointed whoever it was. He just wanted to know if the disqualified one wasn’t among the three. Of course, one day they would have to separate eventually, but he wanted to delay that the most possible.
However, it always happened contrary to what one expected. When the van arrived at Grand Chef’s house and they got down and went to the 4th floor, what they saw was Jacob getting out with his luggage.
Jo Minjoon’s face froze momentarily, but then relieved. If he was going to leave, he didn’t want to show him a preoccupied face. He said with a calm voice.
“Are you leaving?”
“It became like that, Unfortunately.”
“You said that your father cooked french dishes? So are you going to work in his restaurant again?”
“No, I’m not planning to. Working below my father’s shadow, and cooking outside. I felt it this time, that it’s a bit different. I will get reprimanded a bit, but I have to walk my own path.”
Jo Minjoon smiled, but inwardly sighed. He was a bit uneasy. Because Marco’s baking level was 7, Hugo’s 6, and Jacob’s was 5. Because he was at a level where if he slipped once, he would easily disqualify. Although they didn’t have high baking levels, level 5 was the worst of all excluding Jo Minjoon.
‘If I was doing that disqualifying mission……..’
Even thinking about him got him chills down the spine. Jo Minjoon’s baking level was still 4. Probably, the loser would have been decided even before the mission started. Maybe the cooking level would compensate for the lacking baking level……But that was certainly lacking.
Jo Minjoon laughed sadly.
“Yeah. You survive well.”
Jacob who had talked like that, moved his feet but then stopped. Jacob and Anderson were exchanging sights. Actually, Jacob was closer to Anderson rather than Jo Minjoon. Maybe it was like that because he teamed up with him and Kaya in the past. It was short, they were sharing a dense friendship.
But just because of that, they didn’t need to talk long. Anderson said briefly.
“You have done well.”
“…….Win, Anderson. Win.”
Jacob smiled bitterly and moved the steps he couldn’t. Nobody followed his back until the end. If the did so, then they thought that they will slow him down.
Only after Jacob disappeared down the stairs, Jo Minjoon let the sigh he was holding. Anderson looked at the surroundings with a sharper gaze than usual. In that moment, he looked at Kaya, but then proceeded to look at Marco. He said with a little higher voice.
“Why did Jacob disqualify? Tell me.”
“……He put cheddar in the apple pie and put it in the oven.”
Anderson frowned as if it didn’t make sense at all. Because it was a recipe which he could clearly see that it was going to fail even without seeing the results. Apple pie and cheese. Even if you were a skilled chef, it was difficult to bring out the harmony of those ingredients.
At that moment, he understood why he disqualified. Anderson let out a sigh. Kaya glanced at him, but didn’t say anything and looked at Jo Minjoon. It was at the moment Kaya wanted to open her lips. Chloe took a step and approached him.
“How was the three star?”
“It was perfect.”
Jo Minjoon replied briefly. There was no need to talk long. It was perfect. Those short words held all of his feelings. Honestly, if he added something more to that, it would be comparable to a leftover. It had all the points cooking needed to have.
At first glance it seemed like a simple word, but to make that kind of dish you needed a huge amount of experience, effort, and care. Those were obvious things for those who loved to cook. Chloe put a dumbfounded face for a moment, but soon said with a soft voice as if she had understood.
“You should have enjoyed it a lot.”
Jo Minjoon replied with just a smile. It was a smile full of happiness. At that moment, Chloe looked at his smile absentmindedly and turned her head. Kaya said with a sharp voice.
“Don’t laugh. You pig.”
“Now, I need permission to also laugh?”
“My stomach hurts. I ate it when others eat more delicious things than me.”
“You are really spoiled. Your friend can eat delicious things.”
“I hate it even more when a friend does that.”
Kaya talked like that and glared at Jo Minjoon. He just laughed and sat on the sofa in the lobby. The other participants chased away the depressing mood and approached him. They could only be curious about the three star. The questions poured like a waterfall.
“What dishes came out?”
“Did you meet the chef there? What did he say?”
“How much did the course cost?”
Jo Minjoon raised his hand as to telling them to calm down. He opened his mouth with a sickened face.
“Why are you only asking me? Ask something to the others too.”
“…….Your taste is sensitive, so you will be able to clearly feel it. Express it for us.”
“I wonder. Even if I felt it, i’m not confident in expressing it…….’
“Fine. Then at least tell us the score. How was it?”
Of course this question. It was as he expected. Didn’t Martin also focus on asking him the score? Jo Minjoon replied with a smile. He didn’t hit around the bush.
“10 points, there was one.”
Along with those words, almost at the same time, sighs of amazements were heard. They looked right next to them how Jo Minjoon scored the dishes. Even 7 and 8 points dishes were already outstanding ones, but for it to be 10 points. Even listening to it was a far-off field.
The conversation proceeded for quite a while. Maybe because the atmosphere didn’t get down, they overdid it a little. But just because of that, they didn’t make up the interest and expectation. The three star was the dream of every chef. Although the price was the price, because there weren’t many that amounted, normal people wouldn’t be able to get recruited. That was reality.
And because they were participant, it was no different at all. They had the dream to cook, but most of them had normal jobs that wasn’t related to cooking. Wasn’t Chloe a normal college student?
They talked even after midnight. In the middle of that, they made some snacks because they were hungry. Because they wouldn’t be given a mission for at least some days. For the rhythm of the routine of life to get ruined one day wasn’t that big of a problem.
As night came, there naturally was alcohol bottles next to them. The flavor wasn’t so good because it was for cooking uses, but it was enough to keep holding a long conversation.
“Would we be able to make it……….?”
It was Hugo. He looked in front with cloudy eyes because of being drunk. Nobody could know what was going to be in the end of his sight. Maybe it was the opened champagne, or the tiramisu next to them. Jo Minjoon drenched his tongue with mojito and opened his mouth. It was non alcoholic.
“Chefs that succeeded say that you have to work hard…… But you don’t know. Because the advices of people who succeeded and those who failed will be different. Normally, the former one will be of more help but……..”
“Chefs that failed, no, this expression isn’t that good. It doesn’t mean that those who couldn’t receive a Michelin star didn’t work hard. Because, there are very few people that didn’t work hard.”
At Hugo’s reply, Anderson nodded. He opened his mouth.
“I know some people aside from my parents that own a three-star restaurant. And one of them received a three star at the age of 34, and worked for almost ten years. And then, he committed suicide. Maybe it was because he was scared that it would fall to two star. Honestly speaking, if it’s a three star full of burdens……it’s not nice for me. I just want to do my cooking.”
“However, your cooking will get evaluated. Even if you try not to care about it, in the end you will have to. Aren’t your parents like that?”
“I don’t know. Of course, they will have burdens. But they aren’t people who get swept up by the evaluation of others. Honestly speaking, even if they have it hard, there are no parents that want to show that to their children.”
Anderson talked like that and drank one more sip of red wine. As time passed, his face became red as the wine. He didn’t like alcohol much so he didn’t drink it, and because of that he was more sound than others. Jo Minjoon said with a preoccupied face.
“If you keep this up you will probably become zombies when you wake up tomorrow. Why don’t you stop drinking for a bit?”
“Shut up. If you aren’t going to drink then just silently eat the snacks.”
“…….I warned you.”
Jo Minjoon grumbled and put a biscuit in his mouth. The biscuit Marco made had a lime aroma and a charm you wouldn’t get sick of it. He opened his mouth.
“Ah, I need to get some baking skills. But this isn’t easy at all.”
“In your country you don’t eat much bread.”
“It’s more like a snack for us. And there are even less people who make it themselves.”
“Good. If the next mission is a baking one, one guy will surely be below us.”
At Anderson’s words Jo Minjoon laughed bitterly. Honestly, it was hard to refute.
“I just have to beg that it doesn’t end up a baking mission.”
“…….You want me to teach you?”
“Ha, what is this? You being kind.”
Honestly speaking, he didn’t have to ask for more if it was Anderson that was going to teach him. Because only him and Marco had baking level 7. Anderson said with a depressed face. Maybe it was because he was drunk, but his voice came out trembling.
“Jacob is gone……. And if you also leave, who will receive my temperament?”
“Then fix it. You and Kaya.”
“Don’t compare me to that spoiled girl……..”
“I can hear you. Shut your mouth.”
At Anderson’s words, Kaya that was fallen in a table said with a cold voice. She didn’t even drink much, but her face was really red. Anderson raised one corner of his mouth excessively. It was an expression you could clearly see that he was drunk.
“Why, if I don’t, are you planning to hit me?”
“You were raised so well that you don’t know how rash market people can be? Huh?”
“What raised well? I also suffered what I had to. It’s always like this. Just because our house lives well they think that we live without worries or hardships.”
“At least, you wouldn’t have brought the leftovers of a cabbage and cook with it just because you thought that it would be a waste”
At Kaya’s words, Anderson shut his mouth. He shook his head because of his temperament and got up.
“Ah, I don’t know. I’m going to sleep. Drink alcohol or olive oil between yourselves and do you as you please.”
He went to his room while tottering. Kaya just glared at him with her cheek resting in the table. Jo Minjoon let out a sigh.
“You are also quite drunk. Go to sleep.”
“I don’t want to. Don’t order me around. You think that you are able to order me able just because I don’t have money and I’m ignorant?”
“………See? You are drunk.”
Jo Minjoon put her arm on his shoulders and stood up. He saw Chloe, Marco, Joanne, and the rest that were also fallen on the table, but Kaya came first. Because if they were like that, they wouldn’t particularly make an accident. He walked almost by dragging her. Jo Minjoon let out a sigh.
“I told you not to drink too much. They say that you have to at least be 21 in the US to be able to drink. This is a crime you are doing.”
“Don’t act so stiff. Didn’t you drink at my age?”
“…….Not funny bastard.”
Kaya grumbled. Jo Minjoon just frowned and put more strength in the arm he was holding Kaya on. She had eventually stopped walking.He opened his mouth.
“I don’t want to. I’m going to resist. Did you see a cow just let itself be dragged to the slaughter house?”
“You aren’t going to the slaughter house, but to your room.”
Jo Minjoon pinched her wrist with the arm he was holding her. Kaya shouted ‘Ouch!’ and glared at him with resentment.
“I don’t like people who resort to violence…….”
“Why is this violence?”
“That’s why you can’t do alcohol. That person was also drunk……and beat mom. In front of my eyes. That person that called himself to be my father did that. It’s because of alcohol.”
In the first place, it wasn’t Jo Minjoon that took alcohol but Kaya, but he didn’t tell her that. As he barely got to the fourth floor and left her in her room, Kaya leaned in the wall and looked up at the ceiling dumbfoundedly. Jo Minjoon let out a sigh.
“I understand because I’m drunk………”
“I’m going to kill you.”
At the unexpected words, Jo Minjoon stopped talking. He looked at her with a dubious face. Even if she was drunk, those words were too direct. She opened her childish eyes the most strongly she could and looked at Jo Minjoon, or at the thing only she could see with stubborn eyes.
“The obstacles in front of myself, I will remove them all. I won’t disqualify again. Victory, or in life. It won’t get ruined again. You just see. How I climb up. I……..I will kill you all.”
It was at that moment when he wanted to say something. Kaya closed her eyes, and her body slowly fell. Jo Minjoon hurriedly held her. Her freckled nose, her blushed cheeks. Looking at the tears that flowed down he said with a complicated voice.
“Are you that scared?”
It was said in a low voice so she couldn’t hear it.
< Temptation of a three star (4) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter!
Thanks for reading and for your support!
Translator : Subak Proofreader : Saihikawa