The first ingredient Jo Minjoon thought of using was octopus. For Westerners, and especially for sailors, it was an ingredient that was famous for being called as the devil fish. It wasn’t that there were no octopus dishes in the region of the Mediterranean Sea, like Spain, France, and Italy, but even so, it was an ingredient Westerners avoided. In Korea, it was similarly treated as jellyfish. And perhaps, it was even worse than that.
The proper recipes he knew about octopus was teriyaki or octopus sushi. But it was the kind of dish that was difficult to get a cooking score of 7, because the cooking process was too simple.
To pick cow tripes… it was a dish he ate more than cook, and the only cooking process he could think of was grilling or frying. It wasn’t easy to get a high score with that simple cooking method. To accompany it with purée or sauce, he wasn’t confident on thinking up something that could suit well with cow tripe.
In the end, what Jo Minjoon picked was the truffle, precisely speaking the box that contained the white truffle. At least, he knew much more cooking methods compared to octopus and cow tripe. Alan just looked at the box and said.
“Truffle……Although it looks to be the easiest from here, it’s the most difficult ingredient to bring the right aroma. What are you planning to cook with that?”
“I haven’t decided yet. I’m halfway there. I will decide when I get to know the cooking time.”
“Then, I will immediately announce the time for cooking. One hour. It’s not for only you, Minjoon, but everyone here has to complete their dishes in that time.”
One hour. Many recipes he had thought of disappeared. Alan just stared at Jo Minjoon. And only then did Jo Minjoon notice him and returned to his place with an ‘ah’. Emily covered the lid for the remaining 7 boxes and said.
“Everybody turn around. I will change the position of the boxes. Nobody look this way before I tell you to do so.
The eight participants all turned back. The sound of lifting and placing the boxes was heard. Kaya tried to concentrate on that sound. From the right, from the left. However, even if she did concentrate, there was no way she would know where the boxes went. Because they could have lifted it and just placed it in the same place. Kaya frowned.
‘It would be good if only I don’t get that.’
She was confident in being able to handle most of the ingredients. She even had experience cooking octopus in the market. Because when the market people gave her ingredients that were about to rot, she couldn’t throw it away, even if it was a monster like octopus.
She had never handled truffle, but she was confident on being able to get the hang of it if she got familiar with the flavor and aroma. However, sea anemone was an exception. It was also the first time Kaya saw one. Even if she wanted to test by grilling or boiling it to see how the flavor changes, she didn’t have a big amount.
The people took the boxes one by one. And it was the same for Kaya. She felt that it was unexpectedly heavy, but she couldn’t know if the box itself was heavy or not.
As everyone returned to their places, the judges smiled. Even at first glance, it could clearly be seen that they had expectant faces to see the reactions of the participants. Joseph yelled in a surprise.
“Everybody open your boxes!”
There was no need to, but they tensed up at his voice. Kaya opened the lid of the box in the nervousness that if she didn’t open it immediately, it will blow up like a bomb, and she moved her hands so fast it seemed like she was convulsing. And then, she immediately contorted her face.
“……..Oh fuck it.”
The round sausage, no, the cow phallus that looked like a round sausage was placed inside the box. Kaya raised that thing looking at it as if she was looking at a cockroach. The exterior was oily, and as she smelled it, she sensed the strong and unique smell of gut.
On the other side, Chloe got a flavorless and aromaless shark fin unlike the cow phallus. Actually, you could say that it wasn’t a good ingredient because only the feeling was important, and you could only give it flavor with the sauce…… But just because of that, you needed to have high skills to cook it deliciously.
However Chloe was putting a strange face. She did eat shark fin before, but it wasn’t an ingredient she liked much. She didn’t eat large sized fishes because of the big amount of quantity it contained and to eat healthier. And if she was going to give it flavor through a sauce, then was there a need to eat it at all? That was what she thought. And she didn’t have as much experience in handling shark fin as that.
The sea anemone Kaya was begging not to come to her went to Anderson. However, he didn’t really have a nervous face. It was Anderson who had received tutelage under his parents about all kind of cuisine. And he wasn’t as inexperienced as to yield before something like a sea anemone.
Hugo got the calf brain. Joanne, deer liver. Ivanna, cow tripe. And Sasha got the octopus. They all had dissatisfied faces.
“Just looking at your faces, I can see your confidence and ambition.”
Alan with an ill voice. Sighs could be heard from everywhere. Joseph smiled like a grandfather from the next house and said.
“Perhaps you would think that this mission is too excessive. As these are ingredients some of you may be disgusted at, you will also think if there’s a need to cook it. But this will show your skills more clearly than ever. With an ingredient you haven’t handled and aren’t familiar with, the ability to understand and analyze that ingredient in that short time, those who don’t have that ability will be the ones to get eliminated today.”
“There isn’t a fixed amount of eliminated participants. I promise you. That if you make something over the standards, there will be no eliminations. But of course, if you get caught below that, it’s going to be a different story.”
There won’t be eliminated participants. At those words, no participants got flustered. In the first place, it didn’t seem like the judges did think that it was going to happen. Because one of the 8 could only end up making a mistake or showing lacking abilities. If there wasn’t a miracle……..
“We will give you 10 minutes to design your recipe. Think up how you are going to cook in those 10 minutes.”
He had always thought this, but the time for designing the recipe was too short. Actually, designing a recipe with a quality to pass a mission in that timeframe was something that even specialized chefs had difficulty with. If that’s the case, then how would these amateurs take it? Of course, in the case of Anderson, Kaya, and Chloe, they all had high cooking levels, but cooking well and being experienced were different things.
Jo Minjoon slowly thought of many recipes. First, it was the basic dishes that used truffle as garnish. And honestly, that was the easiest method. Jo Minjoon first ate a little bite of the truffle. He needed to understand the flavor.
Honestly, he didn’t get the feeling that it was delicious. It was a feeling of vinegar mixed with dirt that opened up the hole of your nose. They said that if you kept eating it, you would get to know its charm, but at least it didn’t have a special charm.
‘As I can’t roast it, I will have to put the flavor as it is on the dish………’
Just like the thing that was in the box wasn’t black truffle but white truffle, you just couldn’t roast the truffle itself. Unlike black truffle, you had to eat the white truffle whole to save that aroma. If you boiled it in water and stored it just like in the french method, the aroma would disappear. And because of that, in Italy they preferred white truffle and in the France they preferred black truffle.
So because of that, the recipes Jo Minjoon thought of were mostly Italian dishes. The most normal thing was grating the truffle on the oil pasta. There was also that method of putting it on a meat dish, and making the aroma of meat and the aroma of truffle not collide wasn’t a difficult thing to do. And it was also good sprinkling some on a well-made omelette.
‘First, oil pasta, or gratin with macaroni or gnocchi…….’
Thinking about the given time, the latter one was a better option. Because making oil pasta for one hour was really inefficient. Even if you made it slowly, it was a dish that could be completed in 20 minutes. It was obvious that it would become a deducting factor.
If he were to make gnocchi, the problem was in if he could hand make it. You boiled potatoes, cooled it, mixed it with flour and eggs and made the dough. Just doing that would take one hour. Jo Minjoon’s eyes became sharper. It was the moment to choose. Was he going to use a commercial gnocchi knowing that the quality was going to fall, or was he going to put up with the danger and hand make it?
‘Cream cheese for the sauce.’
He also thought of putting in tomato sauce, but it was better to use the cream cheese that utilized gorgonzola to not make the aroma clash with the truffle. The combination of gorgonzola and truffle wasn’t that bad. First of all, the estimated cooking score that popped up in his head was much better that way. It was at that moment. Alan opened his mouth.
“The time for designing your dishes ended. Everybody start cooking!”
Sound of looking for the ingredients busily was heard in all over the place. However, Jo Minjoon first started to boil the water in a pot. If he started to boil the potatoes even a little late, it was no different to having failed his dish already.
Jo Minjoon first sliced the potato in half. And when it started to boil, he put it on the pot. He had even brought smaller potatoes for it to cook quicker. What remained was for the fire to reduce the time.
Aside from that, the ingredients were simple. Cream, butter, onions, gorgonzola cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, and salt and pepper.
Jo Minjoon first chopped the onions and took off the moisture. After that, mixed whipping cream and cream on a 1-1 ratio. Then, he fried butter and the onions which moisture was removed on a pan, and when the onion got considerably yellowish he had to put the cream and the gorgonzola cheese.
He waited for the sauce to boil, and Jo Minjoon checked the potatoes. In the first place, they were small potatoes, and because he had sliced it in half, it was already cooked. Jo Minjoon put a bowl on top of ice water and put the potatoes on top of that. It was to cool down the potatoes a little faster.
There was still some time for the cream cheese sauce to boil and for the gorgonzola to melt. Jo Minjoon slightly looked at Kaya. It seemed like she was planning to stew. However, honestly speaking, he didn’t want to eat it however she made it. Even if the cooking score was 10, he wasn’t planning to eat it. Perhaps, it would be better if it was brain. But to eat that, as a same guy, no, as the same male, it was a sinful food to eat.
‘I don’t know if I would vomit eating that.’
Jo Minjoon laughed bitterly and shook his head. It was at that moment when he was feeling the importance of the ingredients. Then, the judges approached them. Joseph asked.
“What are you making?”
“It’s potato gnocchi gratin with cream cheese sauce. I’m planning to place the truffle on top of the finished gratin.”
“The strong aroma of cheese may devour the aroma of truffle. Did you think about that?”
“The proportions would be impor……..”
Jo Minjoon, that was talking, stopped at that moment. Bang! Bang! Those sound kept sounding. And each time, Jo Minjoon flinched. Kaya was holding the phallus of the cow and striking down with her knife. Aside of being bloody and fierce, as a man, it was a scene that could only make you shiver and get goosebumps.
The judges also turned to look. Emily was putting on a funny expression, but Joseph’s and Alan’s faces were a little pale. Kaya seemed to have sensed their sights, but after she slightly turned her head, she looked at them and said while grinning. It was the smile of a devil.
“This is fun. I think I will get addicted to it.”
< The unfamiliar one (2) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! Thanks for reading and for your support!
PR: And thus, Kaya pursued another career as the star of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa