Alan shook his head as if he was sick of it. This was one of the ingredients he was opposed to being used in this mission. Precisely speaking, it was an ingredient he disapproved of. There was also the image for the broadcast, but he basically didn’t want to eat it. Even if he was a chef, he was still a man. There were many delicious things in the world, so he didn’t want to bring that thing to his mouth.
However, it was a story that didn’t matter for Martin. When he heard that story, he strongly proposed using cow phallus as an ingredient. He said that in this awful mission, it was an ingredient that could give good pictures, and so it would get good reactions. Alan admitted that his opinion had persuasiveness. But…….
‘That thing will end up entering my mouth.’
He couldn’t help but feel sad while thinking about it. It wasn’t that he didn’t tried cow phallus dishes, but every time he ate it, what he thought was ‘let’s not eat it again.’ Would Kaya be able to bring an outstanding flavor capable of changing his thoughts?
Alan stopped thinking for now and looked at Jo Minjoon’s countertop. He was already making the dough using eggs, salt and the already cooled and mashed potatoes. Looking at the dough getting large like a snake, Alan admired. The characteristics of a gnocchi dough made by an experienced chef was clearly seen. The dough had a smooth and pudding-like exterior, with an elasticity that stretched stickily. At the least, it was a dough that perfectly followed the basics.
‘He is certainly growing.’
It would be hard to call it as a conspicuous growth. But Jo Minjoon was slowly raising his skills without resting for a minute. He had known that Jo Minjoon wasn’t originally a person capable of making that kind of dough. But was it because he was being influenced by the surrounding chefs? At least, he seemed to be more solid because he had the basics.
Alan looked at Emily with a confident face, and Emily put on a confused one when she looked at him. Alan said with a voice that was softer than usual.
“The state of the dough is good. Leaving aside the combination with truffle, I’m really expecting for the flavor of the gnocchi itself.”
Because Jo Minjoon saw him walking in front of him constantly, he didn’t dislike that he replied shortly like that. Alan smirked and went to another countertop. Emily said in a voice so low she seemed to be telling a secret, and then followed his back.
“I’m expecting it more than Alan. Good luck.”
And when the judges left like that, Jo Minjoon let out a sigh inwardly. Honestly, every time they came, he only felt that his concentration was dispersed. However, it was also a problem he had to beat. Just because it was a kitchen doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an atmosphere which you could solely focus on cooking. Customers pile up, and the orders pile up just as much. And at times, dishes return. Only when you didn’t get shaken in that situation could you be called a complete cook, a complete chef. But of course, how many people would it amount to that had had a mentality to withstand that?
Jo Minjoon kept brewing the dough he left. After making it long like a snake, the next step should be slicing it by an inch long. After that, it should be fermented for 10 minutes, dipped slightly in water, placed in a container with cheese cream sauce, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese, and baked in the oven.
As he put the dough on the fridge and checked the state of the cheese cream sauce, the gorgonzola had already melted. Jo Minjoon separated that with a sieve and put it on a container for oven use. When he checked the time, he had approximately 25 minutes left. However, he couldn’t relax. After he fermented the dough a little more, he just had to bake it in the oven for 17 minutes. There was no reason to hurry.
As he relaxed for a moment and looked around, Kaya was already boiling the stew. Chloe was boiling down the shark fin in a sauce with soy sauce as its base, Anderson fried the sea anemone and was making purée. In the case of Ivanna, she seemed to have put green onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, and other things in the tripe; placed it in the oven; and then she seemed to be making blueberry purée to use it as a sauce.
In the case of Joanne, she roasted the deer liver like a steak and seemed to use balsamic sauce as the dressing. For Sasha, the octopus was already in the oven so he couldn’t know. For Hugo, it looked like he was boiling the calf brain in a sauce.
‘…….They were mostly roasting it.’
Actually, if you didn’t know well how to cook it, roasting it was the easiest choice. Because accompanying it with bechamel sauce, fruits, vegetable purée or whatever seemed to suit, it was easy for the result to be not bad. But of course, you wouldn’t know what score it would have.
Time flowed. Jo Minjoon took out the dough from the fridge and put it on boiling water. Originally, you had to cook it for 3-5 minutes to have a good consistency, but as he was going to cook it again in the oven, he only needed 1-2 minutes.
From now on, every minute was a sensitive one. Jo Minjoon took out the gratin gnocchi with a sieve and put it on the oven use container that had the cheese cream sauce. After he had sprinkled some mozzarella cheese, he put it in the preheated oven on 170 degrees.
He just had to wait. Jo Minjoon just looked at the clock impatiently. Rather than the first 10 minutes, the next five and the next two minutes were felt much slower. And when exactly 17 minutes passed like that, Jo Minjoon took out the container and put on a smile. Even if you were an experienced chef, the only thing you could be certain of when you looked at the dish was that the mozzarella cheese was well-cooked, but Jo Minjoon was different.
[Potato gnocchi gratin]
Freshness : 93%
Origins : (Too many ingredients to know)
Quality : High
Cooking Score : 7/10
It was 7 points even in a state without the truffle. Maybe…? He didn’t think that. In the first time, the cooking score was just like he had estimated it to be. Grating truffle wasn’t a factor that could raise the cooking score from 7 to 8. In the first place, it was a simple thing that didn’t even require skill, but you wouldn’t know if the truffle could make a fantastic combination with the potato gnocchi gratin…… But that was also not it.
Actually, even if you grated the white truffle on top of the cheese, nothing much would change. But that much was also good. Because it wasn’t a combination that lessened the flavor, as so the cooking score.
He couldn’t eat the food, so he only smelled it a bit. The special aroma of truffle that harmonized with the aroma of smell and the dirt was……honestly speaking, it was only special. It wasn’t an excessively charming aroma.
‘Why do they like this?’
He felt the same way when the judges ate the foie gras one of the world’s three great delicacies. Although it was a word used only in Korea and Japan, he thought that the name was because of the price, because just the price was outstanding. However, in the case of foie gras, it was only a liver full of fat. Although the flavor was deep, precisely because it was too deep, it was a flavor you would reject.
‘Even if your tasting level is 8, are you unable to enjoy every food?’
But actually, the reason he couldn’t enjoy the ingredients properly wasn’t because there was a problem with his tongue, but because those were unfamiliar ingredients. Those were food you couldn’t eat easily, and people that enjoyed it were also scarce. Even Korea’s Pyongyang Naengmyeon (평양냉면) was difficult to properly enjoy if you didn’t eat it many times.
Basically, he was the sensitive type for tasting. He could feel the flavor better than normal people, but it was difficult to compare him with Kaya.
“Everybody take your hands off!”
Joseph yelled with a blunt voice. However, in the case of Chloe, she could only put on a bewildered face. It seemed like she couldn’t keep track of time, but her shark fin was still in a state where it was still inside the pot. Chloe looked at the judges with a teary face, but they shook their heads calmly.
“Chloe. Bring your food with the pan. Rules are rules.”
The participants looked at Chloe with regretful faces. Emily opened her mouth with a calm voice.
“It must have been a difficult mission. Although I’m not a chef, I know that you have done the best you could. You have done well. We will start the evaluation. Kaya, come to the front.”
Alan was the type to eat the worst apples first if there was 10 . He looked at Kaya’s stew with a dispirited face. The vegetables and the piece of meat was showing only half of it because it was covered by a red soup that seemed to be spicy. At first glance, it seemed to be delicious…….. But he let out a sigh. Kaya said with a provocative face.
“It’s penis stew.”
“………I know the name. There’s no need to tell me that.”
Alan grumbled with a mean voice and hesitated while looking at the dish in front of him for a long while. In the end, Emily couldn’t hold it anymore, and lifted her spoon and drank the soup. She nodded.
“First, the flavor of the soup is good. I could barely detect a fishy smell. Did you put in coriander?”
“Yes. I put in coriander and a lot of garlic. And I also put in some lime juice.”
“Mmm…….It’s a stew that gives a strong impression of being from Northeast Asia. The meat…….”
Emily chewed a big piece of meat along with some vegetables. Alan and Joseph looked at her as if they were looking at something heterogeneous, but she didn’t pay them any heed. She smiled while putting a calm face.
“You saved the meat well….. And the combination with the other ingredients isn’t bad at all. It’s to the point I want to ask Jo Minjoon the score of it……”
Emily looked at Jo Minjoon, and he evaded her sight desperately. He didn’t want to bring that thing to his mouth when there wasn’t even much to say about her dish. Emily smacked her lips as if it was unfortunate.
“Well, we can clearly see that he isn’t even thinking of eating it.”
“It can’t be helped. Can a chef be picky with food?”
Kaya sneered and said. He got enraged in that instant, but Jo Minjoon didn’t say anything. He got a bad feeling that if he did say something, he would have to eat that thing. However, his guess was only half true. Alan’s voice rang.
“There is some truth in Kaya’s words. Minjoon, come here.”
“……Yes, Why me?”
“Because just like she said, chefs can’t be picky about food. And since you have such a sensitive sense of taste, there’s even more need to get accustomed to this special ingredient, since you would be able to taste a delicate flavor others can’t get the grasp of. This is an opportunity I’m giving to you.”
Those were some long words. When he first heard it, it seemed reasonable, and he also heard it as if it was directed to him. Why did he feel it like he didn’t want to die alone so he was bringing Jo Minjoon too along with him? Jo Minjoon flapped the neck part of his clothes. He got sweaty. Joseph laughed ‘hoho’ and said.
“Alan’s words are correct. Thinking about your sense of taste, I get the feeling that letting this opportunity to try an unfamiliar dish pass is a waste. Minjoon, challenge it. Chefs can’t evade challenges about ingredients.”
“………What about the other participants?”
As Jo Minjoon said that and turned back to look at the other participants, they glared at him with a disgusted face. Joseph smiled and shook his head.
“Unfortunately, the amount of the food and the time doesn’t allow us that. I think that the other participants wouldn’t hate sending you as their representative…”
“There’s no need to say this, but Minjoon has the most outstanding sense of taste among us. So it’s an obvious thing to send him as our representative.”
Anderson said with a calm face. He slightly looked at Jo Minjoon and raised the corner of his mouth.
‘…….I fell for their trap.’
He could do nothing about it if the atmosphere turned out like this. He thought that maybe Martin would side up with him, but he was smiling so wide that Minjoon thought that his mouth would get ripped.
Even Chloe was smiling faintly, so he had no one on his side. Jo Minjoon moved his feet with a face that was as pathetic as a cow being dragged to the slaughterhouse. And then, he glared at him Alan. Those eyes were so fierce it didn’t make you think of his usual gentle eyes.
“Why isn’t chef eating yet?”
“…….I was just about to. Here, take it.”
Alan gave a spoon to Jo Minjoon. Jo Minjoon received the spoon and after hesitating for a moment, he ate the smallest piece of meat along with some vegetable. At first he wasn’t moving his jaw, but in front of all of the judges gazes, he could only start to chew. He wasn’t planning on just gulping it since it was a dish made by Kaya. Thinking about the effort the chef placed on the dish, he couldn’t treat it as if it was garbage.
‘……I feel rejected, really.’
Just like Emily had said, the meat was sticky, but even that stickiness made him feel bad. The dense aroma of the cow that spread in his mouth was also bad. At least, it was good that there was the flavor of the sauce. If she had grilled it normally with only salt, he wouldn’t be confident in being able to eat it. It was difficult to eat it, with a different meaning than foie gras. Each time he chewed, he got a feeling he was hearing the cow mooing from somewhere.
As Jo Minjoon ate it, Alan too could only start to eat. They put the stew in their mouths with a determined face. Although there was some hesitation before eating, after they ate it, they certainly looked like pros. Alan said with a calm expression.
“You parboiled the phallus first and then put it in sauce, right?”
“Perhaps, if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have been able to get this flavor. Perhaps I would have oscillated at the special fishy smell of guts. But how did you know of this method? Didn’t you not cook this before?”
“I have cooked tripe a few times. I know well how the flavor changes if you parboil it or not. I also know that the phallus is a gut.”
Kaya put on a proud expression as if she was content with herself knowing that difficult thing. But of course, it was seen as a conceited smile, but Jo Minjoon could read that. Was it because the time they were together was long? It was certainly easier to read her.
Joseph looked at Jo Minjoon.
“What’s the score?”
Soon, the score became an inquiry even for the judges. Emily nodded.
“Mmm. I also thought that it would score that. Excellent, Kaya. To get 7 points with a penis stew.”
With Kaya putting on a faint smile, the evaluation ended. However, just because of that, it wasn’t that he could return to his place.
“Now that you are here, let’s try your dish.”
At those words, he could only bring the pot that contained the gnocchi gratin immediately. Emily opened her mouth after she tried his food.
“What do you think is the score of this?”
It was at that moment when Jo Minjoon was about to reply unconsciously. Emily grinned.
“I thought like that, but thinking about it, you still didn’t eat it right? Eat it. You have to know how your own food turned out.”
Actually, he already knew even without putting it in his mouth, but there was no reason to point that out. Jo Minjoon put the potato gnocchi gratin in his mouth. The flavor of the white truffle, vinegar, dirt, and the dense flavor of the mushroom sticked in his mouth. The sticky white truffle didn’t disappear like before. Even if he chewed the parts that didn’t have white truffle, the aroma kept roaming in his mouth.
However, it wasn’t a bad combination. The thing that could turn out greasy because of the cheese was being covered by the white truffle. Jo Minjoon nodded.
“It is delicious.”
“…….It’s a little strange that you are saying that with your own mouth.”
“I can’t say that it is not. It’s 7 points. At least, it is plenty for me to say that it is delicious.”
“Good. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have admitted it, but at least your bluffing is fine for this dish. Return to your place, Minjoon. You, too, have passed.”
At Alan’s words, Jo Minjoon clenched his fists without saying anything. He had already done 6 missions, but every time he survived, he got a feeling as if he had succeeded.
“Chloe, you are next. Come to the front!”
Chloe went to the front with her pot with a nervous face. Joseph just looked at that pot and opened his mouth.
“………You can’t serve something that hasn’t been plated. You know that it will deduct some points, right?”
“Yes, I do……..”
“Good. I hope that your shark fin becomes so delicious to be able to recover from that mistake.”
At Alan’s words, Chloe didn’t say anything and kept rubbing her hands. The injured part still hurt. Now that she was nervous, she felt that the pain got worse. Alan just looked at Chloe’s hands for a little bit, and sliced the shark fin, and brought it to his mouth. He seemed to be chewing it for a bit, and then gulped it. And then, Alan turned back without saying a thing. Chloe felt her insides burning, so she just kept touching her apron. Joseph and Emily were the same. After they ate the shark fin, they didn’t say a thing. Just like they had agreed beforehand…….
Chloe unconsciously looked back. And the participants sent her cheering sights as if it was going to be okay. Chloe met Jo Minjoon’s eyes. At that moment, Jo Minjoon’s eyes bent softly. Then, she could feel that she was getting calm. Chloe mumbled inwardly.
‘Right. Chloe. You came all the way here. Cheer up. Even if you do get eliminated, you did really well. And…….’
She couldn’t say the last part even inside of her.
And then, the time for her evaluation came.
< The unfamiliar one (3) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! Thanks for reading and for your support!
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa