God of Cooking - Chapter 418
Satisfying the taste of customers was what the chef was supposed to do, but Min-joon wanted to stop cooking while trying to read their minds, for satisfying their taste was completely different from reading their minds. He wanted to cook his own dish while satisfying their taste.
‘Yeah, I can’t keep running away.’
At last, Min-joon said, “How many dishes would be proper? I think about five dishes are good.”
“Can you think of as many as five dishes? I think we can make one side dish from fowls, fish, and meat, one side dish with vegetables, and I think we can add soup…”
“Ah! How about making this a three-course meal?”
“Three courses? You mean Asian-style dinner?”
“I’m not sure because I have not been to Asian restaurants often. But they don’t serve customers with only one course on the table from start to finish. In most cases, they serve desserts separately after meals, as well as some appetizers before meals.”
“Hmm… If that’s the case, I think we can make up for the shortcomings I was concerned about. In fact, I was quite concerned that if they had to have dinner, they might have to eat all the dishes on the table. If they really want to enjoy various dishes on the table, the taste of each dish should not interfere with each other.”
“Well, even a dessert or appetizer should not interfere with the taste.”
“My point is not interfering with the taste. You know my point, right?”
“Yeah, I think I know.”
When Min-joon smiled playfully, Kaya got a bit upset and slapped him on the shoulder. It really hurt. Dobby approached them while Min-joon was gently rubbing his shoulder.
“How is it going?”
“Are you spying on us now?”
“Man, how can you use the word ‘spy’ when all of us belong to Rose Island?”
“Don’t mention Rose Island! We’re rivals in this contest, you know.”
“Oh, you look very serious when you express it that way.”
“Of course, I’m serious!” said Min-joon sharply.
With Dobby making some sad expression, Eva next to him opened her mouth with a sigh.
“Are you going to have supper?”
“Even though you’re thinking about it, you have to eat anyway. Besides, there are lots of ingredients in the box you can use freely. Well, isn’t it the best environment for making a dish?”
“Just think of it as a late lunch then. Enzo! Theo! How about you? Would you like to join us?”
When Dobby called Enzo and Theo, the two who had been thinking of a recipe for a while, looked back at them. Then, they hesitated for a moment and then approached the Dobby pair.
Theo said in a surprised voice, “It looks like you guys are pretty much relaxed today since you want to make dinner in person.”
“Well, you can’t come up with a recipe regardless of whether we’re relaxed or not. Basically, you need some inspiration to hit on a recipe. Who knows you can hit upon a good recipe idea while eating?”
“You’re not spying on us, right?”
“Gosh, are you going to let us spy on you if we actually wanted to do that? It looks like you guys are too worried, including Min-joon.”
Dobby continued to entice Enzo and Theo with a soft voice. When Theo looked at Enzo, wondering whether he should refuse it or not, it seemed that Enzo didn’t really care.
If he hadn’t liked Dobby’s offer in the first place, he wouldn’t have come here anyway.
So, Theo opened his mouth as if he couldn’t help it.
“But I hope it won’t take you too long to cook it. Just simple supper is good.”
“Well, we can eat omelets or scrambled eggs. We can grill some sausages and bacon, too.”
“It’s very simple, but I like it.”
“Then let’s go. Oh, you guys stay here. Since I made you an offer, let me make dinner.”
Saying so, Dobby headed to the kitchen counter.
As it turned out, they happened to gather together in one place unexpectedly. Theo looked askance at Min-joon and Kaya. In the past, he invited them to his restaurant, but he had no idea what topic to bring about this time. While trying to read Enzo’s mind, Theo immediately thought with a sigh, ‘I envy this pair.’
When someone heard him, they might ask why they envy him so much because it had not yet been decided who would win in this contest, and they were rather equal in terms of what they achieved so far.
But watching Min-joon and Kaya, Theo had no choice but to feel very jealous. More precisely, he felt rather pathetic rather than feeling jealous because he always took it for granted that he inherited his father’s restaurant.
He didn’t think it was wrong. However, he took it for granted that his father patronized him until now, while Min-joon and Kaya fought their way to achieve their goal until now. Considering that, he could not help but question whether he was really doing alright. Of course, there was nothing he got thanks to his father’s help. The reason he was mentioned as his father Enzo’s successor was because he was qualified. And he made lots of efforts to get to his current status.
He loved Enzo’s restaurant—Paris Park—because that was the place where he had been living since childhood. He still vividly remembered some fond memories of his childhood. When there were no customers, he hid under a table covered with a tablecloth and then fell asleep only to wake up after the business already started. So, he suddenly jumped out of the table and scared the customers. He used to have a birthday party for his father and mother at the restaurant. And a lot of friends who got married at Paris Park.
He wanted to protect the restaurant and make it his own restaurant. His dream was a precious thing that he could never give up. But as much as he wanted to keep it, he also wanted to make it his own, namely, a restaurant he inherited from his father and he kept from his childhood, but one particular restaurant that could not be found anywhere.
Unlike him, who even resembled his father in terms of cooking, Kaya and Min-joon certainly had their own ideas. They were cooking in their own style. That was a big wake-up call for him who had been complacent with his father’s patronage.
“What are you going to cook?” Theo asked.
Perhaps, that was why he asked them such a question, although he knew that asking them about a cooking plan in a contest like this could sound very weird. But he could not stand it because he was so curious.
In particular, he got more curious about the Min-joon pair’s cooking plan because of the three days mission. They were asked to prepare dinner for the next three days. Such a request was no different from asking them what kind of dishes they would cook when they opened a restaurant right now.
Min-joon and Kaya had no choice but to flinch at his unexpected question. If Dobby had asked it, they would not have been surprised at all because they knew his personality. But they never expected that Theo would ask it.
“We’re thinking of making Asian dinner.”
It was Kaya who answered first. Min-joon was surprised for a moment because she was rather sensitive to this kind of question. But she knew that he didn’t ask that question to analyze her and Min-joon’s cooking strategy, but he just asked it out of curiosity as a chef. She knew he was that kind of person.
So, Min-joon didn’t feel uncomfortable when she answered right away.
With his eyes open wide, Theo asked, “Asian dinner? Are you going to make lots of dishes on one table?”
“Yeah, that’s what we’re going to do.”
“I know you guys have a challenging spirit, but this is really beyond my imagination. Asian dinner…”
Theo kept muttering the word Asian dinner as if he was enchanted.
Watching him, Enzo, who remained silent, opened his mouth, at last.
“I think you know it’s a tough challenge. Can you do that?”
“It’s a difficult but fun challenge. And it’s a challenge that we have to make, too.”
“You are really like Rachel’s students.”
“Oh, I’m not Rachel’s student,” snapped Kaya.
“Well, let me call you Rachel’s friend,” Enzo replied with a pleasant smile.
Watching his smile, Min-joon thought that Enzo had long forgotten a sense of defeat with respect to Chef Daniel, for his smile was so bright and cheerful that he was still consumed by something like a sense of inferiority or defeat.
In the meantime, Dobby brought some simple dishes. The beef sausage grilled with turmeric powder, cheese fondue, scrambled eggs, and baked beans, and thick bacon was placed on a plate. Enzo opened his mouth with a smile.
“You’re definitely a typical American chef.”
“Don’t tease me! You’ll get addicted to eating this kind of stuff when you try it.”
As Enzo said, it was a very simple dish.
While they were having a light meal, Dobby said, “Do you know that it’s pretty meaningful to make an Asian dish?”
“What do you mean?”
“I hear Asian food is widely known in France, but I don’t think Asian dishes are nothing, compared with French food. All they can do is mix some Asian dishes or recipes with a French course dish. So, if the Min-joon pair serves the judges a full Asian meal on one table…”
Min-joon figured out what Dobby was thinking about. It wasn’t easy for Asian dishes to get recognized in the Western gastronomy world, apart from Japanese dishes like sushi or ramen.
Especially in the semi-finals at the Paris International Cooking Contest, making Asian dishes meant a huge risk for the Min-joon pair. Even though they might have intended it, Min-joon Cho and Kaya might be the vanguard of the globalization of Asian cuisine.
“Why did you choose Asian dinner, in particular? You must be well aware that it’s a dangerous gamble in a contest like this. Especially for you, Min-joon.”
“I’m afraid I’ll be afraid of challenging it if I don’t try this time.”
“Well, isn’t it okay that you guys have a couple of things you are scared about? How come you want to beat everybody here? You are so inhumane!”
Min-joon laughed when Dobby cracked a joke. Certainly, he always tended to challenge everything like he pointed out. But he thought that was why he could come up here. If she had not challenged herself, she would still have been selling fruits in the New York market, and Min-joon would have been attending college, which he didn’t like at all.
‘What I will get from this challenge…’
Min-joon folded his fingers one by one—first, his confidence in Asian cuisine, second, he and Kaya could shake off the prejudice that Asian cuisine was too exotic. For now, he could think of only two.
His heart was beating. Perhaps, it was because he was in a pleasant tension, for he knew what kind of outcome he would face when his challenge was successful. A new taste was like weed. Once a person knew its taste, it would eventually haunt that person again and dominate their whole mind, even if they tried to forget it or turned it away.
And now his hands were full of weed seeds. The weeds would be planted in the consciousness of the judges and would grow in the cultural corners of France or in the heart of the Western cuisine world.
But it wasn’t France, the West, or the judges that he wanted to sow the seeds most. It was none other than himself. He wanted the charm and taste of Asian cuisine to conquer him. He hoped the weeds could run all over his body because flowers stand out most among weeds. Sometimes, all the nutrients of flowers might be taken away by weeds and wane, but if they did not wither, there would be no other thing than weeds that would make flowers stand out.
‘I won’t lose to the weeds.’
So, it was time for him to grow weeds.