God of Cooking - Chapter 231 In The Face of The Real Battle 3
Javier let out a shout of excitement with his hands in the air. He turned to hug Minjoon, who frowned and started tickling Javier. Javier let go with a pained face.
“Get permission from Kaya first.”
“…Ugh, what a drag.”
“What do you mean, a drag? You need to get permission from me if you have to hug Kaya as well. It’s a give and take thing, you know?”
“You don’t get permission for hugging Ella, though.”
“Ella’s an exception. Kids get a free pass.”
“What a strange set of rules.” Javier complained. He immediately noticed Rachel looking at him, and took the plate away. Minjoon had to stop himself from reflexively bowing at her, and smiled instead.
“Thank you, teacher.”
“No need. I was just giving a pass for good food.”
“I’m happy that we could get a pass to begin with. Especially one with Javier.”
Javier turned away with an embarrassed look. This was a meaningful moment for him in many ways. After all, this was the first time he was able to get recognition from Rachel. Of course, this did require Minjoon’s help, but that fact didn’t take away from his feeling of accomplishment at all.
The chefs in the kitchen could tell what happened as soon as the two walked out of the office.
“Grats.” Anderson said.
“…How’d you know?”
“Anyone could tell if you smile like that.”
Javier grinned ear-to-ear. It was obvious that he was incredibly happy right now. Javier turned to look at Janet, who flinched.
“What’re you looking at?” Janet asked.
“I’m not getting a congratulations from you?”
“You were late into the party and you want a congrats for that?”
“Well, I did end up doing it, so I deserve one, don’t I?”
“No. I’m not going to.”
Janet stepped back with a wary look. Well, at least her response fit her personality. Minjoon looked at the demi chefs with a smile.
“Should we try making it?”
“What, the course menu?”
“We don’t have the fish prepped yet. Who’s gonna do that?”
“The one who mentioned this, obviously.”
Anderson turned to look at Minjoon, who nodded.
“Sure. What’s up with all of you and disliking prepping?”
“…You’re the weird one for liking this sort of stuff.”
Prepping fish was one of the few things that’s incredibly hard for anyone to like. It was sticky, it smelled, and one mistake could just ruin the fish. That kind of thing was no fun for anyone.
Not that Minjoon disliked that. Minjoon’s never had a moment in his like where he’s disliked prepping ingredients.
Which was why his hands on the fish was chock full of love and joy.
‘I’ll make you taste good.’
They were incredibly cruel words for the fish, but it was also a pure, innocent desire of Minjoon’s. He wiped off the sticky residue on the surface of the fish.
What came after was the scaling. But as he was about to start, he found Justin coming over to speak to him.
“Chef, you should’ve told me. I could’ve done this…”
“You’re good. We’re just doing this for ourselves. This isn’t actual work, so we can’t have people like you involved. Plus, we can’t let our skills get rusty. So no worries.”
Justin still looked pretty troubled, but Minjoon had no intention of letting the man take over. This was fun, why’d he let someone else do it?
Taking off the scales one by one felt good. Controlling his strength as he worked the fish felt fun. Others might call this work, but this was just a play to Minjoon.
‘They said hobbies don’t stay fun when they become work, didn’t they?’
Minjoon couldn’t relate. Cooking was fun. It made him happy. He liked it to the point where he’d be troubled if someone asked him if he liked cooking or Kaya more.
He took off most of the scales with the scaler, then took off the rest with the knife. He took off the gills and the tail to let the blood out. Maya turned away as he took out the innards with a grin.
“…He finds that sort of stuff fun? I’ve never had fun dismantling fish.” Maya muttered to herself.
“Leave him be. You know how weird he is with cooking.” Justin answered.
“I wonder if we can grow like him if we take after him?”
“Probably not. You don’t see the other demi chefs following him, do you?”
“The other demi chefs trained for years, and chef Minjoon didn’t. He’s the youngest one out of them, isn’t he?”
“Is he the youngest?”
“Well, he did say he was in his early twenties.”
Maya shrugged. Justin muttered to himself in a daze without even looking at the demi chefs.
“In any case, his knife skills are fantastic. How’d he get that good at such a young age?”
He was honest. The angle Minjoon put the knife when cutting out the gills, and his smooth movement looked incredibly skilled. Maya nodded in agreement.
“It’s pretty amazing, yeah. As far as I know, stuff like that grows during your probation period, but chef Minjoon didn’t go through any of that. Can you even get that good cooking at home?”
“It’s gotta be talent, there’s no explaining it.”
“It’s not talent.”
Raphael butted into the conversation. He looked at the surprised chefs around him calmly.
“It’s difficult to get that good with just talent. You need to get hurt prepping and whatnot to get a feel for what the knife really is like. And to be that good dismantling fish… He’s had to have done thousands to get that good.”
“But chef Minjoon’s never worked in a restaurant, has he? There’s no way he’s gotten that good at home!“
“Who knows. Maybe he practiced with play-doh?”
The chefs all collectively imagined a scene of Minjoon cutting play-doh in a dimly lit room. As they all turned to look at him with eyes of pity, they noticed that the man’s hand has stopped. Right next to it was a massive fish filet.
“That looks quite good.”
Janet immediately coated it with flour. They didn’t have to cook it now. What was important was preparing the ingredients to be served with it.
Minjoon took out the pickled persian cucumber. As he started stabbing flours into it, Janet put down the green curry and goat cheese sauce on the plate. The dish would be complete once they fried the surface of the fish and put it on. Just smelling the dish made Maya drool.
“That critic’s going to have one hell of a time.”
The critic didn’t at all look nervous as he entered the restaurant. He looked confident. Maybe excited. He grinned as he stroked his fat chin.
“I’m honored that chef Rachel of all people would send out a challenge to me.”
“Well, I did invite you, but I wouldn’t call it a challenge.”
Rachel’s eyes drifted over to the man next to Jasper as he said this. The man was holding up a phone, filming the two. Jasper let out a laugh.
“Hahaha, this is my assistant. I just wanted to film this occasion. It’s pretty special, after all.”
“We wouldn’t need the phone, then.”
Jasper looked at Rachel with a curious face. Instead of responding, Rachel looked up. Jasper followed suit, and immediately paled. There were two men holding massive cameras one would use at a TV station.
“Hahaha… Amazing. Looks like the ones that come out on TV.” Jasper sounded much more subdued than before.
“That’s because they are.” Rachel responded.
Jasper’s face paled even more. Rachel continued casually.
“Two of my students are going to be filmed for something today. Something about an update after Grand Chef season 5. The two rushed over after I told them about you. I guess they thought it’d be fun.”
Jasper gave himself a pat on the back for not stuttering. To think that he’d just land himself on a TV show just like that, all thanks to Rachel…
Rachel didn’t even allow Jasper time for thought. He wasn’t really a guest here, after all.
“Come, I’ll lead you to your seat.”
“There’s no customers here? It’s lunch, isn’t it?”
It was supposed to be an attack of sorts, but Rachel just brushed it off.
“We aren’t doing lunch here anymore. It was stressing out the chefs far too much. I just feel sorry for giving them needless tasks all the time.”
She didn’t even need to mention that one of the said “needless tasks” was this one. Jasper turned red with anger, but he wasn’t able to find any words to hit back with.
“Jasper, should I keep filming?”
“Shut it. Take the phone away.”
Jasper answered with an embarrassed face and sat down. He put the napkin on his lap in one smooth movement. He pretended to look as relaxed as possible.
“A three course meal, correct?”
“Try to see if you can tell who made each dish. I’m curious if you can even tell.”
Rachel grinned. Why did that grin look so cruel to him? Jasper cleared his throat nervously.
“Like I said, what matters more is the fact that some of the dishes weren’t made by you…”
“The food is here.”
Two plates were put in front of him just like that. One of the dishes had thinly cut tofu floating in some sort of a stock, along with a pink sashimi, topped with caviar, tendon, and cilantro. The other plate had a massive piece of scallop topped with some sort of a jelly. The gears immediately started turning in Jasper’s head.
‘The sashimi dish doesn’t really have any fancy molecular gastronomy stuff applied to it… Is it by chef Rachel, then? Yeah, it’s not like she’d know a lot about it at her age. It has to be hers. So that jelly stuff must be by the demi chefs. How obvious,’
As soon as he put the dish in his mouth, he became even more sure. There was no way someone in his twenties would be able to make something so subtle and delicious. Jasper smiled confidently.
“This has to be yours!”
“The reason being?”
“There’s no way a demi chef… ah, no offense, can make something as subtle and deep as this. It tastes very interesting even without the help of molecular gastronomy. Only someone like you can be capable of that.”
Rachel’s face stiffened, which made Jasper even more sure that he was right. He began talking even faster in excitement.
“This is why I said all dishes in the restaurant has to be made by you. Of course, the demi chefs can make good food, but they definitely can’t imitate something like this! Do you understand why I was playing the role of a villain now?”
“Haha, of course you d… what?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Rachel pointed at the dish.
“I didn’t make that.”