Chapter 546: Unexpected Twist (14)
“Well, when I listen to their story, I don’t think June has anything to lose even if she loses to David,” said Min-joon slyly. Of course, it was clear why he said that.
June stared at him for a moment.
Then she replied, pretending to be calm, “Don’t talk like that. I don’t have any intention of losing to him.”
“Even if you lose, I guess you have a plan.”
He asked with his eyes wide open as if he didn’t expect such an answer. He knew the reason she was always successful was because she always took into account the possibility of her failure. Even when things didn’t work out as she planned, she always prepared for the best course of action in advance, so she could continue to move on without any hesitation.
But she just said that she didn’t have any contingency plan if she lost in this compet.i.tion. This compet.i.tion was far from trivial because her career was at stake, so it was unthinkable for her not to have any plan in case of her failure to win the compet.i.tion. This didn’t befit her personality.
As if she read his mind, she said in a weary voice, “I’ve been planning all this stuff for this event. In other words, I’ve been hanging in there until now because of my goal of being the head of Rose Island, but I don’t want to plan for the moment when all my preparations become meaningless. I will probably be broken in many ways if that moment comes.”
“I think I mentioned it so carelessly…”
“It’s okay. Maybe I’m thinking about it too hard. Well, I know I’m living while I’m pretending to be smart and clever, but I’m acting like a fool in an important place. But isn’t it more human to see somebody like me being stupid?”
He smiled a bit at her words. She sounded humane. In fact, many people thought that she was inhumane. However, as far as he was concerned, he had never thought of her like that.
Why? Just by watching her cook, he could feel how dedicated she was to cooking. As someone who witnessed how much she loved cooking, how could he think she was inhumane?
“I hope you can win.”
He was not irresponsible enough to tell her she would win. Even if he told her she would win, she would not feel better because he knew the stark situation she was in. Dave was not the one who she could beat with certainty.
She looked at him with a smile for a moment. When she met him first, she thought he was really threatening enough to make her scared, but after she embraced him as her sous chef, she realized he was cute and kind-hearted. So much so that she sometimes felt he was her nephew.
“Yeah, I have to win.”
“I want to see Chef June running the Rose Island main restaurant. And I wonder how Rose Island will change under your leaders.h.i.+p.”
In fact, there will be no big difference in the restaurant itself even if she takes over the helm. Whether it’s a Rose Island branch or its head restaurant, there will be no difference in how much effort she can make. However, the overall atmosphere of Rose Island will be quite different because her management skills will affect every branch. No matter how much he thought about it, Min-joon thought it would be much better for June to run the head restaurant in terms of its business than Dave. But Min-joon thought it was embarra.s.sing to tell her about it. He believed she already noticed how he thought about her.
At that moment, she said, changing the topic a bit, “By the way, there are lots of rumors about you.”
“Yeah, all the partic.i.p.ants here are arguing over your evaluation. Of course, they already knew about you when you were busy working for Choters Guide, but you didn’t get their attention more than now. Do you remember how you praised Deborah?”
“Not really. What I was concerned about was Deborah’s cooking, not myself.”
“You know what? When you praised her, you looked so happy. That’s why they were more amazed by your admiration of her cooking. They seemed to think that if you could be so happy because of a good dish, you would do anything to make people happy with your cooking. I think you are a chef by nature. Of course, you must be cunning if you have intended it.”
“But I wasn’t impressed at all when I judged Chef Nathan’s dishes.”
She smiled as if she agreed.
“You fumed instead. Well, you were cool anyway when you got upset with him because they trusted you more. They came to realize you didn’t gloss over his poor cooking just because you guys were affiliated with Rose Island. Your reaction was lukewarm when you evaluated other chefs after that, though.”
“Well, I didn’t do it intentionally. Their dishes were not impressive enough.”
“I guess so. They just get by while relying on the name Rose Island. Some of them are in a slump before they know it. Of course, those guys who work at the branches that Michelin Guide evaluators visit to stay on alert, but other guys are not.”
“These days, Yelp plays a big role in helping the general public leave feedback about restaurants, so I guess they should be on alert.”
“Well, the reason they get a good review there is because they are just concerned about the looks and service quality of their restaurants. Besides, they are basically good at cooking. The thing is the general public don’t dig into their cuisine too much.”
After that, they stopped talking for a moment.
After trying to think about something, he asked, “By the way, when are you going to have your dishes evaluated, Chef June?”
“Do you want me to get your evaluation quickly?”
“To be honest, I wish you and Dave could get our evaluation quickly because it’s better for people here to see the results than to keep wondering which of you get the better score.”
“What do you think? Is it okay if I just cook like now?” she asked, pretending to be calm.
But he could notice she was becoming a bit diffident.
He understood her. Actually, he saw Nathan s.c.r.e.w.i.n.g up his cuisine because he could not overcome his fear. So, he had to tell her something.
“Any particular cuisine you have in mind?”
“Then, just challenge it. That’s the best you can do right now.”
Despite Min-joon’s advice, June would not step up first to get her dishes evaluated quickly, nor did Dave. Some of the chefs said they were waging a war of nerves between the two chefs, while others thought they might want to get the evaluation last because they wanted to get the most attention.
Of course, n.o.body could blame the two chefs because they didn’t want to get tested quickly. Nonetheless, the reason why other chefs paid so much attention to the two chefs was because they were wary of these two promising candidates as Rachel’s successor.
Nevertheless, the fact that they were bothered by June and Dave was good evidence that they were afraid of both.
It was natural for them to want the two chefs to get evaluated first. In any case, it was obvious that they were the strongest candidates for the victory, so their cuisine could serve as a yardstick to check against their dishes.
But neither June nor Dave didn’t do so. Min-joon felt a bit strange about their reluctance. He could understand why she could not step forward first, but he could not understand Dave dragging his feet. Given his personality, he would have wanted to get it done quickly.
So, Min-joon directly asked Dave when he would want to have his cuisine evaluated, and why he was dragging his feet so long. But Dave’s reply was unexpected.
“Well, I don’t want to make other chefs get cold feet because of me.”
“Yeah, just think about it. You’ve been struggling to become a scientist since you were young, but your friend is Einstein lecturing about the theory of relativity in front of you. Then, do you think you can feel up to competing with him?”
“Gosh, you’re so eloquent!”
“Because I’m a great chef, as you know,” Dave said, shrugging with a giggle.
Min-joon clicked his tongue, surprised by his slyness.
Min-joon felt Dave was a bit arrogant, but he didn’t point it out because he knew Dave’s cuisine.
He was aware that Dave was full of pride and confidence now. The reason June had been agonizing over her cuisine so much throughout the year was because she thought it was too hard to surpa.s.s him.
However, Min-joon was confident. And that was why he helped June.
Min-joon said, “You don’t have to worry about Chef June, to say the least.”
“Yes, she has improved better than you think.”
“That’s good,” said Dave, giggling at him. He did not try to deny Min-joon’s judgment. Since he already witnessed Min-joon evaluating his dishes at his restaurant, he knew enough how accurate and sophisticated Min-joon’s sense of cooking was.
“Then, shall I go and have my dishes evaluated first?”
“Is it okay for you to change your mind so easily? Chef June will be okay, but other chefs might get scared.”
“It’s their business, not mine.”
“Then, you have been concerned about Chef June from the beginning?”
He looked at Dave with a puzzled expression. Dave, too innocent for his age, sometimes looked great enough to draw Min-joon’s respect, but he sometimes looked so immature.
When Dave said he would be the next to have his cuisine evaluated in a few days, Min-joon was stunned by his bold decision again. And when he made the dishes in person, Min-joon was stunned in another sense, so were the other chefs.
Even Rachel was stunned to find Dave was way better than before.
“Gosh, he’s driving me nuts!”