Chapter 547: Unexpected Twist (15)
There are lots of chefs dreaming of Rose Island. It’s not that they are dreaming of becoming the head of Rose Island like June.
Chefs who thought it was an honor to be a part of Rose Island populated not only in the United States but also all over the world, who ranged from rookie chefs to head chefs.
Just because they belonged to Rose Island, the cooks did not get cold feet before any competent chefs. They believed that although they were not as good as established chefs for now, they would grow faster with their Rose Island experiences under their belts.
The best chef. Or a chef who will one day become the best chef of a restaurant. Even among the group of the elite chefs of the cooking industry, Dave was exalted as the best of the elites. In some respects he was such a giant chef that no other chefs couldn’t even imagine being on a par with him, so they just gave up competing with him altogether.
Many people didn’t really understand Dave’s abilities. Of course, it wasn’t hard to tell them who Dave was. For those who value chefs’ colorful biography, it was enough to tell them when Dave won Michelin three stars, and for those who want an expert evaluation, numerous fellow chefs testified his excellence.
Just because anybody was a chef who belonged to Rose Island, he or she didn’t always take over a Rose Island branch as the head chef ater. Among those who were Rachel’s students, there were many who managed to set up their own restaurants and succeeded, and in some cases, they became the head chef of a hotel that everyone would admire.
When asked what they thought of Dave, however, even those people couldn’t easily answer. It wasn’t because they didn’t know him. He was too great for them to judge easily. That’s why people were just amazed by his presence. It wasn’t surprising that they recognized Dave, but they couldn’t imagine seeing him as someone who was in a different league.
There were rumors among Dave’s acquaintances that he was the best chef of Rose Island, but that was true among cuisine experts only. June was more famous among the general public. There were lots of people who knew Min-joon, but not Dave and June.
And their ignorance was an opportunity for Dave. People couldn’t help but be puzzled. They were curious about why all the chefs praised Dave so much, and why even June was so nervous, conscious of him.
When they got to know Dave, however, they came to realize who he was and how great a chef he was. They knew he was the best chef ever, but he was not widely known to the public.
Netizens were faster than reporters. They started to find out about Dave’s career and ratings and spread it everywhere, while the reporters covering this compet.i.tion began to pay attention to him and said he was the most likely winner.
And right now Rachel and Min-joon were talking about Dave.
“Do you think Dave will win?”
“Well, I think he has a 50% chance of winning. It would have been difficult for him to win in the past, but now he has a strong chance. I think he has a pretty good chance now.”
“It looks like you take it for granted June is going to win.”
“As you know, I spent more time working for Chef June,” he replied with an awkward smile.
As a judge, he tried to be fair and objective to all the partic.i.p.ating chefs, but personally he had no choice but to cheer for June. It wasn’t just because she was his boss. He watched her cooking at close range, so it was natural that he wanted her to get the due credit for her efforts.
Of course, he knew Dave also made lots of efforts like Jun, but the difference between them was that June came this far with the goal of becoming the head of Rose Island someday while he only dedicated himself to cooking. In other words, she was different from him in terms of their hopes and dreams.
‘Of course, even if her aspirations are so strong, it won’t change the outcome.’
For now, he had no other way than to believe in her cooking.
He said, looking at Rachel, “Don’t you have any chef you are cheering for deep down?”
“Do you think I have someone in mind?”
“Even though you want to be fair, you don’t necessarily rule out your prejudices. Besides, all the chefs have their own cooking methods and style. So, I think you have found one that you might like better than others.”
She smiled at his words, but didn’t respond.
She didn’t seem to answer quickly, so he changed the question a bit.
“Okay. Let me change the question then. Comparing the cooking methods of Chef June and Chef Dave, which one do you like better?”
“You want me to choose one of them?”
His eyes twinkled. He looked so cute at that moment that she could barely hold back her laughter. Even though he was old enough, he was still childish enough to compare the two chefs.
But she didn’t want to ignore his innocent demands.
So, she opened her mouth reluctantly.
“Well, June resembles me, and Dave resembles him. You can figure out why, even if I don’t explain in detail, right?”
“Yeah. I think I know why you feel like that.”
“That’s why I’m thinking a lot about them. If June leads Rose Island, she won’t fail. But when she hits a wall, I’m a bit skeptical that she will be able to overcome it.”
She answered with a light heart at first, but at some point her voice began to grow more and more serious because comparing who is better than whom was not much different from arguing who was going to be the winner of this compet.i.tion. So, she knew how much weight her opinion on them would carry.
“Oh, that’s why you want to support June even more. Even though I know she can’t make it, I also would like to cheer for her. But since I’m weak-minded, I also cheer for Dave. You know what? I’m afraid if she resembles my weakness, it will stand in her way. Gosh, I’m a bad teacher. I’m now looking at her by reflecting on my weakness?”
“I don’t think you’re bad. You are just human.”
“How can one be perfect? One can be weak, selfish, contradictory or sometimes wrong. But I don’t think one is bad because of that. Don’t worry about being wrong. I’ll be there to help you out.”
Rachel didn’t have to thank him for saying that. She just looked at him warmly, then hugged him. That was enough. They didn’t have to worry or ask each other any more.
Finally the day came when they would evaluate Dave’s dishes. Everybody looked even more nervous and at the same time they seemed full of expectations because many people, especially the head chefs on Rose Island, believed that Dave, not June, was going to win.
Dave started cooking soon. People paid attention to the smile on his lips. In fact, he was supposed to be more nervous than anybody else, but people watching him cook looked more tense. It seemed that Dave was fully enjoying this moment.
He didn’t keep them waiting for long. His first dish was served to them. And at that moment, they were surprised because he tried something that no other head chef on Rose Island had ever tried.
“Don’t you have any amuse-bouche?” Min-joon asked, slightly bewildered.
Not all restaurants serve amuse-bouche. However, when a customer ordered the most expensive course, they served amuse-bouche as part of the course basically. Amuse-bouche might not look like a big deal, but it was the best way to make customers feel that they were treated well, thinking an amazing course just started.
But what Dave served as the first of his course was carrot soup, not amuse-bouche. There was nothing special in the soup. There was no crab meat, no lobster tail, or anything in it. Only some emulsion, which seemed to be made with herbs, was in it like fat on top of pork soup.
n.o.body expected he would start the course with this because they expected he would start off with the most luxurious dish befitting his image as the best chef and the most promising candidate for victory. How could he serve carrot soup instead? Since this was the important moment, they expected that he was going to show the most spectacular and most elaborate course. Contrary to their expectations, his first dish was so ordinary.
Dave said, “Well, I don’t have to make such colorful dishes today. The more colorful you make the dish, the less attractive it is. So, I’m going to make just ordinary dishes today.”
“Yes, but it’s something that no other chefs in the world can surpa.s.s,” he said, grinning at them. It was a smile that made them persuaded in some respects.
Dave said with a smile, “Try it and you will understand what I mean.”
Min-joon raised a spoon and scooped emulsion and soup together and put it into his mouth.
Then he was speechless for about 30 seconds.
‘Man, this is terrific! He must be crazy.’
Min-joon couldn’t help but curse him deep down. When Deborah improved her skills, he was glad to find it, and felt even happy. He just liked the fact that her cooking changed and she could bring out the richer taste of her dishes. But he felt strange now, faced with the totally different dish that he expected from Dave.