Chapter 548: Unexpected Twist (16)
Even Rachel, who was next to him, was speechless as if she was embarra.s.sed, too. If an emcee had been next to her, he would certainly have asked her if she was silent about the taste of it because it tasted so good, but there was no emcee in this compet.i.tion. As a result, those watching the judges couldn’t help but be puzzled when they didn’t say anything even after they tried Dave’s first dish.
At that moment, June said, “What an idiot!”
“Why? What’s the matter?” Eva asked as if she couldn’t stand it out of curiosity.
It was natural that Eva asked because even all the chefs became silent after taking a sip of the soup. Instead of answering, June scooped out a little soup and handed it to Eva. Eva opened and closed her mouth but didn’t open it again.
June said, staring at Dave, “You’ve created something incredible!”
It was the best carrot soup in the world. It tasted better than carrots, and it tasted more like carrots than carrots. It was Daniel’s dish that Rachel once had mentioned. It was the most perfect taste she mentioned back then. And Dave’s cooking definitely resembled Daniel’s.
The moment they ate it, other chefs felt that they could not compete with Dave. At the same time, they wondered if they could ever catch up with him no matter how much effort they made.
The emulsion topped on carrots was flavored with a variety of herbs and spices.
And there were thousands of flavors that the carrots evoked. All kinds of flavors that carrots could create with other dishes in the world seemed to be condensed in this soup. They just could not understand how a dish so common in ordinary home cooking could bring out such an overwhelming taste. Even though there was no colorful technique in this soup, its taste was so overwhelming that those who tasted it found the insurmountable differences between it and other carrot soups.
Not only they but also June realized once again how far Dave was ahead of them.
June knew she could not beat him.
No matter what people eat, there was a taste that they duly expect, as if they take it for granted.
For example, when a person ate pork, they expect its savory taste. When they ate beef, they expect its unique blood taste, or when they ate apples, they expect its own sweetness. When they ate a tangerine, they duly expect to enjoy its unique freshness.
In fact, that was what the chefs were most concerned about. Cooking pork had never been easier. They could bring out dozens of different tastes depending on how they cooked pork, but what the general public expected most from pork was its unique pork taste.
Of course, it wasn’t that none of them had a unique taste of pork. For example, it was still the taste of pork even if it tasted like something fried in oil. But any chef could find the ideal taste among numerous tastes of pork that people wanted and satisfy their taste. So, this was a big challenge for every chef.
The reason why Deborah’s dish thrilled everyone was because they could be persuaded that she finally succeeded in finding the answer to that challenge. Bringing out the unique taste of the ingredients might look like the most basic in cooking, but the chefs found it the most challenging homework.
But Dave’s carrot soup made even Deborah forget her desire to compete with him.
‘Yeah, it’s just unreasonable for me to try to catch up with him overnight…’ Deborah thought to herself.
To be honest, Deborah had no intention of competing with Dave from the beginning. It wasn’t that she wasn’t conscious of him. It wasn’t that she didn’t consider him a great rival. As far as cooking itself was concerned, she judged that he was ahead of her. And she clearly realized again that her judgment was right. She felt like his carrot soup contained all the positive flavors that carrots could express.
But the important thing was that he had yet to show his main course.
What followed the carrot soup was beyond their expectations, as expected. It was fried foie gras. At first glance, what looked like a small piece of bread was placed on top of the yellowish cream. Rachel asked, “Just like amuse-bouche and the carrot soup, it looks like you are making fun of chefs who have been following the orthodox course by breaking it. You’re throwing away all the standard rules and common sense that people generally thought were standard in cooking as if they were not a big deal.”
“Isn’t it you who told us that we should not dwell on such things?”
“Yeah, I did,” Rachel nodded.
But she had no choice but to feel strange about Dave’s innovative break with the traditional cooking methods. She knew Dave wasn’t making just ordinary dishes, but she never imagined that he would take such an unexpected step toward the uncharted territory.
His choice of fried dish as part of the main course definitely surprised them. In general, high-end restaurants had a tendency to tacitly avoid deep-fried dishes, and even if they made a fried dish, they only served it with amuse-bouche. But it was very unusual for them to place a fried dish along with an appetizer like Dave did.
But no one wanted to question Dave’s choice because he was the best chef who knew what he was doing. After all, Dave was the kind of chef who convinced them all by serving the carrot soup that they had never expected. So, they felt Dave might have a reason for serving fried foie gras this time. They were silent and in a tense mood.
Dave said, “I’ve made the cream with carrots and dill.”
“Carrot…” Min-joon muttered.
He didn’t bother to ask Dave because he knew that putting it in his mouth and tasting it directly would be better than hearing Dave explaining to him. He just wanted to check and confirm the taste as soon as possible. He didn’t want to delay trying the cream because of his clumsy Q&A session with Dave.
So, he put the cream right into his mouth without speaking to Dave. Then he nodded. It tasted okay. Its flavor didn’t overwhelm him like the carrot soup that he ate a moment ago, but he felt like he was eating sweet pumpkin porridge.
Before putting the fried dish and cream together in his mouth, Min-joon thought for a moment what kind of taste he could feel when these two different ingredients were mixed. What did Dave aim for in creating this combination? Min-joon could immediately figure it out once he tasted it, so he thought hard over it a little more. He was afraid that once he found out the answer, he might not remember the other answers forever. Once one heard a certain melody, one could remember it and a different melody, but one couldn’t come up with something similar. Maybe it was just unnecessary extra work for him in this situation. But Min-joon loved this kind of mental suffering because this kind of opportunity to think in such a complex way could grow him so much.
‘Yeah, gastronomic level 10 is not an impossible goal for me.’
The system told him that Min-joon peeked into some possibility of achieving gastronomic level 10, although it was imperfect for now. But he couldn’t be satisfied with a glimpse of the perfect gastronomic level. He had to master it. He could not be content to be just jealous of Dave’s ability to make such a dish, but he had to make one of his own.
Min-joon thought of every flavor he could imagine to predict whether he could really make this dish. Finally, he took the fried dish to his mouth to verify his potential. And he realized again that his imagination couldn’t even keep up with reality yet. He could not reproduce Dave’s dish yet at this point.
‘This is just nonsense…’ He sneakily smiled bitterly.
While the unique luxurious taste of foie gras was melting on his tongue, he felt it perfectly matched with the subtle and simple taste of the carrot cream. That simple taste was no longer simple. No matter how poor Cinderella was, she became a member of the royal family the moment she met the prince. Just like Cinderella, the carrot cream already entered the realm of foie gras before he knew it. This was a taste that he could not compare with that of the carrot cream he enjoyed a little while ago.
‘What’s the difference?’
Min-joon thought for a moment. The difference between Kaya and him was her sense of tongue. He always thought that it was the tongue that differentiated him from her, but when he thought about Dave, he wondered if the tongue was all that could make such a difference between him and Kaya.
As far as Min-joon knew, Dave didn’t have the same perfect palate as Kaya. Nonetheless, Dave made such a wonderful dish that he could never catch up with.
‘Then, only a sense of taste isn’t all that matters?’
He could not afford to think it over now. But with such a question kept in his mind, he kept trying Dave’s dishes. Just like Rachel said, it looked like Dave wanted to sneer at many people’s typical perception of high-end cuisine. But what came out right after the fried dish made him stop thinking like that anymore.
What he served this time was soup.
“You will like it,” Dave didn’t bother to explain in detail.