Chapter 552: Unexpected Twist (20)
At first glance, what Min-joon said seemed to belittle what June achieved until now, so it was really harsh from her point of view.
But she wasn’t sure how to retort to him because he didn’t say it to tease her. He was also aware that given the current gap between Dave and June, it was hard for her to narrow it easily. He knew that some chefs would never be able to narrow such a gap for the rest of their lives.
Nonetheless, he had no other choice but to tell her the truth. In hindsight, she would also realize that such a little gap was not a big deal. As with everything, it was not a big deal at the end of the day.
“You’re so mean to me. If I can’t make it, I am going to end up being a stupid woman, right?”
“You don’t seem yourself to say that.”
He knew what he said was cruel to her. An ordinary chef would not be able to endure the kind of stress that he gave her, but he had to.
“Well, most people are going to give up if I tell them the same thing I said to you. They’re going to complain they can’t narrow the gap. But you should not end up just being a good chef, June. I can’t stand it. If you are really satisfied in being a good chef, I don’t think you’re qualified to run Rose Island as its top manager.”
When he said that, the cameraman’s face, who was standing behind him, turned pale. Although he was a judge of this compet.i.tion at the moment, he was her sous-chef, so the cameraman wondered how he could spit out such harsh words at his supervisor.
But she looked calm despite his harsh words.
Looking at her, he continued calmly again, “I don’t want to see a mediocre chef beat Dave. I cheered for you, Chef June, because I thought you were fully qualified for the top position of Rose Island. And I thought your greed for that position was legitimate. But if you complained you could not narrow the gap with Dave, you were not just greedy, but very greedy. Of course, I would be very disappointed if you did so.”
“You don’t have to be disappointed,” she said with a sigh.
Although he pointed out her problem cold-heartedly, she appreciated it because she could calm down her boiling emotions. She admitted that she should not be too greedy. She could not afford to allow her stupidness to mess with her achievements until now.
“Thanks, Min-joon. I’ve come to my senses thanks to your advice. I can’t allow Dave to beat me. Never.”
“There are two ways you can choose as far as your cooking is concerned. Just make a dish that makes everyone think it’s yours. But you have to make it by thinking out of the box. If you don’t like it, make a dish that makes people wonder if it’s really yours.”
“Well, it’s hard either way.”
“It’s your chance to own the world’s best restaurant chains. So, it won’t be easy, of course.”
“Yeah, I know. But I haven’t led an easy life, either.”
“Now there’s not much I can do to help you,” he said in a low voice.
He nodded at her quietly. He already lent her all the ideas and talents he could. In other words, he gave all the feedback on each recipe she made and answered all her questions one by one after thinking hard about them for at least tens of minutes, or several days at most.
“And it’s actually impossible for you to change the recipe now,” he said.
She agreed with him. There was less than a month left for the compet.i.tion to end. Even if she came up with a new recipe in a hurry during that time, it was more likely that she would not be able to make it more delicious than her existing one.
“Actually, I didn’t even think about changing it. After I tried Dave’s dishes, I wondered if I really expressed my cuisine perfectly, or perhaps most ideally.
“Only you can know it. I can’t figure out what you are aiming for and thinking when you are cooking.”
In other words, what he meant to say was that she should make it on her own from now on.
She looked at him for a moment, thinking this young chef was now more mature than her, although he was more childish than a child sometimes.
“Can you say something to encourage me?”
“Yeah. I mean I’ve heard your harsh words enough. Now, tell me something to raise my morale. Just cheer for me, please.”
He looked a bit embarra.s.sed at that. He would have felt comfortable if he had just come here to cheer for her from the beginning, but he could not easily bring out encouraging words as requested by her like this.
So, he praised her rather awkwardly.
“You’re cooler than Dave. I would like to see you run Rose Island.”
“I knew June was prudent,” Lisa said as if she was surprised that June didn’t yet come up to have her dishes evaluated.
Almost 30 head chefs of Rose Island had their dishes evaluated by Min-joon and Rachel, and there were less than ten chefs left waiting for their evaluation. But June didn’t express clearly when she would want to have her dishes evaluated.
“Well, she might want to be the last among us,” Min-joon said.
“You know what? The rest of them who haven’t yet done it are checking each other’s expressions,” Lisa responded, touching her chin
To be honest, he didn’t feel much fun while judging their dishes these days. Most of those who were confident in their cooking skills had already had their dishes evaluated, but those who didn’t yet do it were rather scared about being evaluated than prudent.
So, Min-joon understood their feelings in some respects because the cameramen were also filming their cooking, too. Given that hundreds of people including chefs and the public were watching them, it would be very difficult for them to cook in their presence. Most of the chefs had a tough personality, but not all of them were tough-minded.
“Do you know what June is doing these days?”
“Nope. All I know is she is just concentrating on cooking….”
“I’m getting worried about her.”
Watching Lisa saying that, he felt a bit strange because she was worried about June when she didn’t know what would happen to her who had a surgery recently.
Her doctor gave her 6 months, but she survived beyond 6 months. Even after one year, she has survived and she is in good condition. Min-joon didn’t know how long she would survive, but he hoped she could continue to survive.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Come on, man!”
Although he avoided her question like that, she might already have noticed what he was thinking.
“Well, you don’t have much time left before the compet.i.tion is over.”
Regardless of June’s decision to have their dishes evaluated, the compet.i.tion will be over in two weeks. By then, everybody will know who is going to be the winner.
Dave asked June if she needed his help. Back then, she kicked him out in raging anger.
Ironically, however, she was being helped by him the most right now.
‘The taste of the ingredients themselves.’
‘The unique taste of a certain dish.’
‘The biggest attraction of this recipe.’
When a chef grills a beef steak, it is not the taste of the beef that he should keep, but the taste of the steak. As a matter of fact, June didn’t pay much attention to the original taste of the ingredient until now, but she was different this time. She was now focusing on it more than ever.
And she did it only after she witnessed Dave’s cooking. Only after she witnessed his cooking did she figure out what its concept was. In that respect, Dave’s cuisine became something like a guideline for her cuisine. This was funny. Because of Dave’s cuisine, she was now forced to improve her cooking skills and change her cuisine concept, but ironically it helped her grow further as a chef.
‘Yeah, I can do it.’
She renewed her determination again. A lot of people thought that the reason she didn’t step forward yet was because she was scared. But she didn’t feel happy or sad over their groundless worries. She knew the clue. So, she thought there was nothing more foolish than her hurriedly stepping forward to get her dishes evaluated just because others were watching her carefully.
There was plenty of time left before the compet.i.tion was over, but at the same time she felt she didn’t have much time. She focused on cooking alone, using a day like one month. She didn’t care too much about their watchful eyes. She just focused on how she could make better dishes.
Time pa.s.sed quickly. And there were only four chefs who had yet to be judged. When Min-joon was done evaluating one of them and announced he was ready for the next candidate for evaluation, June raised her hand slowly finally.
The venue of the compet.i.tion became quiet all of a sudden.
“Are you ready?” Min-joon asked casually. His voice was full of trust in her. Regardless of when she would step forward, he was confident she would come out, fully ready.
So, she smiled brightly at him and replied, “Yes.”