Chapter 553: Unexpected Twist (21)
June surpa.s.sed herself. It was rather ambiguous to ask if she could beat Dave or not. In fact, she could make her dish better by using the tip she obtained from Dave’s cuisine. After all, she might find it hard to catch up with him despite her desperate efforts.
At least for now, she didn’t care about such trivial things. She just kept trying to do better. It didn’t matter if she could outpace Dave or not.
“Okay. I’m ready.”
And on that day, she immediately started preparing the ingredients of her dishes. While preparing gazpacho or jellies, she never neglected to check the plates for all the dishes.
The plate might not seem important, but it was one of the most important things that determined people’s perception of a dish. Fortunately or unfortunately, Dave didn’t pay much attention to anything other than taste in this contest. Even if he had paid attention to it, nothing would have changed because his plating skills were far behind hers.
In the meantime, Min-joon helped her with not only trivial but also important things while she was cooking. Given that he was her sous chef, it was natural that he did so, even though he was a judge of this compet.i.tion. And he couldn’t help but be a little surprised that there was a slight change in her cooking score. Although he didn’t notice it in all her dishes, some of them clearly saw an increase in her cooking score. While helping her prepare the dishes, he concluded that her cooking had no room for improvement, so it was surprising that she had a higher cooking score than before.
‘Does this mean I couldn’t find it from my perspective?’
Obviously, she finally found a way to go one step further. He was not sure if he should praise her tenacious efforts or just call her a tough cookie.
Finally, the day arrived when the judges would evaluate her dishes. Today the way the judges evaluated her dishes was quite unusual because Min-joon was her judge as well as her sous chef. The cameramen who saw him standing in front of the kitchen were busy clicking the shutters, with their eyes twinkling.
“Well, he freely criticized the chefs until now. I wonder if he could do the same to June.”
“He should prove he is qualified enough to have criticized others.”
If Min-joon had been a gourmet, they would not have commented about his cooking skills, no matter how good or bad. Since he was a chef, however, there were lots of people who would obviously start to criticize him if his cooking skills were lacking. Of course, if they were worried about Min-joon’s abilities, it meant that they didn’t even understand the current situation properly.
Aside from the fact that his cooking skills outpaced typical chefs, he was June’s sous chef. So, it’s natural that he could cook well. That was what Angela thought until he started cooking.
“Well, he is definitely different…”
An a.s.sistant PD sitting next to her spoke in an embarra.s.sed voice. Angela nodded at his comment. There were rumors that he might not be the best chef, but the best sous chef in the world. Such rumors were no exaggeration.
Compared to other chefs, June certainly seemed overwhelmingly comfortable while she was cooking. Without taking her order separately, he directed his junior chefs in an instant, and at the same time, he cooked perfectly. Looking at the way he handled the frying pan just like his hands, they could not believe even in their dreams that he had only several years of cooking experience under his belt, given his remarkable cooking skills. In other words, his cooking skills were overwhelming. That was what impressed the reporters covering this compet.i.tion. In terms of charisma, June and he were clearly in a different league.
So Angela thought that if there was a miracle in this event, there were no other chefs who deserved the name ‘Hero of Miracle’ more than June and Min-joon.
It was natural that Angela thought so. As far as cooking compet.i.tions were concerned, Min-joon was superior to any other chefs in this compet.i.tion. He went through all kinds of compet.i.tions, small or large, including the Grand Chef, Paris International Culinary Compet.i.tion, not to mention Rose Island.
Of course, compared with the general cooking compet.i.tions, this compet.i.tion was rather unusual because there were no particular requirements or time limit. All the partic.i.p.ants were supposed to do was to cook, as usual. The only thing they could do was to make their dishes better than others. In other words, they were expected to produce the best cuisine.
There was only one thing Min-joon could do right now to achieve it. In other words, his job was to check each and every part of June’s cooking thoroughly, so she could not miss out on anything.
Such a checking process might not seem important, but that was where lots of chefs failed. As a matter of fact, there were not many chefs whose recipes were not incomplete. Of course, some of them came up with overly ambitious recipes to put out feelers for the judges, but most chefs wanted recognition, not compet.i.tion, in this compet.i.tion.
What they wanted was Rachel’s recognition. In fact, her recognition meant more to them than gold and jewels. If they had wanted money or fame, they would have found jobs at a hotel rather than staying at Rose Island under Rachel’s control.
The fact that they were still working as head chefs on Rose Island clearly showed how much they trusted and longed for her recognition.
So, many of them didn’t try to bite more than they could chew in this compet.i.tion. If they had done so, they would not have stopped taking a chance with recipes alone. Actually, they constantly struggled to overcome what they thought was a wall.
Min-joon never thought that their desperate efforts were meaningless. As a matter of fact, compared with what he witnessed during his visit to their restaurants before, he saw them producing better dishes in this compet.i.tion. So, he saw their great potential and change.
He just hoped June could also change, and her change could bring her what she wanted.
To help her achieve her goal, Min-joon was determined she should not make any mistake. As a result, the tone of his voice when he ordered the kitchen staff was more stern than before, and the way he sensed the temperature of the frying pan was as sharp as an awl.
Since he was behind her while she was cooking, June felt more secure and rea.s.sured. She felt like she could achieve anything. More precisely, she didn’t even think about accomplis.h.i.+ng something, at least for now. She just wanted to show them her best dish, and how she spent her life until now. She wanted to prove that she didn’t waste her time, only consumed by her ambitions.
Finally, the first of her courses, amuse-bouche was served.
It was a meringue sandwich made with beet, decorated with horseradish cream. It was an amuse-bouche that would melt in one’s mouth immediately with one bite, but the plate was large enough to contain even a large turkey.
The plate designed with blue tiles stuck together had meringue on its center. It was none other than this plate that June had been looking for in order to match this meringue one with it. If the red color of the beet meringue sandwich was combined with that blue color of the plate, their contrast could bring out the presence of the beet even more vividly, she thought.
In fact, the chefs who were facing the meringue right now felt a strange feeling as if they were served an abundant dish even though there was only one meringue sandwich on their plates.
Obviously, June’s dish was impressive. It wasn’t a matter of taste, but a matter of plating and art.
“It’s strange. She looks more insensitive than anybody else, but she has the most artistic sense among us,” Deborah muttered as if she was funny.
June had a really boring personality. Her personality looked even inhumane. She had nothing that resembled humanity, after all. But watching her cooking, Deborah was forced to admit that it was all her misunderstanding and prejudices because she had no choice but to recognize that her sensibility as evidenced clearly in her dishes was as good as a girl or an artist.
When they finished eating the meringue sandwiches, they were served with an accompaniment. There were three flavors—Vodka and lime, Tequila and grapefruit, gin and tonic. After the chefs chose one of them to rinse their mouths with, what came out next was the grain mustard ice cream with red cabbage gazpacho that June had shown Nathan the other day.
Of course, Min-joon couldn’t taste it now. He couldn’t taste it even now, but it was rather unreasonable for him to taste the sample dish as a judge, then ask him to prepare the next dish at the same time. As a matter of fact, June thought of making the dishes again for Min-joon’s evaluation after all the chefs were done testing the sample dishes first.
Deborah was even envious of that. Of course, the dish Min-joon made in person was perfect, but she thought if June made the dish by herself, it would be more fun.
At that moment, another dish that showed June’s extraordinary cooking skills best came out, which Min-joon praised highly.