Chapter 631: A Flower on the Cliff (9)
Peter looked at Kaya. There was no revenge or anything like that in his eyes. Rather, his eyes were clear. It would be a bit difficult to compare that to the eyes of a sage, but Kaya thought that she lost to him at the moment because he looked so detached.
“It’s a great dish. I didn’t expect you would add up the components of masala one by one and bring out its taste all at once. I was really surprised to discover that you actually wanted to give it a strong aftertaste, though I thought at first its scent was too strong.”
“Thank you, Kaya.”
Peter replied briefly. He didn’t have to give a long reply. She smiled softly then shut her mouth. After that, Min-joon and Joseph added their own comments, but they were not much different from hers.
Now it was Gwen’s turn.
No wonder she looked nervous. As a matter of fact, she betted a lot on this contest, and she witnessed Peter receiving a rave review from the judges and invited chefs. So she had no choice but to feel extremely nervous.
“The way the chefs look at him is really good. Yeah very much.”
She tried not to be conscious at first, but she had no choice but to watch the faces of the other chefs from start to finish, who were trying Peter’s dishes. And when they frowned a bit while trying his dishes, she began to entertain some hope deep down because Peter’s bad score could increase her chance of winning.
But it turned out that Peter was not on weak ground. The chefs were rather confused rather than favorable to Peter. Just as Min-oon could not properly evaluate Peter’s cuisine, they could not, either. Obviously, they were agonizing over whether they should regard Peter’s cooking as a novel and revolutionary try, or an erratic dish that lost touch with reality.
Gwen felt it instinctively. The full course she made did not have as much impact as Peter. Her full course was just typical. Her cooking did not include techniques such as molecular cuisine, nor did it blend all the traits of other countries’ cuisine. It was just a decent full course, namely a very neat and neat full course for an amateur chef. That was the best score Gwen could expect from this compet.i.tion.
It was funny. Gwen didn’t try adventurous cooking this time because she took this opportunity too seriously to stick her neck out. But for that reason, the fate of this mission depended on Peter. If she won, it was because he was too adventurous. If she didn’t win, it was because the judges recognized his adventurous cooking.
Since she didn’t go to the trouble of taking the risk, it was only natural that Peter who took the risk would be the hero of this compet.i.tion. Of course, she could also be the winner, but she could not be the hero of this compet.i.tion.
There was no guarantee that she would win, but she began to cook anyway. She deliberately did not look at the faces of the judges or the chefs. She didn’t want to be swayed by their expressions. She focused solely on cooking and her role as a head chef who was still on quite shaky ground. She made no mistakes. Her cooking was perfect.
As a result, the judges and the invited chefs had no choice but to agonize.
“Man, it’s hard. Was she Gwen? She is really good at cooking. I have the impression that she understands cooking fully, but I don’t know how to express it…”
“I understand what you’re trying to say. If you tried Peter’s dish, you have no choice but to feel her dish tastes rather bland, regardless of whether it’s delicious or not.”
“Well, we feel more attracted to the type of dish that’s fresh and challenging. But customers might feel different from us.”
The invited chefs’ debate about her dish intensified. Eventually, some of them even visited the staff and judges to ask about the guideline on their voting. Some of them wanted to vote as chefs, but others as customers. Naturally, it was Peter that they would like to vote for in their capacity as chefs, while they would rather vote for Gwen as customers.
And the staff and judges came up with the same answer. Their answer to the invited chefs was just to forget the voting guideline and cast their votes for the person they wanted to. Instead of solving their problem, however, it made them agonize even further. The invited chefs frowned, agonizing further. They didn’t like the insufficient perfection of Peter’s dish even though they wanted to vote for him. As for Gwen, the only thing they liked was her perfect dishes, which were far from an original and adventurous cooking like Peter’s.
They had to choose between a ruined royal palace and a neat house.
“Have you decided?”
“Yeah, I’ve made up my mind.”
Min-joon nodded at Kaya’s question. Even before he tried Gwen’s food, he already made up his mind. As he said it repeatedly, the fate of this compet.i.tion depended on Peter from the beginning.
A little later, all of them were done voting. Joseph received the vote count from Martin and stood on the podium with an incredulous expression.
“First, I’ll announce the invited chefs’ votes. I see a big difference between them. 17 vs 13. Who do you think got 17 votes?”
He was booed by the chefs. So he stopped pretending to act as a clumsy moderator.
He smiled brightly and opened his mouth.
“Gwen got 17 votes. The reason they chose her was that from the point of view of customers, they seemed to think what they could serve the customers was mostly her dishes. I understand your feelings. Peter, your cooking was fresh and great, but you need to make it more perfect. You know that, right?”
Peter nodded without showing any dissatisfaction because he tried it knowingly.
Joseph laughed softly and said, “I think you knew it, too, but you dared to give it a try, so I would like to praise your courage to take on the challenge. Your cooking was excellent. Everybody here knows it.”
“That’s enough,” Peter answered quietly.
Of course, he didn’t say that because he was conceited. After all, the reason he came to this compet.i.tion was because he wanted to show them he was not as narrow-minded and stupid as they thought. He wanted to show them he was the same as them, and that he had some bright and pretty light just like them. Peter’s light shone.
“Now, let me announce the judges’ vote count. First, let me start off with my vote. I chose you, Peter. And I chose you for the same reasons as other chefs. Gwen’s preference for being on the safe side is good, but I think your challenge will someday make you s.h.i.+ne a lot more than ordinary chefs. So I voted for you. Next is Min-joon’s turn. Would you like to say it yourself, Min-joon?” Joseph said, turning to him.
Min-joon stepped forward and slowly opened his mouth.
“I voted for Gwen.”
Peter’s eyes wiggled at his words. Even he didn’t know why. He might have thought deep down that Min-joon would vote for him. It was not because of his friends.h.i.+p. He thought that even if his dish needed more perfection, Min-joon would appreciate the value of his challenge.
“I agree with Joseph. Peter, you’re going to be a great chef someday. But that doesn’t mean you’re great now. The Grand Chef evaluates the partic.i.p.ants’ cooking skills now, not in the coming days. At least today, Gwen was much more prepared than you. Your attempt was beautiful, but no matter how good a car is, you can’t sell it if it doesn’t have the right engine.”
After all, it was a tie again. The score was 22 to 18. It was a difference of 4 points.
In the end, the winner of this compet.i.tion would depend on who Kaya voted for.
Min-joon looked at Kaya slowly.
She opened her mouth.
“Well, it all depends on my vote anyway.”
Not only the invited chefs but also Gwen and Peter, who seemed a bit disappointed by Min-joon’s rating, looked at Kaya blankly. There was clearly something like an irritated frustration on their faces. Some of them were ready to boo if she didn’t make a quick announcement. But she felt better.
Anyway, She had the final say.
She cleared her throat and adjusted her clothes. Then she looked around slowly. While she was doing it, Gwen and Peter’s hearts were beating hard, but she didn’t care.
“Gwen, Peter. I know how hard you guys worked to get here. So I don’t want to praise you for that because despite my praise one of you would be a loser anyway.”
As a judge, she was being rather prudent and serious. So Gwen couldn’t even press her and quietly looked at her. She was imagining something sweet again and again in her mind. Actually, Kaya was the type of role model that she had been longing for.
‘Only if Kaya could vote for her in this final match, so I can win.’