Chapter 635: Chef’s Wedding Ceremony (1)
“Where shall we go? Kitchen?”
“No. I want to talk with you for a minute right now. Actually, I have some things to discuss with you about my wedding.”
“Alright. Then let’s go to my office.”
He followed her to the office. The sunlight coming through the window was warm. This was the place where he had many memories as warm as the sunlight. It was right here where he had his pomegranate dessert, which Peter tried hard to duplicate at the Grand Chef, vetted by her a long time ago. However, he wouldn’t have to come to this office with his dish from now on. He wouldn’t have to nervously wait for the results of her vetting. Time had changed. They had changed, too. Min-joon was no longer a child. He was no longer a junior chef. Rachel didn’t want to teach him anymore. Rather she had lots of expectations of him, which were so high and so sweet that she couldn’t turn away from them.
“You’re getting married, but why am I so excited?” she asked.
When she asked, he thought the reason why she was too immersed in his life was because he felt victimized by her. In other words, he might have been stricken with the victim mentality that she regarded him as something like a means of vicarious satisfaction that could make up for what she could not get in her life.
“Thanks for the wedding menu. I have nothing to point out, but I just want to ask you for a few more things. I wish there were a few more recipes that Kaya and I would make, in addition to Six Meats and Cho Reggiano.”
“You guys really care a lot about the wedding menu.”
“Well, this is a chef couple’s wedding, so I don’t want to give the impression that our menu is sloppy. I don’t want the menu irrelevant to us. By the way, I have got a list of additional menu recipes. Can you put them on the menu?”
“Well, even if I can’t, let me try to make it happen. You know I’m still competent enough,” she replied in a calm voice.
He didn’t respond, though. In fact, he even thought about going into the kitchen himself to make the dishes for his wedding. But it was too crazy for him to go into the kitchen and cook on his wedding day. Of course, his cooking would be meaningful. If he could cook on the most important day of his life, how couldn’t it be meaningless?
But on that wedding day, he would have to find more meaning in his relations.h.i.+p with Kaya than cooking, for that was the essence of marriage. It was a day where one man and one woman, not two chefs, have a wedding ceremony. It was a day when they promise to be together for the rest of their lives. So, he should restrain himself from showing too excessive a desire for cooking even on his wedding day.
“It’s funny. I never really thought about it when you were dating Kaya, but now that I see you, you two are trying to run a couple’s restaurant just like me and Daniel did.”
“You bet. But if your spouse is a chef, you have no choice but to want to run a restaurant together. We’ll have fun whatever we do together, so we will be really happy if we do something we love the most in the world like cooking together.”
“Well, not necessarily,” she said in a low voice.
Obviously, what she said put a damper on him whose wedding was around the corner, but he didn’t say anything. Rachel was the one who once got married, so he thought that whatever she said, he would listen to her with a grain of salt.
“Since you are doing the best thing with the person you love the most, you might end up hating both your wife and what you’re doing. It’s sad because you are losing what you love the most in the world all at once.”
When he heard that, he thought maybe the reason why Rachel was secluded from cooking for ten years was not necessarily because she could not be confident of surpa.s.sing Daniel. Cooking killed Daniel. The only reason Daniel got stuck in the kitchen in the intense heat during summer was because of his obsession with cooking.
Rachel must have hated cooking, and at the same time, she must have hated Daniel whose death made her hate cooking. And her resentment was deep-rooted in her mind for a long time, weighing her down heavily.
“I hope you won’t hate either of them,” she said, smiling faintly.
He felt a bit heartbroken at her smile. Even though she cheered for him, she was quite weak-minded. She just wished he would enjoy the kind of happiness that she had wanted to have, but could not. She told it just for him, but at the same time, she wanted to have vicarious satisfaction through him.
“I won’t hate you,” he replied.
He felt he wanted to embrace her weakness at least for now because he was convinced that she cared for him deep down. He could not push her out recklessly when she really cared for him.
“So did you come to see me for this recipe?”
“You could have messaged me on the internet.”
“Well, I just stopped by for that, but I also wanted to come and see if you’re doing well.”
“I’m doing fine. Sooner or later, our restaurant is going to appear in the Michelin booklet. Then we’re going to have more reservations again.”
“Why? You are not fully booked right now?” he asked with a surprised expression.
Even though Rose Island’s main restaurant did not receive Michelin stars, its impact as the best restaurant in America was pretty strong. As a matter of fact, lots of people around the world visit Rose Island when they visit America. So he could not understand why it was not fully booked, which was quite unfamiliar to him.
“Well, nope,” she said calmly.
It seemed that she already knew that this was going to happen.
“Whenever we received Michelin stars for various reasons, we happened to move to another place, and when we moved here, Michelin delayed giving us stars again. As a result, many people began to get less and less interested in our restaurant.”
“But those customers who visited here know your cooking, right? How come they didn’t come back when they appreciated it?”
“There aren’t as many people who truly appreciate my cooking as you think,” she replied calmly. “No matter how great a dish you may make, some people may think it tastes rather complicated and unattractive. Most people are not so knowledgeable about the level of cooking. They tend to judge cooking based on three factors—something delicious, something edible, and something tasteless. Of course, there are customers who appreciate the taste and understand all the ingredients that I want in their dishes, but such guests are always rare.”
He could understand what she was talking about.
Just by looking at the gap between commercial and high-level cuisine, it was not difficult to imagine how simple a standard people set for the dishes.
“I feel a bit bitter to hear that.”
“Well, it’s not just because there are few customers who can appreciate the taste. Even those who know the taste have already tasted enough in my restaurant. So no matter how much you change the menu, it’s inevitable you are catching up slow. Besides, there aren’t that many people who want to have three meals here everyday. That’s not desirable whether it’s for financial reasons or their taste. I wouldn’t do so, either.”
“Yeah, I know. No matter how delicious a dish is, you will be sick and tired of it if you keep eating it.”
“That’s the same with our relations.h.i.+p,” she continued naturally. “The way Kaya looks at you is the same as before, but I have seen lots of differences over time. When I saw her first, your eyes sparkled like flames, but now your eyes are as calm as a brook. Maybe your eyes will become calmer in the future and get frozen.”
Every time he heard that kind of stuff, he really couldn’t believe it. Would the day ever come when he would fall out of love with her? Even Rachel, who just said it, still loved Daniel. As if she read his mind from his looks, she said, “It doesn’t mean you won’t love her. What I mean is the way you love her will change. I just wanted to say that even if your love for her loses its sizzle, you should not be surprised. Sorry to tell you this when your wedding is around the corner.”
“Thank you. I’ll keep it in mind. Let me leave now. Kaya is waiting for me…”
He got up from his seat with a smile. As he headed toward her door, he quietly turned to her and said, “Even if the way I love her changes, one thing will never change.”
“I will love the one I like until the end.”
“Yeah, you should.”
“You, too, right?”
She looked at him.
Looking into his old master’s tender eyes, he smiled like a child.
He said shyly, “Even if I change my feelings about you a bit, I’ll always care for you, Rachel. I like you.”