God of Cooking

God of Cooking

God of Cooking
Chapter 35

Chapter 35: Chapter 35: Chef’s cooking (2)
Cho Min Joon headed over to the waiting room after the interview. He had always thought this, but today’s interview didn’t seem meaningful at all. And it also had to do with the fact that his mind was elsewhere.
As soon as he opened the door to the waiting room, Cho Min Joon’s eyes searched for Kaya. But he didn’t see her anywhere. The only person he could meet eyes with was Anderson. Cho Min Joon smirked and said, “Hey, Mr. A.”
“… You shameless bastard.”
“I already apologized last time. I didn’t do it on purpose. Why would I do that to you after thanking you?”
“But you did.”
“Yeah, but…”
The other contestants were surprised at how comfortably Anderson spoke with Cho Min Joon. Anderson didn’t get along very well with any of the contestants. He was kind of like the male Kaya Reuters. But seeing him converse so casually surprised many.
And the same went for Chloe and Marco. Chloe put her chin on Cho Min Joon’s shoulder and smiled. Her straight black hair ticked the back of his neck. Chloe then asked, “Huh? Since when were you two so close?”
“That’s not it. We’re not close at all.”
Anderson grumbled as he sat on the sofa. Cho Min Joon tapped on Chloe’s chin, which was resting on his shoulder. Chloe lifted her head and asked, “Did the interview go well?”
“Same old. They just asked questions and I answered them.”
“You didn’t do it right last time, which is why people don’t like you.”
Cho Min Joon was speechless. He puffed up his cheeks. He didn’t really know what to say. Chloe was right. He thought he spoke well, but he didn’t know how to differentiate between the things he should say and shouldn’t say.
‘Maybe I’m just used to teaching children at school.’
He had a bitter taste in his mouth. Cho Min Joon sat on the sofa as he looked up at Chloe. He then asked, “Where’s Kaya?”
“It’s about time you asked. She left just a minute ago. She said she wanted some fresh air.”
“Did something happen?”
“No, not really.”
Cho Min Joon trailed off. Marco then spoke from beside him, “Why are you so worried? She’s a strong kid.”
“Yeah, you’re right. But she’s just a kid.”
Cho Min Joon let out a sigh. He was still a teacher at heart. Just like Jessie, Kaya made him feel a sense of responsibility. After all, he didn’t become a teacher just for stability alone.
That was the kind of person Cho Min Joon was. Nosy? Some people saw him that way, but he really didn’t like to see unprepared children suffering because of reality.
But it also wasn’t in his place to step up and comfort her. He was able to help Jessie with the jelly because of the circumstances, but Kaya was different. The environment as well as her personality. Cho Min Joon asked, “How much time do we have before the mission?”
“There are 3 more interviews left. So probably in 15 minutes? Are you going to look for her?”
In response to Marco’s question, Cho Min Joon shook his head. He didn’t have the right to step up and do something. All three of them grew silent. And it was Chloe who broke that silence.
“What do you think the mission will be?”
“This mission is called ‘vegetables’.”
Emily introduced the topic with a cheerful voice. Cho Min Joon looked at Emily. Emily smiled and met eyes with all of the contestants. She then continued, “When you manage a restaurant, you’ll always get vegetarian customers. And you’ll encounter them many times. Vegans don’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy, while those who can consume dairy are lacto. Today, you must consider the judges as lacto. In other words, you cannot use any meat products except for eggs and dairy products. Fish are also off-limits.”
The conditions were strict. It was a relief that they could still use eggs and dairy, but the fact that they couldn’t use meat restricted them quite a bit. And for Westerners, who based all of their dishes on meat, this was especially difficult.
But not for Cho Min Joon. He was Korean. And Koreans ate a lot of vegetables. He had many recipes inside his head made of vegetables. But the problem lied elsewhere.
‘7 points. Should I worry about that?’
His perception of cooking scores had changed. The higher the scores, the better the dishes. But just because a dish had a low score didn’t mean it was a bad dish.
But since cooking scores were important when the judges evaluated the dishes, the higher the scores the better. But Cho Min Joon thought of two recipes inside his head. One was 7 points and the other was 6 points. His head was telling him to go for the 7-point dish, but his heart wanted the 6.
The recipe for the 7-point dish was simple. He had to boil white broccoli and cauliflower. He then had to mix in paprika and butter and then grill it with the cauliflower before sprinkling bread crumbs and herbs on top. It was a simple recipe, but it required a lot of care and skill.
As for the 6-point dish, he was quite used to it. It was a recipe that he got from a Korean temple. It was a cabbage roll with tofu, mushrooms, and herbs. On top of that, he had to add bibimbap with an egg, and seaweed soup.
It wasn’t because he had an urge to show off a Korean dish. It was only worth 6 points, but the judges would probably find it very refreshing. That was what he calculated.
Before he made a decision, Allen spoke, “This is an individual mission. You must make your own dishes.”
No one answered. They were already busy coming up with recipes. Joseph spoke with a calm voice, “We’ll give you 5 minutes to come up with the menu. Please make your own vegetarian dish. And for the cooking, you’ll have 60 minutes.”
Cho Min Joon fell deep into thought. He thought it was best to prepare a full Korean meal. The only thing that bothered him was the 6-point score. But he couldn’t let the scores control him forever. Cho Min Joon wasn’t a gamer but a chef. Right now, his senses as a chef told him to go with the Buddhist meal.
Cho Min Joon looked around him. There were 21 contestants at this point. And all of them were participating with all their passion. He felt his pride getting hurt. Even though it was a skill that he was given, he didn’t’ like that he was thinking numbers among all of them.
‘Okay, I’ll follow my instinct. I’m a chef.’
He didn’t have to be loyal to the system. It was just a tool that he could use. If he let the scores control him, he was no different from a system rather than a person named Cho Min Joon.
At that moment, the buzzer went off. That meant they had to start cooking. Joseph called, “60 minutes! You may begin!”
Cho Min Joon immediately headed to the pantry. What he had to prepare was simple. Seaweed, perilla seeds, rice, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.
What he had to take care of first was the rice. Cho Min Joon washed the rice. He poured out the water and added water again. Since they didn’t have an electronic rice cooker, he had to use a pressure cooker. Electric rice cookers were common in Korea and Japan, but not in foreign countries. Grand Chef had many ingredients and tools, but not electronic rice cookers.
After starting the rice, he started on the perilla seed seaweed soup. He worked on the seaweed first. Cho Min Joon left the seaweed in a bowl of water and then squeezed out the water. After that was the perilla seeds. Cho Min Joon finely graded the perilla seeds.
After that was simple. Cho Min Joon fried the seaweed in oil and added perilla powder, rice water, and minced garlic and then put on the lid. This was why he kept the rice water from before. He couldn’t use an anchovy broth for vegetarians. Rice water was lacking, but it had to do.
As for seasoning, he could wait until after it boiled. Cho Min Joon put on the lid and began the next step. Potato pancakes and cabbage rolls. He had to work on the cabbage rolls first. As for the potato pancakes, it was best to do it, later on, to keep it crispy.
First, Cho Min Joon put the cabbage into the water with salt and vinegar. After that, he cut up the vegetables and squeezed out the water from the tofu. He couldn’t let the excess water soak the rest of the ingredients.
At that moment, Joseph approached and watched Cho Min Joon. Cho Min Joon didn’t mind him as he continued to cook the cabbage. Emily, who was also watching, asked in frustration, “Joseph, why are you watching him like that?”
“Because I’m curious. It looks like Min Joon might make a whole feast instead of just one dish.”
“Really…? Will you have enough time?”
Cho Min Joon didn’t answer Emily’s question. Emily smiled awkwardly. Cho Min Joon’s eyes were fixed on the cooking station. He couldn’t even hear their voices. He was completely focused.
The hardest part about making a meal was doing many dishes at once. He had to focus on one before switching over to something else. There was a reason why many stay-at-home wives often turned around and screamed at their burnt food. But of course, the main culprit of burnt food in Korea was the distraction of the TV.
30 minutes had already passed. Cho Min Joon took out the cabbage from the steamer and put the tofu, mushrooms, and other vegetables inside. He tasted it after adding spices and liked the flavors.
The flavors weren’t overly stimulating. He just added salt, and no meat was added either. But it was delicious. The cabbage burst with moisture and the herbs made one’s mouth feel refreshed as if it was lime.
The cooking score was 6. But that was obvious. There wasn’t much that was special about it except for the care he put into it.
He thought about putting soy sauce and oil and grilling the cabbage rolls, but that would immediately make it taste heavy. So he just sliced them up and put them on a plate.
When he checked the seaweed soup, the seaweed and garlic were well boiled out. He liked the way the perilla leaves ticked his tongue. Cho Min Joon added some soy sauce and salt. He then closed the lid again. He just had to boil it until the time was up. The softer the seaweed, the better.
The rice was done as well. It was perfect. The rice type was Calrose. So it was a little less sticky than the ones in Korea, but that was okay. He could easily make Bibimbap with it.
Cho Min Joon sliced the herbs, lettuce, pumpkin, and carrot. In the Western world, it wasn’t common for grass material to be used as greens. Even Chwinamul and pepper greens were used as just herbs. For that reason, he believed that his Bibimbap would be perceived as very refreshing.