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God of Cooking

God of Cooking

God of Cooking
Chapter 37

Chapter 37: Chapter 37: Ultimate Palate (1)
Up for disqualification.
He knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but he didn’t know it would be so soon. Cho Min Joon grabbed his tray and headed back to his cooking station. Marco looked at him with worried eyes. He mouthed something, but he couldn’t understand, so Cho Min Joon just smiled at him and looked down at the counter.
It was just like a homecooked meal. Cho Min Joon realized something as soon as he heard that. That he failed to notice something.
Cho Min Joon’s Korean cooking didn’t contain a weapon that captured a person’s tastebuds. He had to add a special dish or broaden the number of side dishes to optimize the overall abundance. But there were only 4 bowls on his tray. Potato pancakes, seaweed soup, Bibimbap, and cabbage rolls. It wasn’t plentiful, and there was no dish with a charming flavor either.
He couldn’t think of anything to refute that it was a homecooked meal. This was suitable for a neighborhood restaurant, not a fancy Korean restaurant. He wanted to win over the palate of foreign people, but it wasn’t a good idea.
But why was it that he wasn’t completely sad? Maybe it hadn’t hit him yet that he was up for disqualification. No, that wasn’t it. It was different. He was mad. He was sad that that was the best he could do. But what Joseph said stuck in his mind. He said it was the best dish he had cooked thus far.
It was the first dish that he made as a chef, not a contestant. And Joseph didn’t mention a cooking score. That meant that one of his predictions was correct. Cooking scores were important, but it didn’t determine everything.
Just knowing that made his heart feel warm. Cho Min Joon smiled. It was so slight that it was hard to notice, but the cameraman zoomed in on Cho Min Joon’s lips.
He felt strange. He was sad that he was up for disqualification, but he was happy that his dish was acknowledged. He was a little more happy than sad, but he couldn’t help but feel frustrated.
The evaluations continued. Cho Min Joon focused on 3 evaluations in particular. That of Anderson, Kaya, and Marco, and all three of them passed.
Anderson’s dish was Cho Min Joon’s favorite out of the three. He rolled mozzarella cheese over eggplant and grilled it. When the judges stretched out the cheese as they ate it, Cho Min Joon gulped.
The evaluations were completed. Among the 21 contestants, 13 of them went up to the 2nd floor, and the 8 contestants still at the cooking stations were up for disqualification. There wasn’t a single person down there that Cho Min Joon was close with.
Cho Min Joon looked up at the 2nd floor, and he met eyes with Kaya. She looked temperamental as usual. Kaya opened her mouth. It looked like she wanted to say something, but she closed it again. Cho Min Joon showed a slight smile. It wasn’t like he could hear her anyway, and Kaya wasn’t the type to shout across the room.
Marco, who stood next to Kaya, showed his fist to him as if he was cheering him on. In response to the fist, Cho Min Joon flashed him the okay sign. At that moment, a loud voice came from the producer’s side.
“Before the disqualification round, we’ll hold another round of interviews. Please come in the order of your last evaluations.”
Cho Min Joon was 2nd. After a short wait, Cho Min Joon entered the interview room. Martin was smiling brightly as usual. When Cho Min Joon sat, Martin asked, “How do you feel?”
“Sad.”
Cho Min Joon gave a short answer. Martin thought that it was because he was uncomfortable, but Cho Min Joon’s face changed his mind. He seemed all too calm for someone who was frustrated. How could that be? Martin saw Cho Min Joon to be quite the greedy contestant. Of course, they were all greedy, but he wasn’t so indifferent that he didn’t care whether he won or lost.
But Cho Min Joon’s face wasn’t that of someone who had just lost. How was he supposed to interpret that? In other words, he didn’t show any malice. But that wasn’t the Cho Min Joon he knew. The cameraman only filmed during the actual shooting of the show, but the cameras in the kitchen were always on. And those cameras captured Cho Min Joon as the contestant who practiced the most.
So he couldn’t consider him as someone without malice. Martin asked in a calm voice, “You seem very peaceful for someone who’s sad.”
“Really?”
“Yes. Are you taking a philosophical view on it?”
“I’m not sure. I can’t say that… But I feel calm. I just remember Joseph saying that he enjoyed my dishes.”
Cho Min Joon flashed a smile. It was a pure smile. Martin thought this could be good to air as he asked, “Will you be able to smile like this if you’re disqualified in the next mission?”
In response, Cho Min Joon didn’t answer for a while. When Martin began to feel frustrated, Cho Min Joon spoke in a low voice, “What did I say when I first came here? I said I wanted to check if I was someone who is qualified to cook.”
“Yes, you said Kaya would win and that there would be no exception, and if there was, it would be you. That’s what you said.”
In response to Martin’s joking way of speaking, Cho Min Joon smiled before he responded. He spoke in a low and rigid voice, “Forget what I said that time.”
“Pardon?”
“I realized it today. I don’t like to lose or get disqualified. Those contestants cook and so do I. Their cooking is delicious and so is mine. I’m not going to say that I have no control. I’m going to take this to the end. I won’t stop before it’s over.”
His determination was conveyed in every single word. It sounded like he was swallowing every single word. If this was a movie, Martin would have been in awe. But this was an audition program. It was an interview. So Martin had no choice but to put a brake on it.
“But what if you end up in front of a really tall barrier. What if you fall?”
Cho Min Joon answered without hesitation.
“I’m going to cry. I’m going to scream, but… in the end…”
Cho Min Joon paused. Martin gulped, and the cameraman on the side also watched Cho Min Joon’s lips in nervousness.
“I should get going. That’s what I have to do.”
Once the interviews were over, the contestants stood in front of the cooking stations. The judges watched them with lukewarm looks in their eyes. Allan stepped forward. He intertwined his fingers and spoke in a serious tone.
“You are standing right in front of the doors. Three of you or more will be disqualified.”
It was silent for a moment. No one could say a word. Not even the contestants on the 2nd floor.
Since they spent a lot of time together, they couldn’t help but be close to each other. They knew it was a competition, but they spent every day together, and on top of that, they shared the interest of cooking, so it was obvious that they grew close.
So it was difficult for even the judges to speak in that tension. Allan was silent for a moment, and when he opened his mouth again, his eyes looked saddened.
“Let me announce the disqualification mission.”
He didn’t speak loudly, but he heard him clearer than ever before. Cho Min Joon quietly watched Allan. He took out a large wooden box from the table. As soon as he opened it, the contestants exclaimed. He knew what the mission was just from looking at it.
Allan spoke, “It’s a tasting mission. The tofu pouches in front of you all contain different contents. And there is a total of 20 ingredients in each tofu pouch. You must name all 20 ingredients inside. The three contestants who got the least number of ingredients right will be disqualified, and if any of you get none of the ingredients right, they’ll be disqualified as well.
He spoke in a dry voice. Cho Min Joon quietly looked at the wooden box. Inside were 10 tofu pouches, and each one had a number attached to it.
At the same time, Cho Min Joon was certain that he would win this one. He couldn’t help but think that way. He had the system. He was more confident in determining ingredients than anything else. Unless Kaya had the perfect palate, no one could identify them better than Cho Min Joon.
The points on the tofu pouches were all different. Most were 5, but some were 4. It seemed as though they just put ingredients in the tofu pouches without worrying about taste. Allan raised his voice.
“Please pick your tofu pouches. We’ll proceed according to the numbers.”
In response, the contestants picked their tofu pouches. The first one to be taken was number 1, and it was understandable. For missions like this, the earlier they go the better. As long as they saw three people with lower scores, they could rest assured, so it was better to know their own score earlier, but of course, if they only got a few of the ingredients right, that would all be useless.
Since Cho Min Joon didn’t rush, he had to pick between numbers 8, 9, and 10. Cho Min Joon calmly picked number 10. Allan glanced at him and asked, “Isn’t it better to pick a lower number to go earlier?”
“That doesn’t matter.”
He didn’t know how he interpreted it, but Allan stared at Cho Min Joon for a while, but he didn’t say anymore. Once Cho Min Joon returned to his spot, Allan looked at the contestant who picked number 1.
“Selena, please come here and begin tasting.”
Selena. The self-proclaimed home cook walked up with a smile on her face. She put the tofu pouch into her mouth and named the ingredients with a cheerful voice, but when her first, second, and third guesses were wrong, her voice began to sound timid.
In the end, she only got 5 ingredients right. 5 out of 20. The contestant after that didn’t do so well either. The worst was the 6th contestant. A white man over 60 years old. He only got 3 of the ingredients right, and that was understandable. The older a person got, the weaker their tastebuds become. There were limits no matter how hard he tried.
The 7th contestant, Danny got the first 11 ingredients right, causing the contestants on the 2nd floor to exclaim in awe. But after that, he got the rest wrong. But he still had the best score.
And Cho Min Joon was next.
“Please come up, Min Joon.”
Cho Min Joon walked up with a calm face. He then put the tofu pouch in his mouth without any hesitation. It happened so fast that Allan was surprised. Cho Min Joon just swallowed it without chewing it for that long. He then closed his arms. A window popped up in front of the blackness.
[Tofu Pouch]
Freshness: 84%
Origin: (Too many ingredients for an accurate calculation)
Quality: High (Average)
Cooking Score: 4/10
It tasted edible enough, but that wasn’t what was important. Cho Min Joon got rid of the origin’s “hide feature”. At that moment, all of the ingredients popped up. Cho Min Joon spoke with a calm voice.
“Beets.”
“That’s correct.”
“Cilantro.”
“That’s correct.”
“Bamboo shoots.”
“That’s correct.”
He continued to name the ingredients. Duck egg, pistachio, mushroom, and zucchini. Among them were pork leg, octopus body, and herring stomach, which were not even expected. After hearing all of Cho Min Joon’s answers, Allan said, “That’s correct.” Once Cho Min Joon guessed 17 ingredients right, the 2nd floor grew silent. They got shivers up their spine.
And Allan was no exception. He looked calm, but his eyes were shaking. When he tasted a tofu pouch, he could only get around 12 right, but the young Asian man in front of him got everything right.
‘What kind of palate does he have…?’
No, it wasn’t just about his palate. In order to know which ingredients tasted like, he had to have tasted lots of food. The fact that he even knew which parts of the animal the meats were from made him wonder if he was human. He was so bothered to say them one by one that he named three in a row.
“Peppers, noodles, and tofu.”
Cho Min Joon finally opened his eyes. Cho Min Joon continued with a calm voice, “That’s all.”
And Allan responded, “… This is crazy.”