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God of Cooking

God of Cooking

God of Cooking
Chapter 396 - What Has Changed? (2)

Chapter 396: What Has Changed? (2)
“I’m not saying this to flatter you, Min-joon,” she said with a smile.
“I know. I know what you mean.”
Min-joon felt sad suddenly. Obviously, he spent more time with her here recently, but he felt it was more difficult to understand her than before.
She muttered quietly, “Isn’t it funny? I’ve got a long way to go, but if I can’t achieve something now, I just feel like I can’t.”
“Well, that kind of feeling sometimes motivates you to walk further. That’s natural, so don’t take it badly.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do.”
“What are you planning to do after this competition?”
“I have to get a job. I’m thinking of going to Canada or Australia.”
“Canada or Australia? Why are you going so far? I understand if you go to Australia because you can get ingredients so easily, but why Canada?”
“Los Angeles is a very busy city. I want to feel what it is like to relax in a quiet place.”
“If you want to feel it, you can feel it in places like Venice or Marina del Rey.”
When he said that, she wore a meaningful smile on her face then looked at him.
When he flinched a bit, she turned around with an umbrella over her shoulder.
“It looks like you don’t want me to leave Los Angeles.”
“Of course, I hope you won’t leave because you are my friend.”
“Thank you for saying so. I was a bit concerned you might feel uncomfortable seeing me.”
“I don’t feel uncomfortable, but just awkward. It will go away someday.”
For some reason, the atmosphere got more awkward after they exchanged a conversation like that. After all, the two didn’t talk much until they finished shopping at the market and came back home.
Min-joon opened his mouth while placing a cutting board and knife on the island.
“But why do you keep making the dishes that Kaya and I made? You did that last time.”
“If I tell you I want to be like you, will you be happy?”
“No. I think I’ll get mad.”
“I thought as much. I’m not going to reply then.”
“Why? You already said what you wanted to say, right?”
When he sighed, she smiled, sticking out her tongue.
She quickly lifted foie gras and asked, “How thick is best for foie gras?”
“Less than half an inch.”
“Much thinner than I thought.”
“Because you don’t use foie gras as the main, but as the fat layer of other ingredients.
The thing is whether you want to taste the fat of foie gras itself or the lean meat of chicken enriched with the fatty taste.”
“I guess it didn’t take too long for you to think about the recipe, but you came up with such a complex stuff during that short time,” she said with admiration. She thought this kind of thinking
helped him and Kaya to make such a dish.
When she saw the pair’s foie gras dish and heard the explanation, she got the impression such as, ‘Ah, they did not use foie gras as the main ingredient, but used it to enhance the flavor of other ingredients.’ That was all. However, he didn’t stop thinking. He didn’t choose any specific ingredient as the main, but he clearly knew what kind of taste he should bring out as far as taste was concerned.
Since he looked at and analyzed so many dishes, it was natural that he came up with a fresh and original dish.
Cutting foie gras with a soft knife, she opened her mouth.
“Can I ask you how you came up with this recipe while talking with Kaya about it?”
“I don’t remember exactly…”
He paused for a moment. Then he began to explain. He talked with Kaya about whether to reinterpret French recipes or French ingredients. And they came to the conclusion that when it came to French ingredients, the most typical one was foie gras.
She opened her mouth when he was about to mention his agony over whether to reinterpret foie gras, conscious of the French gourmets’ standards about foie gras.
“I probably just gave up and found something else.”
“I would have given up, too, but Kaya stopped it.”
“Kaya?”
“Yeah, she asked me to try because it must be fun. I definitely got moved by her words like that. Her point was to be faithful to the purpose of cooking instead of arguing over the pros and cons of it. I even thought I would feel good even if we failed to advance in this round because we tried what we wanted to do. In other words, I think she and I paid more attention to cooking itself than the results. Anyway, I felt good about it.”
Having heard his explanation, she thought that the pair had a lot in common, but he didn’t resemble Kaya very much. But she thought because of that, the pair could have a more solid relationship.
‘Can I give other people a good stimulus like them?’
It stopped raining. However, the sound of the greasy oil from the heated frying pan made her feel like it was still raining.
***
“I heard Min-joon made a big fuss again last night. Is that true?”
“Yeah, you can’t imagine. When I woke up in the morning, the kitchen was so messy.”
When Adrian asked, Havier shook his hand, sticking his tongue out.
He continued, “Min-joon and Kaya are crazy these days. Whenever I found the kitchen was a mess, the two were responsible for it.”
“I wonder if that’s how we can succeed.”
“No. Don’t think so. Whatever you do, do it moderately.”
“Aren’t you stimulated? Min-joon and Kaya are very famous in the French foodservice industry. Of course, there are some who don’t like them because they’re in the media limelight, but they have clearly recognized the pair’s cooking abilities. I think I will be upset if my colleague gets such attention.”
“You know what? You can get upset once, but if you keep being upset, you will feel just insensitive at some point.”
“I would say you are giving up at that point.”
“I never gave up,” said Havier with a gentle smile.
He could get upset, but he didn’t care at all, So, Adrian felt he was rather weird. He was definitely a competitive and hard-working chef, but he now stayed detached without feeling any inferiority complex in this situation.
“Well, I just admit that I’m not as competent as my friends.”
“The moment you admit it, you have to work harder, right?”
“I won’t say you’re wrong. I watched Min-joon working hard every day, and I thought what I had done until now might not be good enough, compared with him.”
“Then, you should fix it, right?”
“I fixed it. But I realized that I should try as hard as Min-joon. But I have to try harder than him. Why? Because I have to beat him. When I cook with such a mindset, I feel like I can’t cook as well as I think, and the fun of cooking goes away.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“I want to be a good cook. I want to be a chef with the best skills in the world. But I want to be a good cook, first of all. I want to be a cook who enjoys my cooking. If I don’t improve my skills, I will have to try harder than now, but I don’t want to be too greedy to improve quickly. It’s not in my element to do so.”
After talking with Havier like that for a while, Adrian nodded as he understood. Certainly, cooking wasn’t basically for competition. Enjoying cooking and interacting with customers was the main reason why most chefs worked in the kitchen.
“When I think about it, you don’t have to be so impatient. You have advanced to the quarterfinals anyway.”
“Yeah, you’re right. So, do you want to respect me now?”
“Well, just a little bit.”
“Man, you’re so mean.” Havier chuckled.
That was his answer, namely, ‘Don’t be impatient. Move forward step by step steadily.’
That was why Havier was watching Chloe most closely. What kind of answer would she find later? Would she continue to take the path that entailed her overworking? Or could she put down her greed and live a more happy and relaxing life?
‘Maybe she has to live a hard and challenging life to make a truly unique dish nobody can imitate.’
That was the case with Rachel. He knew how obsessed she was when she came up with a recipe or when she cooked. However, what Havier wanted was not to make his name known to the world, but to leave a good impression on the customers with his delicious dish. Of course, part of the reason he thought so was because his colleagues, Min-joon, Anderson, Janet, etc., were so ahead of him that he could never catch up with them.
‘Well, this is as far as I can get.’
But he didn’t think he lost. Not all of the chefs here, often called world-class chefs, didn’t necessarily lead a hard life. Rather, there were more chefs than expected who were duly recognized even after they cooked happily and comfortably.
He thought it was too narrow-sighted to evaluate everything based on one’s skills and popularity. He still had a long way to go, and there would be more competition and contests in the future, not just today.
“To your surprise, me and Janet may win.”
“It’s not a matter of surprise. We have to win unconditionally.”
At that moment, somebody cut in suddenly.
Janet looked at them with a calm, shining look.
“I don’t even think about losing. I can’t tolerate it.”
“What a coincidence! That’s what my pair is also thinking now.”
It was Dobby who responded to Janet.
He said with a smile, “I have one reason to win this time.”
“Just because you have a reason, you can’t win, of course. You have to be competent enough to beat them.”
“Oops! I wish I had told you I am competent, too. By the way, don’t you think I’ve already shown my skills enough?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t pay attention to your dishes very carefully. I didn’t like your plating, though.”
“But I’ve survived until now because of that plating alone. Don’t you think my dishes taste delicious?”
She looked at him coldly, but he just chuckled.
At that moment, Anderson, Min-joon, Kaya, and Chloe were entering the kitchen.
Kaya asked with a confused expression, “Why is the atmosphere so cold here?”
“It’s a romantic fight.”
“Havier, shut up!”
Havier cracked a joke to change the atmosphere, but when she reacted coldly, he got sullen. Kaya opened her mouth, frowning, “I don’t know what’s going on, but get out if you want to harm the atmosphere here. We’re going to cook now.”
“Kaya, don’t be so mean.”
Chloe tried to calm her down with a restless expression.
Then Anderson, who was looking sullen, said, “If you want to fight, do it by cooking. How about my idea that the guy who makes the most delicious dish is the winner?”
“Are you crazy? You mention the cooking contest too often.”
“Why? What’s wrong with a cooking contest as a chef?”
“Okay. Sounds good. Let me make a suggestion.”
Dobby opened his mouth. Anderson glanced at him.
He said in a calm voice, “Why don’t we have a proper competition to try to check each other’s level correctly?”
“You mean all of us?”
“Well, it’s more like promoting our friendship rather than competition.”
“Promoting friendship?”
Chloe looked back at the other chefs with an absurd expression.
Except for Havier and Min-joon, others were already burning with a competitive spirit.
Chloe muttered in an empty voice, “I hope you guys won’t promote enmity against each other.”