God of Cooking

God of Cooking

God of Cooking
Chapter 40

Chapter 40: Chapter 40: Head Chef’s Role (1)
Once the word got out about his palate, Cho Min Joon’s daily life changed. The contestants began asking Cho Min Joon to taste their cooking all the time.
At first, he liked that he could try different foods, but it got tiring after a while. The contestants didn’t just want him to taste it. They also wanted him to put a score on it, just like right now.
“What’s the score…?”
Chloe looked at Cho Min Joon with cautious eyes. Peanuts, pork, and green onions were stirfried with noodles along with a red sauce. Tan Tan Noodles. It was a popular noodle dish in China, and it was easy to make, but the score was usually low. 6 points. Cho Min Joon thought about what answer to give her as he tasted it.
Since the peppers and the oil wrapped around the noodles, his mouth grew numb as soon as he tasted it, but he liked it. There was a savory depth to the spicy flavor, and the thickness of the noodles helped alleviate the spiciness.
He liked the taste of the pork as well, but it was just 6 points. Cho Min Joon spoke in a caring voice, “It’s delicious. I’m not Chinese, so I don’t know if I can say this, but I think you expressed all of the flavors of Tan Tan Noodles.”
“But it’s only worth 6 points.”
In response, Chloe showed a sad face. She tried not to show it, but she couldn’t be happy about the score either. Cho Min Joon patted Chloe on the shoulder as he said, “I told you. It’s not just the high-level dishes that are good. The scores are just there to determine how much technique went into it. It’s important during the missions, but not in real life.”
“Hm… then if I did this in a mission, I wouldn’t pass, right?”
“… Probably not.”
From what Cho Min Joon had observed, some 6-point dishes were passed by the judges. They probably contained something exceptional, but not all 6-point dishes failed, but this Tan Tan Noodles was different. Just like the level suggested, it didn’t show off anything special.
He couldn’t comfort her with a lie. Cho Min Joon remembered that Chloe didn’t last long on the show, and he wondered if it was because she focused more on the flavor than the cooking process. That was probably because she loved food in its purest form, but she had to be more greedy during the missions. Even Cho Min Joon almost got disqualified for making a Korean meal. Cho Min Joon spoke in a serious voice, “Chloe, I understand your cooking philosophy. Rather than the technique, you focus more on the flavors, right? I understand that but not for these missions. You saw my result for the vegetable mission last time, but then again, aside from the technique, the end result wasn’t so good either…”
“You made Bibimbap and seaweed soup in a mission. That was horrible.”
Kaya spoke with a smirk. Cho Min Joon glared at Kaya, but Kaya stuck out her lip as if she was teasing him. Marco spoke next, “Still… I thought that was a refreshing attempt.”
“What? Those dishes?”
“No, the fact that he tried a homecooked meal. The result wasn’t good… But chefs want to make warm meals like that once in a while.”
“Food all taste warm if you fry it in a fry pan.”
Kaya answered with a grumble. Cho Min Joon sighed.
“Anyway, this is what I’m trying to say. It’s good to make good food for the missions, but your experience and skills have to show in your dishes as well. The judges are there to evaluate. I don’t want to see you get disqualified for not being greedy enough.”
He didn’t think he said anything special, but the table grew silent. Cho Min Joon showed a puzzled look as he looked around. Chloe looked touched while Kaya looked reluctant. Marco looked the most normal out of them all, but he wasn’t the type to show much expression in the first place. Cho Min Joon spoke in a puzzled way, “Why are you reacting like that?”
“That was really romantic for something you said to a competitor. This isn’t a dating show. It’s a cooking show.”
Kaya knitted her brows as if she didn’t like it. Cho Min Joon answered with an agitated face, “Don’t make weird assumptions. It’s not like that.”
“Forget it. I’m getting goosebumps. Who’s in charge of dishes today?”
“Me. Don’t run away and just sit.”
In response, Kaya clicked her tongue and sat back down on the sofa. Cho Min Joon said, “When I was talking to Mr. A last time…”
“Who’s Mr. A?”
“You know. Anderson. When I was talking to Anderson…”
“You talked to him. You’re not close.”
“We can still talk even if we’re not close. I was hungry that night and couldn’t sleep, so I went to the kitchen.”
Cho Min Joon stopped talking. Her grimace was getting on his nerves. Kaya smirked and leaned back as if she got the hint. After much struggle for cooperation, Cho Min Joon continued, “Anyway, I got to talk to him that night, and we came to the conclusion that good food and well-made food are two different things, and what we have to show the judges are well-made food.”
“Then why did you make those Korean dishes?”
In response, Cho Min Joon didn’t have anything to say. When Cho Min Joon closed his mouth, Chloe patted Cho Min Joon on the back and said, “Kaya. Stop harassing Min Joon.”
“… That’s not what I’m doing.”
Kaya stuck out her lip and grumbled. Marco, who was eating the crepe that he made, finally spoke, “Min Joon. It’s my turn.”
Marco put a crepe on a plate and gave it to Min Joon. He then spoke with anticipating eyes, “Tell me how many points it is!”
The days at the Grand Chef House passed fairly quickly. Spending time with other people who enjoyed cooking made it feel like a fun camping trip.
In no time, the 3rd episode had aired. It covered everything related to the preliminaries. After that, it was going to be the finals. The contestants waited for it to air, but that made their time feel very relaxing.
But Cho Min Joon couldn’t spend his time like that, and the reason for that was this phone call.
“Yes, I’ll go soon. Money? I have enough. Yes, don’t worry. I’ll call you later.”
On the day of the mission reveal, he was standing in the set while waiting for the judges when he suddenly got a call from Lee Hye Sun. She was worried about her son who was living abroad. Once he hung up, Cho Min Joon let out a sigh. It was about what he told her about Grand Chef, but it wasn’t so easy. Marco flashed him a look of fascination.
“You’re fluent in Korean.”
“… I’m Korean.”
“Oh yeah. I forgot because your English is so good.”
Cho Min Joon answered with a smirk. Chloe asked in worry from the side, “You haven’t told your parents yet?”
“I will soon, but I feel like it’ll just stress them out. I want to tell them once I have good news… I don’t know.”
“Sounds good. How about this? Tell them when you pass this round.”
“What if I don’t?”
“Then I’ll tell them for you! I’ll tell them that Min Joon loves cooking and that he’s the sexiest when cooking. I’ll tell them this is Min Joon’s path and that he’ll become a great chef if they let him. How’s that?”
“… All I heard was the sexy part.”
“Sigh. Forget it.”
Chloe said, “Hmph,” and lifted her head. While Cho Min Joon laughed, the doors opened to let the judges in. The contestants including Cho Min Joon clapped. They weren’t clapping because they wanted to, but because they were instructed to by the producers.
The judges passed through the contestants and looked at them with poker faces. Joseph was holding a large box. It looked like a lottery box. Did they need to draw random numbers for their next mission? Everyone tilted their heads. Emily spoke up first, “Long time no see. I’d like to give you a word of praise before we announce the mission. Go do work, everyone. You’re the final 18 amongst countless contestants.”
In response, everybody cheered. Half of it was because they were instructed to do so, but Cho Min Joon felt his heart heat up in the process. The top 18. He felt good.
Allan took a step forward. He then said, “The fact that you made it this far means you’re great chefs already, but cooking isn’t just about using knives and putting on the fan. A chef’s life is to breathe. There are limits to every chef, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that in the last team mission.
At that moment, all the contestants had a hunch. They couldn’t even call it that. Allan was giving them a huge hint. That their next mission would be a team mission, and they were right.
“This is a team mission. You will split up into two teams to make teams of 9, and just like all restaurants, you’ll need a head chef.”
Everybody gulped. They all looked like they didn’t want to be picked. There were more disadvantages to being the head chef than advantages because it came with responsibilities. It was burdensome for any amateur cook.
Joseph smiled and came out with the box.
“There are 18 balls inside this box. Two of them are red and blue, and the rest of them are white. Those who pick the colored balls will become the head chef.”
‘All I have to do is pick a white one.’
Cho Min Joon thought this way as he nodded. Allan raised his voice.
“Please come out and pick your balls. It’s better to pick earlier than later.”
In response, the red-haired man ran forward. It was Jacob. He put his hand in the box with an anxious look on his face. He then took one out. Allan smiled.
“We already have our first head chef.”
Jacob looked at his hand with a blank face. He was holding a red ball. The other contestants beamed as a result. There was a much lower chance that they would become a head chef now. Cho Min Joon asked Kaya, “What do you think?”
“About what?”
“Do you want to be the head chef?”
“… You know my personality.”
“Your feistiness?”
Cho Min Joon asked with a joking face. Kaya knitted her brows and closed her mouth. Seeing how she didn’t answer, she already knew she didn’t have an easy personality. Kaya asked Cho Min Joon, “What about you?”
“I’m not sure. Half-half? To be honest, when else would we get a chance to be a head chef?”
“That’s true… But I still don’t’ want to do it. I’ll get cussed out for sure.”
He felt bad that she was so anxious about being cussed out. She must have been affected by the negative comment she received recently.
The line got shorter. There was now only 5 people remaining who didn’t have a ball, but the blue ball wasn’t picked yet. Kaya looked at Cho Min Joon with uneasiness.
“You go first.”
“I could go and pick a white ball though.”
“Still… I don’t’ know. I’ll go.”
Kaya stepped up first. A moment later, Kaya grabbed the blue ball. Kaya looked at Cho Min Joon in resentment.
“I told you to go first.”