Chapter 587: Each Team (6)
“Thank you so much. Thank you,” Peter answered quietly.
It was only natural that Joseph also gave him such a good review. It was not because they liked Peter that the three judges highly evaluated his dish. In fact, his cuisine deserved nothing less than their praise. Like Min-joon did the other day, Peter became a cook that the judges had no choice but to embrace. He had now been recognized as a chef.
‘If that’s the case…’
If Peter received such a good review, how about Gwen, who was a member of his team?
Joseph slowly turned his head to Gwen. She was in a good mood. But could she also live up to their expectations?
Joseph’s images as seen on the TV show made many people think of him as a man overflowing with humanity. But he wasn’t exactly like that type of man. In fact, he tended to show favoritism to somebody he liked. He generally liked two types of people—someone who was overflowing with talent in his or her work, or somebody who devoted everything to his or her work.
Of course, he sometimes felt sorry for somebody who fell into the two types but could not fully develop his or her abilities because of the circumstances they were in. That was how he felt when he saw Min-joon and Kaya in the past.
And now he felt the same thing about Gwen.
Without saying anything anymore, Joseph put her dessert in his mouth. Then Kaya and Min-joon also put it in their mouths and chewed it. Min-joon immediately noticed the slight changes in her cooking.
It was quite an Asian idea for someone like her who lived in Western culture.
Looking at the soybean powder sprinkled on top of the banana puree sauce, Min-joon felt the sweetness of the cream in his mouth again.
Fried cream. When the lukewarm cream in crispy battered fries spread on his tongue, it was not the kind of taste he normally felt in it. Because it was mixed with avocado, the cream had a strong oily taste but it was not that sweet. Rather, the banana puree sauce made up for the lack of sweetness in an instant. Even the soybean powder was there to remove its fatty flavor. This was a combination of ingredients that he could not help but like. So the three judges felt that Gwen was also a good chef who knew how to cook.
“What do you all think?”
“I don’t have to answer your question. Very good. It’s perfect!” Joseph answered with a smile on his face. Of course, ‘perfect’ didn’t mean her dessert was the best in the world. There was obviously lots of room for improvement in her dessert as an amateur chef, which was inevitable in some respects, for professional chefs and amateurs had different ways of thinking and the amount of time they spent on cooking was not the same.
But Gwen’s dessert was the perfect addition to this three-course. It kept its original taste while leaving a pleasant aftertaste at the same time. Obviously, Gwen’s team members were considerate of each other instead of outperforming each other. With great teamwork, they tried to make the best course ever, and Gwen, who put everything into winning this competition, stood out among them.
“Well, she’s better than me,” Kaya said with a smile.
A little startled by her words, Gwen opened her eyes wide.
Kaya then opened her mouth, folding her arms.
“When I was on a team mission in the past, I fought a lot with team members because I just cooked for myself. After all, my team messed up, but you guys made great teamwork to make your dish. I think each of you was really anxious to win this competition, but you focused on cooking rather than being greedy for the championship. I think your teamwork is really cool.”
Even though Kaya praised her, she was not used to praising somebody else.
Gwen was not accustomed to such praise, either. In particular, it had been a long time since she received good feedback about her cooking from somebody else. As a matter of fact, since she came to the Grand Chef competition this time, everybody around her warmed up to her and cheered for her. Depending on each individual, their comments were sometimes warm, sometimes cold, but she didn’t feel hurt by their comments.
“You guys showed caring for each other the most among all the participants here today. And that’s why you have got the results befitting your great teamwork. Congratulations. Can you see us on the 2nd floor?”
Min-joon smiled at them brightly.
If there was a winner, there was also a loser. When somebody shined, someone else would be eclipsed in his or her shadow. This competition was no exception. It would have been nice if everyone had shined, but unfortunately, they were not yet as good in cooking skills as the judges thought.
“Unfortunately, today, you guys couldn’t show half of your cooking skills,” said Joseph.
Min-joon said, “If you disagree with each other in the kitchen, you can never really bring out good results. You couldn’t create harmony with each other, and as a result, even your own dish didn’t really bring out the flavor as expected.”
Kaya said lastly, “Well, I don’t have to give you a lecture like this. You guys were the worst today. Your dish didn’t taste good, and you guys didn’t look good. Go back to your seat and wait.”
The judges were commenting about the poor performance of one of the teams. Actually, it was the team that Min-joon pointed out before. And he didn’t feel strange about their poor performance at all because he didn’t remember any of them, and that none of their dishes impressed him.
At that moment, one of them, a male participant, threw away his apron on the kitchen island in anger.
Watching it, Kaya responded right away. She didn’t care about it, nor did she think hard about it. She didn’t put up with it, either.
She immediately frowned and raised her voice.
“Ethan. What the hell are you doing now?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Why did you throw away the apron?”
“I took it off because I’m done cooking.”
“You didn’t take it off, but you threw it. Do you think I’m blind? Do you think I’m an idiot?”
Then she walked up to him. At that moment, Min-joon agonized over whether he should walk up to her, but he just left her alone because he trusted her.
Kaya opened her mouth, pointing her chin to the apron.
“I’m done cooking!”
“Let me repeat. Wear it.”
Kaya’s voice grew cold. Ethan looked at her defiantly. His clenched fists trembled. But she didn’t even look at his fists while staring into his eyes silently.
Eventually, Ethan looked down and glanced at the apron quickly. It was quite dirty, stained with the ingredients and sauces on the kitchen island, so he should pick it up carefully if he had to, but he realized that disobeying her would only stress him out.
Kaya opened her mouth.
“Keep your pride by cooking well instead of behaving childishly like this. You’re not here to fight, are you?”
“You don’t have to feel sorry. Just make a good dish.”
She gave her a piece of her mind, then went back to her table. She seemed really pissed off, but Min-joon didn’t bother to speak to her.
Kaya looked at the participants then said, “I’m sorry I ruined the atmosphere. Next team, come up with your dish.”
“Michael, Bonnie, Andy, Nicholas, Benjamin.”
When she announced the names, they stepped forward with their own dish. They were the only team with five members, so other participants had no choice but to pay attention to the team.
Min-joon asked, “Is the childish fight over?”
“Hey, it wasn’t even a fight,” Michael said, grinning at him.
Giggling at him, Min-joon shook his head. Michael was obviously a guy that annoyed him, but he could not hate him for some reason. Of course, it would be absurd for the judges to hate the participants of this competition.
“Who made the appetizer?”
“Please explain to me.”
“I think it would be better if you ate it without hearing my explanation.”
Min-joon’s eyes narrowed at that. It seemed that Michael didn’t say so just because he wanted to emphasize its unknown taste.
‘It looks like he is interested in my perfect palate.’
Min-joon was aware that Michael had been very interested in his perfect palate for a long time. So Min-joon once thought of flattening him out. Of course, it would be hard to change his flippant manner even if Min-joon showed him his perfect palate, but Min-joon thought it was the right time to show him clearly that it was impossible for Michael to deceive him when it came to cooking.
Min-joon picked up the fork. He then put in his mouth a lobster salad marinated in a red sauce.
[You have tried the lobster salad with beetroot puree!]
In an instant, he saw the system window keep appearing before his eyes.
Min-joon opened his mouth slowly because he did not intend to simply show Michael his perfect taste.
“Well, you have cooked this lobster in sous vide style, mixed with beet juice, orange juice, and lemon verbena. But the cooking time was definitely short. It looks like sous vide, but it isn’t. You have to raise the heat to cook it within the limited time, but if you keep heating it, you often miss the strength of sous vide.”
“Can you feel it?”
Min-joon did not answer his stupid question.
“You used orange juice and beets for the beet puree as well. As for the vegetable confit on top, you added carrots, beets, turnips, green apples, orange juice, and cardamom, lemon verbena, and lemon peel. Oh, you also added star anise. You overlapped a lot of stuff in various ways. I think you did it for a unified taste, but it seems a little too sweet for an appetizer.”
Michael kept silent. He then looked at him as blankly as if he was astonished by Min-joon’s words.
Min-joon continued, “Well, it tastes good enough, though.”