Chapter 16: Chapter 16: 100 Chefs (1)
The numbers of contestants that could enter the Grand Chef was limited to 100 people. Then again, it wasn’t possible to know if that number was true. After all, the broadcast didn’t shed light on every single contestant.
And at this moment, Cho Min Joon realized the truth.
’98, 99, 100… Exactly 100 people.’
He didn’t know how they hit 100 people on the dot, but he felt like his curiosity was finally appeased. 100 people would enter the finals, not one more, not one less. Exactly 100 people. That meant that the top 100 chefs in America were here at the moment.
Cho Min Joon took out a ziplock bag from his jacket. Inside the ziplock bag were long jellies of various colors. Jessie made them. After that night, she made jellies whenever she got bored.
“It doesn’t taste good.”
That’s how he really felt. It wasn’t sweet or soft. It was the kind of jelly that made his jaw hurt from chewing. But he felt that chewing it made him feel at ease. Almost as if he was holding his parents’ hands.
In the middle of multiple installed cameras, the contestants were talking to the people around them. The filming site was the Grand Chef building in Chicago. The 5-story building only admitted contestants of Grand Chef, and there were even accommodations inside. But of course, it wasn’t big enough to accommodate all 100 people. There were around 30 people. And.
‘They’ll probably say that 70 contestants will be disqualified today.’
Cho Min Joon let out a short sigh and turned his head. His face contained mixed emotions. Beside him was a familiar person. It was Kaya, Kaya Reuters.
They weren’t trying to sit next to each other. It was simply because they were both from New York. The seats were differentiated based on region, but the contestants were transported truck by truck. And it was no different for those from New York. So the four contestants from New York ended up sticking together.
“Ahem, why don’t we introduce each other? It was so awkward on the plane a while ago. I’m Amanda Olsen.”
The person who spoke up first was a bigger white woman. The woman, who had red hair and freckles, had so much meat on her bones that it was hard to predict her age. However, he was certain that she was around 30 years old. The person who responded to Amanda was a black man Cho Min Joon’s age. He was over 180 centimeters tall, and he had a healthy physique that left quite a good impression. He awkwardly smiled and said, “Oh… I’m Marco Denver.”
“Cho Min Joon,” Cho Min Joon answered shortly. Since they could split up at any moment, he didn’t want to talk for long. He felt like he would feel uncomfortable if they got close and some of them got disqualified. To be more exact, he thought that way about Amanda. Before Cho Min Joon went back in time, he watched Grand Chef Season 3, hence he knew who passed and who got disqualified. Kaya passed for sure since she won the whole thing. And…
‘Marco. He was also in the top 10.’
He didn’t remember when he was disqualified, but he persisted for quite a while. However, that didn’t apply to Amanda. Cho Min Joon hadn’t seen her on the show for a single second. Even if he had, she really didn’t leave a strong enough impression.
It would just be burdensome to chat with someone who would be disqualified soon, but that didn’t mean he would keep a distance from her. So, Cho Min Joon decided to keep a distance from everyone. He didn’t even feel comfortable enough to be friendly. Cho Min Joon knew what the next mission was. He practiced over and over… but he wasn’t sure if it was going to go well.
“What’s your name?”
Amanda asked Kaya. Kaya looked back at Amanda. Her trademark smoky eye makeup made her look scary, but Amanda smiled and looked at Kaya. She couldn’t act so cold to her smile in the end. She sighed and answered, “Kaya Reuters. I’m sensitive right now, so I just want my peace and quiet.”
She spoke in a husky voice. Amanda paused for a moment and then scanned Kaya’s body. Her thin bodyline especially stood out next to Amanda. Amanda put on a fake smile. And Cho Min Joon, who saw that, wondered if it was pointless to try to keep his distance. He had never liked someone with that kind of smile before.
“Are you tired? Cooking is all about stamina. It’ll be hard if you’re that skinny.”
Kaya looked at Amanda with a shocked face. She then stuck out her fist. When Amanda stared at her fist, she slowly stuck up her middle finger. She stared at Amanda’s face and spoke with a cynical voice.
“Your fat is enough to be a joke.”
Cho Min Joon laughed inside his head. That personality was the reason why Kaya was called a genius. It was her sensitive and feisty personality. Kaya Reuters was the one who satisfied the viewers’ craving for chefs with a tough image.
That’s why she was particularly popular. Her attacks were fun to watch and refreshing. It wasn’t pleasant for those who were attacked, but Kaya didn’t confront just about anybody. She only did so when she was in situations like these.
And Amanda wasn’t so patient that she could accept her attitude in a positive manner. Her cheeks flushed as she said, “How could you say that…?”
Unfortunately, Amanda was unable to finish. Before she could say something, the stage lit up and the judges walked out. Joseph, Allen, and Emily. Everyone grew silent. Joseph spoke first.
“Congratulations. You’re our 100 final contestants. You should be proud to be here right now.”
No one spoke afterward. Joseph looked around at the contestants with a smile. Then, Allen beside him spoke with a cold voice, “One of you will become the Grand Chef, but no one knows if that’ll be you or the person beside you.”
No, Cho Min Joon knew. He knew who would become the star of this competition. Cho Min Joon looked over at Kaya. She was watching the judges with an unreadable face. At that moment, Kaya turned her head, her blue eyes meeting with Cho Min Joon. Kaya opened her lips as she was about to speak, but Emily’s voice over the speaker masked it.
“The winner will get the honor of being the Grand Chef and take home a prize of 300,000 dollars!”
Cho Min Joon opened his lips. He wasn’t interested in what the judges had to say, but Kaya’s voice was buried under the contestants’ cheering. Cho Min Joon sighed and looked back at the stage. Once the cheering died down, Joseph spoke. He had a serious voice.
“Let me introduce your first mission of Grand Chef.”
Along with his introduction, the white screen began to open on stage. Behind it was a container truck driving in.
‘Sure, we’re on the 1st floor, but won’t the floors break?’ That thought alone gave an idea of how big the truck was.
The contestants watched the truck in nervousness, but Cho Min Joon wasn’t nervous since he knew that that was coming in. Joseph then spoke with a low voice, “The menu of your first mission is…”
Before he finished, the container box began to open. And once the contestants saw what it contained, they laughed. Joseph continued.
The catfish within the fish tank wriggled around. Cho Min Joon thought about his recipe inside his head. After a few moments, a window popped up in front of his eyes.
[Your predicted cooking score is 7 points.]