Chapter 20: Chapter 20: Understanding Broadcasts (1)
The judges were looking at the table while sitting on a sofa in the waiting room. What was on the table were simple. Photos. They were none other than the photos of the contestants. They looked at a total of 27 photos as Emily asked the other judges, “Does any contestant catch your interest?”
“This one. He has the basics down.” Allen picked Anderson’s photo. Emily tilted her head and responded, “Anderson? He lacks originality. He can create good flavors, but he does nothing more than 3-minute cooking.”
“We don’t know if he’s just hiding it. In terms of skill, he was impressive. He looked quite elegant when he made that catfish steak.”
“What’s so important about looking elegant if the food he made tasted like shit? Average people might enjoy his cooking, but I was very sick of it. I’ve tasted it like a thousand times.”
The dish Anderson made was catfish steak with onion puree on top. Emily recalled the flavour and frowned. She had tasted it many times before. Anderson was a predictable cook, with Emily already being tired of cooks like that.
Allen could not help but look at Emily and calmly respond, “…if he has the skill, originality will follow. I look forward to see what he will make next. He was the most hopeful out of so many quacks. Emily, what do you think?”
In response, Emily smiled and pointed. Her long index finger pointed at one particular photo, Kaya Reuter’s photo.
“I’ll bet my money on her.”
“…Kaya Reuters? She definitely had the originality…”
Allen knitted his brows. Kaya Reuters was definitely a charming candidate. Her signature menu of fried eel was a masterpiece. Kaya was probably the only cook at her age who could make such a dish. However…
“There’s no flexibility in her cooking. No identity either. If her cooking was a dog, it’s definitely a mutt.”
“Didn’t you hear the interview? She comes from a market. Her freedom is what makes her identity. Well, that’s what I think.”
Emily’s voice was firm. She really liked Kaya. Allen didn’t refute Emily’s choice. Their evaluations were all up to their own opinions.
Instead, Allen looked at Joseph. He didn’t say anything, but Joseph knew what Allen wanted to say. Joseph opened his mouth.
“I don’t know yet.”
“You must have a favourite by now.”
“I’m not sure… I like the two you chose. Besides them, I’d have to choose Chloe. And…”
Joseph trailed off, but he was looking at one particular photo. Allen traced Joseph’s gaze, and he was surprised by the photo at the end of it.
“Min Joon? You’re keeping him in mind?”
“Not to that extent, but he seems to be the kind of person who can keep improving his cooking skills. If he can improve, we should look forward to it.”
“…I’m surprised. He has most of the basics, but there are many contestants who are better. Compared to Kaya and Anderson, there’s no question.”
“I’m not saying that he’ll win. Also, compared to Anderson and Kaya, he’s lacking. I’m just looking forward to where he’ll go. I want to see that young man grow, that’s all.”
Joseph quietly looked at Cho Min Joon’s photo. The reason why he anticipated Cho Min Joon’s next dish was simple. Dishes that transcended ability. Twice at that. He was lacking in knife and fire skills, but his recipes were on point. That was why Joseph evaluated Cho Min Joon highly.
“He’ll probably make better dishes than most. That’s what I believe.”
“Be honest. You like her, don’t you?”
Martin’s interview was random. Cho Min Joon had no idea what Martin was asking. Cho Min Joon knitted his brows and asked back, “Like who?”
“Kaya Reuters,” Martin said with a smile. Cho Min Joon sighed but before he could respond, Martin kept going.
“Don’t tell me you like her as a chef. You crossed the line by swapping dishes afterward. My heart fluttered by just watching.”
“…As I’ve told you last time, it’s not like that. I’m simply a fan…”
“Min Joon. Let’s be honest. Kaya just started and only cooked 2 dishes. So how are you already a fan?”
Cho Min Joon was unable to answer. He didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t tell him that he became a fan when he watched her in the future.
Cho Min Joon thought for a while. ‘What should I say that’s the most wise? Or the most convenient?’ The answer was simple. He just had to say what he wanted to hear.
“Fine. Edit it however you want.”
“You can make it sound like I like her if you want. It’s not like I like anyone else or have a wife. You can use me as a sacrifice to make the show more fun.”
Martin frowned at Cho Min Joon’s response. He asked about Cho Min Joon’s feelings for Kaya for broadcasting purposes, but he also wanted to know the truth. Is it really not true?
‘…Is he just acting like this because he’s embarrassed?’
Martin couldn’t help but think this way. Martin then asked in a surprised voice, “…You really don’t like her?”
“I said, no. I’m just interested in her cooking.”
“But you know, she’s so beautiful. She might be a little sassy, but she’s charming. You don’t see her as a woman?”
“…If I do, does that mean I have to like her?”
“No, I guess not. But…”
Martin looked at Cho Min Joon with a troubled look. It was hard to understand. Were the words that Cho Min Joon said true? He was a fan after a measly two dishes? Were Kaya’s eel and sweet and sour pork that impressive?
No matter how hard he thought, he couldn’t read his mind. Martin sighed and changed the topic.
“So, how did her sweet and sour pork taste? Was it better than your catfish meatballs?”
“I’d say that the final products were of similar levels.”
“What would you score it out of 10 points?”
Cho Min Joon’s voice was firm, he didn’t even think about it. Martin was reminded of something the cameraman told him. When he cooked the snapper, he also evaluated it as 7 points. What was his standard?
“How good is 7 points?”
“That’s the best I can make for any dish. But for Kaya, that’s probably just average.”
“I don’t know how you came to that calculation. Do you follow a standard?”
“An original recipe, skilled cooking, and fresh materials all make for a good dish. It’s hard to describe it in words, but one thing’s for sure.”
Cho Min Joon’s eyes sparkled. He spoke in the most confident voice.
“My evaluation scores are accurate.”
“…Are you sure? People would probably rate the same dish differently. There’s no such thing as an ultimate score…”
“I’m sure it differs from person to person. But once you put personal preference aside, my scores are objectively accurate.”
“Then I’m curious to see how you’ll rate the other contestants’ dishes. Okay, next question. You came to America all the way from Korea. Are you confident that you can win?”
Cho Min Joon closed his mouth in response to the question. He stared at the ground in front of him before speaking in a low voice.
“I’ve never been sure about anything in life, especially about cooking. The reason why I came and joined Grand Chef was to gain that certainty.”
Cho Min Joon then answered in a desperate voice.
“If I’m qualified to be a chef. I want to confirm that for myself. I want that more than anything.”