Chapter 27: Chapter 27: Cooperation before disqualification (1)
The reason why Kaya looked at Cho Min Joon was simple. They weren’t close, but she still knew Cho Min Joon better than anyone. She didn’t think about Cho Min Joon’s skill. She just needed someone she could rely on.
But Cho Min Joon couldn’t help but hesitate. Cho Min Joon remembered what the mission was. Fois Gras. He knew how to make it, but he had never worked with it before. And the same went for Kaya. There was no way someone from the slums could have handled Fois Gras before.
The reason why Kaya was able to pass this mission was because she picked Chloe as her partner. Chloe knew how to work with Fois Gras, and she had quite the experience. She was different from Cho Min Joon.
So Cho Min Joon couldn’t help but hesitate. If he thoughtlessly stepped up, it was possible that they would produce poor results. And that could lead to Kaya being disqualified. And that wasn’t just one disqualification. It would change Kaya’s life.
‘I have to refuse. I have to. It’s for the best.’ That was what Cho Min Joon thought. But at that moment, Cho Min Joon was walking down the stairs. Every time he took a step down, his head filled with chaos. ‘Why?’ This wasn’t good for anyone. He was doing this just to look like a good person. This was like gambling with another person’s fate. But…
His feet wouldn’t stop. Cho Min Joon approached Kaya with a stiffened face. It wasn’t too late. He had to tell her that he couldn’t do it.
But when he was face-to-face with Kaya, he couldn’t bring himself to say it. He then heard Joseph’s voice. He asked, “Min Joon. Will you be Kaya’s partner?”
“… I have one question for Kaya first.”
Cho Min Joon then looked at Kaya. Her eyes looked dampened with darkness. Cho Min Joon asked with a teaching voice, “This might be a mistake. Are you sure you won’t regret it?”
“… I don’t know.”
Kaya answered with a low voice. She sounded like a patient with a cold.
“I just… can’t think of anyone else. I need help.”
In any other situation, this would have sounded romantic. But in this situation, she just sounded sad and pathetic. Cho Min Joon quietly looked at Kaya. He then made his decision and answered. He didn’t care about the future. What was important was that Kaya was depending on him right now. The idol that he had always looked up to wanted his help.
So he had no choice but to reach out his hand.
“Okay. Let’s do it.”
Kaya spoke in a weak voice. Joseph quietly watched them and then clapped. He got everyone’s attention and said, “Now that you have your teams, I’ll give you your mission. Go to your cooking stations and check your boxes.”
Cho Min Joon and Kaya headed to the cooking station in the back. An icebox was placed on top of the counter. Cho Min Joon already knew what was inside. Fois Gras. Kaya impatiently opened the box. It was just as he remembered. The Fois Gras was sitting inside the box on top of the ice.
All of the contestants exclaimed in surprise. They couldn’t believe it. Fois Gras was the most difficult dish to make. The price was very important while if even one mistake was made, it turned into the worst possible result.
Fois Gras. It sounded fancy, but it was just a liver. Just like all livers, it reeked of an unpleasant smell. The key to making Fois Gras was to control that odor and making it an appetizing dish.
“… I don’t know how to make this.”
Kaya mumbled beside him. She tried not to show it, but it was clear that she felt agitated. Cho Min Joon spoke in a quiet voice. In a voice that would comfort her.
“I’ve never made it before either. But don’t make that face. We can do this, Kaya. Have you made chicken or cow liver before?”
Cho Min Joon calmly guided Kaya. Kaya nodded with an uneasy face.
“Yeah. But Fois Gras is different.”
“It’s still liver. Listen. This is…”
As Cho Min Joon tried to continue, Allen’s voice filled the hall.
“The material in front of you is your mission. Fois Gras. But you can’t cook at the same time. You must go in shifts of 5 minutes each, and the other person mustn’t assist when your partner is working.”
Nervous voices could be heard from all directions. There were many contestants besides Kaya and Cho Min Joon, who weren’t familiar with Fois Gras. Unless they were professionals, that was normal. It wasn’t an easy material to work with. Anderson was probably the only one with experience. But if they had to cook it in shifts, the difficulty was way too high for most.
“We’ll give you 20 minutes to think of the recipe. Decide by then. And we’ll give you 60 minutes for the mission.”
Cho Min Joon looked over at Kaya. He then said, “Let’s grill it.”
What he said was short. But Kaya understood. She had never worked with Fois Gras before, but she had heard about it. After all, she had studied about the materials that she hadn’t worked with before coming here.
There were two main ways of making Fois Gras. The first was to grill it and the other was to make it cold.
However, it wasn’t realistic for Cho Min Joon to pick the second option. Neither he or Kaya understood Fois Gras enough to attempt it. If they tried it without knowing much, they were bound to get insulted by the judges.
Kaya knitted her brows. She understood why Cho Min Joon made that decision. But there was one error with it.
“But this is frozen. I don’t know much about Fois Gras, but won’t the taste be lacking?”
“These days, they fast freeze it. It’s different from just putting cold meat into the freezer. We just have to defrost it in the right way.”
Of course, there would be some difference compared to refrigerated Fois Gras. But it was good enough to grill. If it wasn’t they would have just made the mission into making it into the cold version.
And the biggest reason why Cho Min Joon wanted to grill it was because he remembered that Kaya had grilled it in the original mission. Cho Min Joon still remembered the clip. He remembered her confidently cooking a dish that she had never attempted before.
That dish kept Kaya in the game. She proved her worth, and he hoped that she would do the same this time around. He hoped that she wouldn’t get disqualified just for picking him over Chloe. They had to win. So Cho Min Joon was more serious than ever.
“I promise I won’t let you go home.”
“… I have no intention of going home anyway.”
Kaya answered in a sharp voice. Cho Min Joon smiled in response. He felt like he was looking at his little sister, Cho Ah Ra. He couldn’t bring her harm. Cho Min Joon closed his eyes. The basic way was to put puree on top of the grilled Fois Gras. He saw countless recipes for the puree, and beside them were estimated cooking scores. 5 points, 4 points, 5 points, 5 points, 6 points, 5 points…