Chapter 30: Chapter 30: Cooperation before disqualification (4)
Origin: (Too many ingredients for an accurate calculation)
Quality: Medium-High (Average)
Cooking Score: 7/10
It wasn’t bad. It was the best Cho Min Joon could do, but it was just average for Kaya’s skills. However, the food wasn’t ready just yet. The Fois Gras was yet to be complete.
Cho Min Joon tasted the puree. It tasted sweet and bitter like a grape while also giving off a sour charm. And what gave it a smooth overtone was the Demiglace sauce. It wasn’t too heavy or burdensome.
Cho Min Joon looked back at Kaya.
“Should I put the puree on the plate?”
“Yeah. Do that.”
Cho Min Joon picked out a square plate. He then spread the puree into a circle. Cho Min Joon didn’t forget Allan’s criticism. He wanted to listen to him and put more care into his plating.
Cho Min Joon made a zig-zag with the purree. He then used his spoon to push some of the purees across the plate into one side. It almost looked like three lines was drawn on the plate. The top and bottom lines were going to the right while the middle line was drawn to the left.
He thought that it would look complete as soon as he put the Fois Gras on top. Cho Min Joon looked back at Kaya. She looked more serious than ever before. When Cho Min Joon opened his mouth.
“Time’s up! Last switch! Please finish off your dishes!”
Before Cho Min Joon could say anything, the buzzer went off and Allan made his announcement. Kaya stood in front of the cooking station with a stiffened face. She then took out the Fois Gras.
The Fois Gras almost looked like chicken breast soaked in beer. And the brown outer surface didn’t look as smooth as they expected.
Kaya touched the outside of the Fois Gras with her hands. It was soft. And when she put a knife through it, it was just the same. The nicely defrosted Fois Gras cut like pudding.
Kaya sliced the Fois Gras. She cut them to look like cylinders. Kaya then put it on the pan.
Fois Gras was made of goose liver. And that liver, which was stuffed with corn and potatoes, was full of oil. The oil from the Fois Gras overflowed the pan.
When one side was seared, Kaya flipped the Fois Gras. She then tilted the pan. The Fois Gras tilted to one side, making all the oil gather. Kaya spooned some of that oil and poured it on top of the Fois Gras. This was an arosser method that Cho Min Joon used for his snapper.
The sight of the oil cooking on top of the Fois Gras was beautiful. And the smell that it gave off was unlike anything they imagined. The scent was so strong that it made him believe it was spices, not meat. Cho Min Joon tried to come up with something that would connect with the Fois Gras. But nothing came to mind. He didn’t know if anything could measure up to it.
Cho Min Joon put the seared brown Fois Gras on top of the grape puree. He then added the sliced grape garnish on top. At that moment, Cho Min Joon showed a bright smile across his lips.
[Fois Gras Steak with Grape Puree]
Origin: (Too many ingredients for an accurate calculation)
Quality: Medium-High (Average)
Cooking Score: 8/10
8 points. He managed to get 8 points. It was good enough to sell in a high-class restaurant. Cho Min Joon looked at Kaya. She grimaced at his relieved face.
“What’s wrong with your face?”
“I think our dish turned out well.”
“What are you, the Beethoven of food? You haven’t even tasted it yet.”
Kaya grumbled, but her face suggested otherwise. She probably felt it as well. That her dish was a success. One couldn’t be a real chef without knowing if their own cooking was good or not.
The final buzzer went off. Joseph announced, “Time’s up. Please take your hands off.”
He spoke in a calm voice, but it sounded heavy. Cho Min Joon looked around him. It seemed like most of the groups finished except for one. Their Fois Gras was fried, but the problem was that rather than searing, it was just burnt. They already knew they were doomed, and it showed in their eyes. What could they do? They made a 3-point dish. That wasn’t good enough even for an amateur cooking show.
Aside from Anderson’s team, they were all 5 points. He thought Anderson would score 8 points, but he only scored 7.
‘His is also a Fois Gras steak.’
Strategically, making a steak out of it was the best way to go. Keeping it raw couldn’t have possibly produced a delicious final product. If it was just about tasting, it could have been okay, but not for an entire mission.
Three out of the five teams had chosen to make steak. But of course, except for Anderson and Kaya’s team, the remaining team burnt theirs.
The judges headed toward the team that burnt their Fois Gras. The judges quietly looked at the dish before just passing past their station. Their cold attitude even gave Cho Min Joon the chills.
The judges went to Anderson’s table next. It was a Fois Gras steak giving off a sweet and sour flavor. The judges looked impressed. Allan spoke first, “Not bad.”
“It’s very typical and clean.”
“Anderson, this proves that you’ve properly learned how to cook.”
“Carlos, I’m glad you went along with Anderson’s recipe and cooking. But I feel like you didn’t give off enough of your own character. But the dish was delicious. I’ll trust your considerate nature. Please go up to the 2nd floor!”
Being sent up to the 2nd floor meant that they passed. Carlos cheered and Anderson smiled as their evaluations closed off.
But the judges only showed such a smile in front of Anderson’s dish. When they got to the next table, the judges showed a stiffened face.
“What did you make?”
“We tried to put the Fois Gras pate in a baguette.”
“Raw? Really? Damn it, Louis. Just call it a mousse. Then I wouldn’t be this mad. Look at his disgusting texture. A pate should be more like a sausage texture than a cream. What is this? I’d rather eat mustard.”
“Sorry? That’s not going to fix this sad excuse for a dish. Oh my god. The geese probably had no idea that their death would be to become this disgusting cream-like substance.
No one said a word in response to Allan’s criticism. The same went for the next table. Emily tasted their pate and let out a sigh. She then asked, “Is this your pate?”
At that moment, the contestants hesitated to answer. Just a few minutes earlier, they heard Allan talking about mousse being better. Their pate looked very oily on the outside. Emily looked at them with a cold gaze and said, “You can’t even tell me what your dish is. Then this dish isn’t worthy of being evaluated. Do you agree?”
The contestants still didn’t answer. Following the silence, the judges headed over to Kaya and Cho Min Joon’s table. Cho Min Joon gulped. He knew the dish turned out well, but their criticisms made him nervous. The same went for Kaya. Her hands were shaking behind her back. Joseph asked, “What did you make?”
“Fois Gras steak. We added a grape puree as well as sliced grapes for garnish.”
While Cho Min Joon explained, the judges cut their Fois Gras. As soon as they got a taste, they let out an exclamation.
It was a very classy and harmonious flavor. It was so well grilled that they couldn’t believe the Fois Gras was frozen, and it was full of softness. And at the same time, the grape gave it a more refreshing taste.
Most grape purees were sweet and refreshing. It usually didn’t go well with meats like Fois Gras, but the demiglace sauce changed everything. The demiglace sauce was transformative. It was a bridge that connected the Fois Gras with the puree. The scent of the Fois Gras and the puree danced together on the plate.
It was a well-calculated flavor. It was to the point of not believing that this was Kaya and Cho Min Joon’s first time making Fois Gras. Allan spoke first, “This is… amazing.”
“It’s delicious. I feel like this is my favorite dish from this entire program. The puree and the Fois Gras taste perfect, and they don’t just play separately. I can’t imagine it being any better. Thank you.”
After Allan’s comment, Emily smiled and praise them as well. She tried to hold in her smile but couldn’t. The cameraman also smiled as he filmed Kaya and Cho Min Joon. They made a perfect pair on camera.
Joseph spoke with a soft smile on his face, “Kaya, we didn’t eat your last dish. It was a decent dish if it wasn’t for a course. Do you understand the reason for that now?”
“… Who could say that they don’t understand at this point?”
Kaya spoke in a sharp voice. She couldn’t just say she understood and that she was wrong. But what she said was no different from that. Joseph smiled and said, “Kaya, you’re a very talented chef. But no chef can work alone. Please learn to work as a team and lean on other people. Then your cooking will shine even brighter.”
Kaya just tapped the ground with her foot out of embarrassment. Joseph looked at Cho Min Joon and asked, “I heard you came up with the sauce, Min Joon. Is that true?”
“How did you come up with this if you’ve never tried Fois Gras before?”
It was a very clever question, but Cho Min Joon already knew how to answer it.
“I saw it in a photo once. A Fois Gras steak with grape puree.”
“Then are you saying you recreated it using just that image alone?”
Cho Min Joon answered shortly. Joseph looked at Cho Min Joon with a frustrated look. ‘Who is this young lad? He copied a photo?’ It was possible to be inspired by a photo, but it was difficult to come up with a demiglace sauce and grill it in a way that would make it all work together.
But Cho Min Joon did it. Was that a coincidence or talent? Joseph wasn’t confident that he could evaluate this contestant. He was too strange of a contestant. He was a strange chef.
“… I’m impressed. You’re very talented, Min Joon.”
That was all Joseph could say at the end. Cho Min Joon smiled and answered, “Thank you.”
After that, the judges spoke for a moment, and it didn’t go on for long. Allan looked at Kaya and Cho Min Joon and asked, “What are you still doing here?”
“Go up to the 2nd floor.”