God of Cooking

Chapter 32

Chapter 32: Chapter 32: Good cooking and the final product (2)

Of course, considering Chloe’s cooking score of 7, it wasn’t that strange for one of her dishes to come out as a 6. If her condition wasn’t good, that could easily happen. But Chloe didn’t seem dissatisfied even for a bit. She couldn’t have looked so content if she knew that she had failed.

And Chloe wasn’t a bad enough cook to not know whether she failed a dish or not. So he was thoroughly confused. How could she make a 6-point dish and look so relaxed?

Cho Min Joon looked down at the soup with a sly face. At that moment, someone tapped him on the shoulder from behind.

“Why aren’t you sitting down?”

It was Kaya. She served the grilled Guanzi on a plate. After that, the soup, pasta, and the Guanzi were placed on the table. It almost looked like a Korean feast more than a course meal.

Since they were just having lunch, they didn’t have to worry about the order of serving. Cho Min Joon sat in his seat. Marco put the dough in the oven and said, “This feels like a buffet.”

Kaya smirked. Cho Min Joon looked at Kaya’s dish. She must have cooked as usual because it was 7 points. Above the soft custard-like meat was a layer of seared butter.

But Cho Min Joon reached for the potato soup first. Since the potato soup was what held all of the dishes together, he had to try it first.

The soup wasn’t very creamy, but more watery like a Korean soup. As soon as he took a taste of the broth, the clean flavors of potatoes spread throughout his mouth.

It was delicious. But that was it. He felt like he had tasted it before. It didn’t have any subtle or intense flavors and just gave off some savory flavors.

“Wow, Chloe. This is delicious.”

Cho Min Joon was surprised by what Kaya said. Kaya wasn’t the type to say what she didn’t mean, but she praised this dish. When Cho Min Joon saw that the potato soup was a 6, he thought Kaya would criticize it.

But the result was the opposite. Cho Min Joon got another taste of the potato soup with a vague look on his face. This time, a potato and water parsley was also included in the bite. But it was just so-so. It was good enough for a meal, but it didn’t touch him the way Chloe’s other dishes did.

And at that moment, Cho Min Joon thought, ‘Why does a dish always have to touch people?’

He thought it was weird. Since when did dishes have to be so spectacular? Come to think of it, the meat at Korean grill houses didn’t get high scores either. From what he remembered, they were anywhere between 5 and 6 points.

But that didn’t mean the meat didn’t taste good. And not a single person complained about it. All they did was put meat on top of a grill, but no one said that wasn’t real cooking.

At that moment, Cho Min Joon started questioning cooking scores in general. He first thought that it just scored food as they were. But did that score represent everything about that dish? He suddenly didn’t like that it was called a ‘cooking’ score.

“Min Joon? What’s wrong? Does it taste bad?”

Cho Min Joon was woken from his thoughts when Chloe called his name. She was looking at him with a worried look on her face. Cho Min Joon smiled awkwardly. He had many thoughts in his head. He wondered if he should tell the truth.

But he thought it was best to talk about it. After all, it was about cooking. And he also wondered if this was why Chloe got disqualified early on. Cho Min Joon said, “It’s good. But to be honest, that’s it. I know this is just lunch, but I feel like something’s missing. And I feel a little confused. It’s not a high-class dish. But that doesn’t mean it tastes bad. This is…”

“Isn’t it good as is?”

It was Kaya who answered, not Chloe. She sucked on her spoon as she continued, “It’s nice and simple. I don’t think its necessary to add anything to it.”

“I think so, too. But it’s a little lacking, Chloe. Cooking here is to eat, but it’s also to practice. Doesn’t that mean you might make something like this in a mission?”

“Yeah… But is that a bad idea?”

Chloe asked with her head tilted. He didn’t want to say anything bad to her nice face, but he wanted to speak to her as a colleague. He needed to do it so that Chloe could survive. Cho Min Joon said, “It’s hard to describe, but let me try. I’m satisfied with your cooking. I feel like I’d be satisfied eating it once a day. But this isn’t the best of your abilities. No matter how talented a chef is, if they heat up a frozen dish in a microwave, they’ll get the same result as a normal person. I wonder if this potato soup was made in the same manner.”

“Hm. So what you’re trying to say is… this potato soup is too average for my skills?”

“… Yeah. It doesn’t trigger my taste buds in any way. It just goes down smoothly. I wonder if this is best for just a family meal than a course meal.”

In response, Chloe stroked her lip and went deep into thought. Rather than feeling hurt, she felt like Cho Min Joon’s words was like homework. But this was also homework to Cho Min Joon as well. While Cho Min Joon spoke, he didn’t sound like he was all that certain. He was questioning the validity of the cooking scores.

That was why it was harder for him to answer Chloe’s question.

“Then is this potato soup unacceptable to put out in a restaurant? Because it doesn’t show off my full potential and doesn’t taste high class?”

Cho Min Joon was unable to say anything. Was that the case? Were there dishes that weren’t acceptable to serve in restaurants? And if so, who decided that?

Cho Min Joon was speechless. He had worked in a restaurant before, but he was the youngest chef. And he wasn’t even a chef. He was just a helper. He actually didn’t know all that much about how restaurants worked.

Cho Min Joon wanted to agree with Chloe’s words. If there was a limit to every dish, that meant the worth of a dish was predetermined… That was very sad. It was as cruel as saying that all people were born with their own worth and fates.

“I don’t know either.”

That was all Cho Min Joon could say at the end. But Chloe didn’t reproach Cho Min Joon. She actually just smiled. A pure smile. A face that was very Chloe.

“Then let’s keep thinking about it. We have lots of time.”

“… Yeah. Okay.”

“Let’s start with the pasta. It’ll get soggy.”

Chloe picked up her fork with a smile. And Cho Min Joon smiled back as he reached for the Aglio e Olio.

It was a success. The pepper oil contained a subtle garlic scent as well as a spicy flavor. And the key was the salt. Cho Min Joon thought that salt was the most important in Aglio e Olio. But the saltiness had to be somewhere between not enough and too much. Most Koreans would have thought that it was too bland.

But Cho Min Joon believed that Grand Chef contestants could fully appreciate the flavors. A smile spread across Chloe’s face.

“It’s strangely alluring.”

“That’s what I was going for. Like a push and pull? Marco, what do you think?”

“… To be honest, it’s too bland for me. I like it saltier.”

“Then add some cheese. That’ll help.”

“I was going to.”

Marco wiped off the sweat from his forehead and sprinkled the cheese. The scent of it tickled the tip of his nose. But he had only sprinkled a little but on top. Cheese was cheese. Cho Min Joon ignored the temptation of the scent and wrapped up more noodles around his fork. Cheese wasn’t supposed to be added to Aglio e Olio. That was what he wanted to believe.

“It’s lacking something.”

Kaya spoke without hesitation. But Cho MinJoon wasn’t surprised. Kaya was often picky when it came to food. He actually welcomed Kaya’s response. Her taste buds were more impressive than Cho Min Joon’s system. She was able to figure out the structures of flavors just by tasting them.

Cho Min Joon asked, “What’s lacking?”

“An overall balance. I think there’s too much parsley, and the noodles and oil don’t go well together. I think you should have added more broth. You did it too quickly.”

“Hm, I’ll remember that.”

He wasn’t insulted. It was possible to be hated when offering criticisms. And Kaya said this with that in mind. So considering that, he couldn’t feel bad. Cho Min Joon wasn’t that kind of petty person.

But her criticism did raise a question. It was also a 6. Chloe’s potato soup as well as Cho Min Joon’s Aglio e Olio. But why did she not criticize the potato soup while expressing her regret in the Aglio e Olio?

He didn’t think for long. Because he couldn’t. Kaya pressed the others with a desperate voice.

“Taste mine now. It’s getting cold.”

Kaya looked at her Guanzi with a pitiful look on her face. Cho Min Joon smirked and tried a bite.

There was a very distinct flavor. It showed off Kaya’s cooking skills. The Guanzi was a little cold, but that also made the flavors come alive. The butter melted inside his mouth while the soft meat satisfied his taste buds. Kaya showed a sparkle in her eye as she asked, “How is it?”

“As always, there’s nothing I can point out.”

Cho Min Joon spoke with a shrug. Kaya looked back at Marco and Chloe. Chloe just smiled. That meant it was good. At that moment, Marco opened his mouth. Kaya looked at him in anxiousness. But what Marco said wasn’t about Kaya’s cooking.

“I’ll bring the soufflé now. It should be done now.”

When Marco returned to the table, he was holding a chocolate soufflé with sugar powder on top. Chloe exclaimed.

“Wow, Marco. It smells perfect. Why did you come out to Grand Chef? You should have tried out for Grand Patissiere.”

“… There’s no such thing.”

Marco responded with a sad voice. He then sliced up the soufflé and handed them out.

Cho Min Joon was surprised by the soufflé. It was an amazing dish. 8 points. The soufflé was a simple dish, but it really depended on the chef just like Aglio e Olio. It was the perfect dish to showcase Marco’s breadmaking skills.

But how did it taste? Cho Min Joon cut into the soufflé. It was softer than a sponge and very bouncy, while also giving off a lot of heat. It was also full of chocolatey flavors. Cho Min Joon slowly took a bite.

The sweetness and softness filled his mouth. The chocolate flavor then completely took over his mouth. All he could do at the moment was let it take over and let out a laugh of pure happiness.

He was too distracted to even think about cooking scores.

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