Chapter 409: Cooking for Enemy (2)
Min-joon wondered if the expression, ‘The world looks slow’ was designed for this kind of situation. He looked at the front blankly. Kaya’s scattered hair, the tomato juice that burst out like her blood and wet her hair and clothes, and the torn tomato flesh covering her eyes and her neck. All of that was slowly and clearly reflected in his eyes. She was trembling with shock now.
He clenched his fist. He could understand they were protesting because he knew that when they were too proud, they could sometimes go in the wrong direction. But this was not the right way. They crossed the permissible line. It was possible that they felt sorry and even resentful about the French chefs lagging behind their American counterparts in this contest, but the moment they translated that anger into violence, they could not be forgiven, he thought.
He grabbed the tomato fragments left on Kaya’s neck. He looked back at the protesters. And he was about to tighten his grip on the torn tomato and throw it at the protesters when she grabbed his arm.
“Don’t do it.”
“Are you going to take it without any resistance?”
“That’s not what I mean. If you throw the tomato at them, you’re going to be as despicable as them. So, don’t deal with them.”
He silently dropped his hand holding the tomato. He opened his mouth slightly. There was frustration, anger, and regret in his breathing.
“Were you hurt a lot?” he asked.
“Nope. I grew up in the market roughly. Do you think I can get hurt because of this?” she said.
“Okay, let’s go.”
“Wait a moment. Where are you going?” Kaya looked confused at the moment because it was not the venue where he headed, pulling her hand.
He said in a quiet voice, “They are shouting we should go back. Since they are protesting by throwing precious tomatoes like this, we should go back.”
In fact, a lot of thoughts came to his mind at that short moment. He was agonizing over whether he should enter the venue as if nothing happened, or whether he should go back. He wondered what would be the way to beat them. And the conclusion he made was to go back. He wasn’t sure if this was the right answer, but he wasn’t confident in making the dish delicious in this atmosphere. His desire to cook in the contest in this country was quickly gone.
The moment they saw Min-joon turning, Anderson and Chloe also looked back at each other for a moment then turned with a sigh. It was ridiculous for them to participate in this competition when Min-joon and Kaya decided not to go. Now, it was Dobby who had to decide whether to participate or not. He looked at Eva, rubbing his temple as if his head was throbbing.
“What are we going to do?”
“Well, it’s ridiculous for us to participate right now. It’s Kaya who got hit by the tomatoes, but it’s like throwing tomatoes at us, too.”
“So, you want to turn?”
“What do you think?”
“What would Chef June do in this situation?”
“Actually, the answer is already there. If you got hit by tomatoes, you might be better off smiling at them and entering the venue, but Min-joon and the other demi chefs are turning now…”
It might look better for them to keep pace with the other demi chefs, but Dobby sighed without making a judgment easily. But he made the decision quickly. The Paris International Cooking Contest was not an ordinary contest. If the chefs and spectators were forced out by the protesters in this competition that symbolizes the French people’s pride…
“Okay, let’s go.” Dobby made a decision.
But when the other American chefs turned, it wasn’t just the venue staff and reporters who were embarrassed. Even the protesters began to whisper, faced with an unexpected situation. But someone started shouting out loud, “Leave! Leave! You guys don’t deserve it!”
While they were repeating the slogan, some reporters carefully approached Min-joon and the others.
They asked in English with a French accent, “Where are you going now?”
“We’re going back because they don’t seem to welcome us.”
When Min-joon said that, the reporter checked Kaya’s expression. Of course, he didn’t throw tomatoes, but as a Frenchman, he also felt some responsibility.
“Then, are you giving up the competition?”
“I’m not giving up. This country has given up on us. I’m sorry to the judges and many others who have had high expectations for us, but it seems that they are not ready for our safe participation… Whew! Let me leave now.”
“Oh, wait a minute! Chef Min-joon!”
But Min-joon did not respond to their questions anymore. Honestly, he wasn’t in the mood to respond now. He got into the car and rubbed his face. This was one of the few moments when he got really upset in his life. When he looked at Kaya slightly, she didn’t wipe the tomato juice off her face properly yet. He loosened his scarf and wiped her face.
Watching them, Anderson quietly opened his mouth.
“What are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to go back.”
“Are you really going to give up like this?”
Min-joon did not answer. But he made the decision. He slowly turned to Anderson and looked back at Chloe. They turned like him, but they didn’t show any resentment.
Min-joon felt heavy, though he knew they could understand whatever he said.
“I’m sorry. Because of me, you guys couldn’t take part in the competition.”
“Would you like to go back to the venue then?”
Eva nudged him in the ribs when Dobby asked without hiding his desire to go back.
While Min-joon was looking at him with an awkward expression, Anderson said with a calm voice, “You don’t have to be sorry. Anyway, we are not going to tolerate it. I just want to know what we should do from now on.”
“Well, what’s the point of discussing it? Let’s go back to Los Angeles. There is no point of us staying here anymore.”
“Are we really going back?” asked Chloe in a surprised voice as if she was embarrassed by the situation that was changing too rapidly.
Min-joon said, nodding, “Yeah.”
“Min-joon is smart!” June said, combing her hair.
Rachel glanced at her then went on kneading the dough. What she was making right now was pasta. Now, depending on how she cut it, it could be spaghetti, linguini, or lasagna.
Looking at the dough a bit, June said, “What are you going to make?”
“Well, I have no idea yet.”
“By the way, you remember Min-joon said a chef should be faithful only to cooking. Well, that might sound good to hear, but it’s not realistic. A versatile person rather than a person who only knows how to cook is more useful in the real world. You can’t run a restaurant with only cooking.”
Rachel didn’t answer.
June asked with a smile, “Oh, what do you think about this?”
“Well, I don’t want to think about it. The French guys are really nasty.”
“You know it won’t end there.”
The moment she talked to Rachel, a message appeared on her phone.
After checking it, she said, “Dobby just told me today’s contest was canceled.”
Rachel was not surprised because the organizers of the Paris contest would not be able to proceed with the event with three pairs not participating. They were not ordinary chefs.
They were extraordinary chefs who drew attention not only from France but also from other countries. So, if the organizers could not protect them because of the protesters and let them go back to their homeland, the prestige of the Paris International Culinary Competition would plunge overnight.
“Honestly, I was surprised by Min-joon’s action this time. I thought he always tried to beat somebody with cooking,” said June.
“Oh, I didn’t know you would praise him.”
“Do you think I hate him?”
“Don’t you think he is dangerous?”
“Because I recognize him. I like him. He’s definitely a talented guy. I feel like wanting to make him grow when I see him. I think I understand why you’re obsessed with him. That’s why I’ve come here to ask you a favor.”
Now, there was no more smile on June’s face.
“Please give him to me!”
“Nonsense! I know you don’t want to make him grow, but you want to have him under your wing to stop him from challenging you, right?” Rachel asked with a poker face.
“Well, you won’t believe me no matter how much I explain to you. Sure, let me admit that. But I’m not going to teach him wrong. If he can join me, I’m going to teach him everything. How about you, Rachel? What are you teaching him now? Are you teaching him how to become a good chef or a Chef Daniel?”
Rachel stopped kneading the dough and looked at her coldly.
Feeling she had goosebumps at Rachel’s cold glance, June didn’t budge a bit.
“At first, he could learn a lot from you. But now, both of you stand in the way of each other.
So, give him to me. I can give him all you want.”
“No way. Just go back if you want to incite like that.”
“Do you hate me so much?”
At that moment, Rachel looked at June. Her voice was not that of the sophisticated head chef of Rose Island’s New York branch, but that of a woman who resembled a pure, dreamy girl in her kitchen in the past.
June said, “I resemble you a lot, teacher. Just like you wanted to surpass Daniel, I wanted to beat Dave. So, I had to lean on hard work rather than my talent, and I had to learn a lot of other things because I couldn’t surpass other geniuses in cooking alone. If so, you should pay more attention to me than chefs like Min-joon or Dave.
“I’ve never thought of neglecting you.”
“There has never been a time that did not spare you.
“Then, just give me a chance.”
June made a sincere request and even begged. Although she was a chef that made all the chefs and gourmets not only in New York but also across the country admire her, June was only a weak and delicate child at this moment.
“Have I ever disappointed you, teacher?”
“So, please take into account my hard effort, not my talent. Look at yourself, not Chef Daniel. Then you’ll see your past in me,” June muttered. “Because I resemble you, teacher.”
The situation unfolded unexpectedly. Tired of the protests, the Rose Island teams were preparing to leave France when they were faced with a very embarrassing situation.
There was another protest. This time, it was a protest opposing the protest in front of the venue yesterday. More precisely, it was a protest calling on the venue protesters to stop ignoring and hating the American chefs. At the same time, the protesters urged the American chefs to ignore the stupid French chefs and continue to participate in the remaining final rounds of the contest.
This time, the size of the protest was larger than the one yesterday. In fact, Chloe’s friends in the cooking business played a big role. Some of her friends, who heard from her that they eventually returned to the United States after encountering protests in France rejecting American chefs would return, faced with the protest of those Frenchmen hating the American chefs’ outstanding performance in the contest, posted lots of articles on this on StarBook, so lots of fans around the world raised the issue.
As a result, the French government and citizens regarded the protest as an international disgrace. Even ordinary people who were only interested in cooking got interested in the cooking contest and came to know about the protest. After all, it was not unreasonable that they formed a large protest against those haters of American chefs. After all, France was a country of protest.
Ironically, the moment Min-joon and his friends gave up France, they became the chefs that the Frenchmen wanted more than ever.