Gourmet


Reviewed by: sukting

July 10, 2010

Rating: three-point-five

How long
24 episodes

Foreword
It was adapted by a comic by Heo Young Man. Talented chefs Feng Zhou and Cheng Can are brought up as brothers. Their father, Jiu Gen suddenly annouces a special cooking contest to go through 3 stages to be his successor. So anyone can participate. Complications offer as the competition progresses. Do you wish to know who is the winner? Will Cheng Can ever become a chef again after leaving Yun Yan Ting? Will the two men ever become united as brothers?

Introduction on characters

1. Li Cheng Can – Kim Rae Won
He is the true descendant of the imperial chef. His ancestor is framed and killed and the truth is only exposed many years later. His family has been staying in the countryside for a long time, leading a poor life. After his family dies, he is taken in by Jiu Gen when he was 10 years old and calls him father. He has initially disliked cooking but later grows to love it. He keeps many research copies in a book.

Discovering the truth about their great-grandfather causes a crisis for Feng Zhou. He becomes more adamant to be the heir while Cheng Can decides to leave to give the chance to him. Cheng Can becomes a food peddler, specializing in the freshest and best ingredients in traditional Korean cuisine. Through the mixing with the masses, he learns what commoners need and is able to come up with nice and affordable dishes to suit them.

After Yun Yan Ting’s win against Song Ben, Song Zhou entrusts Yun Yan Ting to him as he needs to go around the world to find out more about people’s tastes. He agrees and makes soya preservatives with Yun Yan Ting’s staff before leaving. But like Song Zhou, he also believes that there are very secret experts around and decides to roam all over Korea.

He finds one shabby shop and has wanted to go to another but the owner detains him. So he has to stay with Zhen Xiu. Slowly, he is attracted by the kimchi hot pot dish. He even sneaks into the kitchen to find out the ingredients used. He finds a bottle of wine and is delighted. The owner gets so mad that he lets the dog out and even tosses the bottle into the air. Cheng Can leaps to grab it.

I find that Rae Won’s acting has not shown much surprise in this drama. Cheng Can’s love development with Zhen Xiu is too abrupt as I have only seen him pinning over Zhu Xi. His cooking skills are more attractive than anything else as he shows his passion in it. However, he does better in depicting father-son relationships. He must be very close to his parents in real life.

2. Jin Zhen Xiu – Nam Sang Mi
She is outgoing but blur. She aspires to become a reporter to write on gourmet. She graduates from a countryside university and comes to work in Seoul. She is careless to the extent of losing her examination pass at Yun Yan Ting and does not get to sit for it. To prepare for her next job interview, she requests to work as a waitress in Yan Yan Ting.

She is an incompetent worker. She looks untidy in her hairstyle. She nearly drops a bowl of hot soup. Another flaw of her is to oversleep to go to work late. Any employer will fire her immediately. Even Cheng Can doesn’t think that she has hopes to become a successful reporter.

Being a curious person and also wanting to conduct an interview with President Zhang, she follows Song Zhou to Jiju island. As they come together, the hotel staff thinks that they are married to give them only a room. She only realizes the mistake when she is having a bath and hears Song Zhou’s voice outside. Unable to get her clothes which are on a sofa, she tries luring him out of the room to tell him to wait for her downstairs in the restaurant through her cellphone. It is then now that Song Zhou discovers her bra there.

Through one interview, she gets Pian Xiu’s knife and wants to seek him out. She is annoyed that Cheng Can passes the knife back to Pian Xiu before she can conduct an interview with him. She becomes the beef competition co-host subconsciously as the original host is involved in a car accident. She gets so tense that she drops the speech notes.

She keeps stressing that she wants to write on food but she doesn’t know much about cooking. She only knows how to taste food and keeps pestering Cheng Can to cook for her. Cheng Can shakes his head when she even asks him if she can place any kind of charcoal to cook rice. She doesn’t even have basic knowledge at all. I agree with Cheng Can that Zhen Xiu hardly contributes to his career to keep giving him trouble instead. She often thinks of making use of him to complete her tasks.

She often oversteps her professionalism to ask too many questions on how Yun Yan Ting prepares for the contest. Seeing that she even asks Song Zhou where the charcoal he uses will be coming from, Zhu Xi stops her. This is their professional secret and she should not probe into the details.

Upon knowing that Cheng Can has gone to the forest to look for the charcoal without her, she goes after him to lose her way. This really serves her right as it is getting dark and her cellphone battery is getting flat. She has no choice but to sing aloud, hoping that he will find her soon. She bursts into tears and jumps to cling him when she is discovered.

Zhen Xiu’s dream to become a reporter is due to her mother so that she can rely on her recipes to cook. She loses her sense of taste due to tongue cancer so she cooks base on memory and recipes. Although her cooking of the worm soup for Zhen Xiu’s birthday is too salty, Zhen Xiu and Cheng Can hide the fact from her. She still finds it out through neighbours and gets very disillusioned.

Cheng Can then spices up dishes to cheer her up. His cooking that brings out the colour also presents sweet memories to her. Zhen Xiu is very thankful to him. Unwilling to ruin Yun Yan Ting, she prefers to cover a story on tea leaves production. She is stung by a bee and leaves her camera in the tea garden. She finds it before Cheng Can when they go to search for it at night. So she gets very playful to hide herself from him.

He gets very mad with her. Yet, she forgets to lock up her thumb drive in her drawer. Zheng Xi then gets her report to publish in her name. She resigns and Zheng Xi doesn’t reflect his mistake. He doesn’t want to keep her till Cheng Can questions the authenticity of her report. She feels remorseful and quits her job to wait for Cheng Can to come to the beef eatery to meet again. Yet, she can’t help being nasty to him.

She later returns to the magazine agency when Mei Lan and Zheng Xi beg her to get news from an old woman. They often give her knotty tasks to complete. She follows Cheng Can to the salt farm and both reconcile when collecting the salt. (I shake my head - see how ignorant she is to wear high heels to this very wrong place!) She is undeterred when Song Ben rejects her for the interview.

However, he agrees to see her later due to her article on Cheng Can. She gets Cheng Can to meet him with her, thinking that he might be able to help in Yun Yan Ting’s crisis. She never expects this man to be their rival instead. She stands by him and both are finally in love with each other.

Zhen Xiu is tense when she has to cook for Cheng Can for the first time. She uses instant ingredients to cook and he is contented with her cooking, except the soup as it is too salty. I shake my head – she complains so much on other people’s cooking but it is obvious that she has not done enough homework to be overly picky on others.

Sang Mi acts in the same annoying and irritating way as in ‘Sweet Spy’. Her constant nagging and over-the-top pretentious acting can be overbearing. She is not the kind of competent actress that others claim that I have in mind. Gosh – can she stop playing these roles?!

3. Yin Zhu Xi – Kim So Yun
She is the PR manager of the restaurant and also doubles up as Jiu Gen’s secretary. She knows Jiu Gen well as her father is also a shareholder of the restaurant. When she goes overseas to study with Song Zhou, he starts to love her. But her heart lies with Cheng Can. Feeling sorry for him, Zhu Xi tries to help him. Upon seeing how sour the relationship between Cheng Can and Song Zhou become now, she tries to talk to him to return to Yun Yan Ting.

She doesn’t know that Song Zhou is very hostile to Cheng Can. Upon knowing the true reason, she feels for him. But protecting Yun Yan Ting becomes her first priority and she requests Cheng Can to conceal the truth to minimise the damage. Thus Cheng Can only reveals part of the truth to the public. She is sad when Song Zhou still thinks that she doesn’t support him.

She is an indecisive person who doesn’t know who to love. She is upset over her breakup with Song Zhou to get hospitalized. Cheng Can recalls how she loves his seaweed soup that he prepared for her on her birthday after her mother’s death so he starts preparing for her. This touches her and she recovers quickly.

She is very distressed upon knowing that Jiu Gen is dying soon and he refuses to be hospitalized. She agrees reluctantly to keep it from the two brothers. She is beside the brothers throughout Jiu Gen’s wake and funeral. She prefers to concentrate on work instead of dwelling on love life now.

Cheng Can is thankful to her. During her stay with Xi Dong and him, she makes him realise how important Zhen Xiu is to him or he will lose her forever. She gulps in horror when the brothers leave one after another to get her to manage Yun Yan Ting. She makes Cheng Can promise to get the main ingredients for Yun Yan Ting so that he can return often.

So Yun has maintained her acting standard although she can never surpass her acting in ‘all About Eve’. She looks so elegant herewith flowing tresses. She is surprisingly sweet in her role. But not many will like her role to be so subdue. This character bottles up all her feelings and no one can read her mind.

4. Wu Song Zhou – Kwon Oh Joong
He is Jiu Gen’s son and is considered the successor. He doesn’t know why Jiu Gen showers so much care on Cheng Can but he also tries to be an elder brother to him. Jiu Gen is delighted that Cheng Can is finally interested in cooking but he isn’t. He is ambitious and wants to introduce Korean food to the world. So he has his mind set to open more branches in the world.

He is sore about knowing the truth and is determined to defend his position. After Cheng Can leaves Yun Yan Ting, he knows his whereabouts but chooses not to tell Jiu Gen. He is very selfish to want to be Yun Yan Ting’s only successor.

Song Zhou wins the contest. Yet, when he is announced as the successor, he isn’t prepared for it. He has thought that Cheng Can is better and is dismayed when he has moved. He becomes ambitious again and wants to work with other overseas restaurant to promote Yun Yan Ting.

He tastes the different kinds of foreign wine with Zhu Xi and is concerned when she reveals that she has not been having good appetite lately. So he cooks a lavish meal for her. All will drool at the different colour spring roll, her favourite salad, spaghetti and also chocolate cake done in great pains. He hugs her when she is washing the dishes and they finally share a kiss together.

However, his ambition desire doesn’t stop as he promotes to open more branches. He is at President Zhang’s beck and call, much to Zhu Xi’s displeasure. He is sour when Jiu Gen doesn’t appear with him at the new branch opening but to be with Cheng Can instead. When knowing that Zhu Xi has pleaded with Cheng Can before the press conference, he feels insulted.

Zhu Xi has made him so pitiful by making Cheng Can getting abalones for him and she has been wavering between the two men. Although Zhu Xi explains that she likes Cheng Can in the past but him now, he will not listen to her. He even calls off their engagement and beats Cheng Can outside the hall upon seeing him with Zhen Xiu. He reprimands him for treating Zhu Xi lightly. From here, Zhen Xiu also knows that she has no hopes to be with Cheng Can and leaves in a bad mood.

He doesn’t fix the root of the problem when the sauce problem persists. He gets a factory to create the sauce, much to Cheng Can’s displeasure. Even after the root of the problem is found, he still orders the different sauces. Jiu Gen gives him a hard slap and falls ill. Doing this is the same as giving up Yun Yan Ting and him.

Mr Yin gets even more fed up when he doesn’t use his China works to want to use another company’s. All odds are against him when his expansion plans fail. President Zhang avoids him and doesn’t want to get involved. He has to eat the humble pie to ask Mr Yin for support to admit his mistake but it is already too late. He is such a fool to ask Min Yu why he is against him. Min Yu shakes his head at how ignorant he is.

Song Zhou blames himself for Jiu Gen’s death. He also asks for Zhu Xi’s forgiveness for treating her cruelly. Thinking that Cheng Can has betrayed Yun Yan Ting to replace him by agreeing to work with Song Ben, he leaves Yun Yan Ting. But after second thoughts and being scolded by Chi Yun, he returns to join Cheng Can in the competition.

He has a talk with Song Ben and realises the secret of his success. In order to keep Yun Yan Ting going and keeping up with the trend, he decides to tour the world. He can’t produce the sauce with Cheng Can and leaves the empty barrel to Cheng Can to do on his own. Both go to the storage place that has the other barrels of sauce made by their seniors to make the promise.

His acting in this drama is also very subdue. He hardly shows his emotions openly but this is how the character is like. It is very challenging to act in this role so it is understandable when his performance here is also average. Like Rae Won, his cooking scenes are more spectacular.

5. Kong Min Yu – Won Ki Joon
He is addressed to be part of the top 3 chefs besides Cheng Can and Song Zhou. He goes through lots of tests to get the top position. He is actually Cheng Can’s classmate and looks down on him as he is a trouble-maker since young. Thus, he always tries to make life difficult for him. He has always been unsatisfied to play the second fiddle.

Shang Ji has discovered that something is wrong with the prawn paste in making kimchi and alerts Min Yu but he brushes it off. He realizes it too late when all Yun Yan Ting’s kimchi is rejected during the kimchi festival. This is an insult as Yun Yan Ting is the one who founded it 10 years ago. Song Zhou chides Min Yu for being careful and even hits his knee in front of the others.

Min Yu will not take this lying down. He is being sort after by another restaurant but he intends to deal with Song Zhou a big blow before quitting. He refuses to give the warehouse keys to Cheng Can when the sauces turn back but Shang Ji gives them to Cheng Can secretly. He instigates Director Yin to go against Song Zhou to work with Song Ben.

He is shocked when Song Ben doesn’t choose him or Director Yin to take over the management rights. Song Ben deems him untrustworthy and he has nowhere else to go. He snaps at Cheng Can for betraying Yun Yan Ting when seeing him coming to see Song Ben. He has nowhere else to go after that.

Cheng Can needs a helper for the competition against Song Ben. He asks Min Yu to return – he knows that he has put in lots of effort to learn from Jiu Gen. Yun Yan Ting has his tears and sweat – can he bear to give up? Returning will mean seeking redemption from Jiu Gen for making the mistake. Min Yu straightens his thoughts and returns.

Thumbs up to this actor’s acting! He makes Min Yu so unlikable that he simply upstages everyone whenever he appears.

6. Wu Jiu Gen – Choi Bool Am
Jiu Gen owns a famous traditional Korean restaurant, Yun Yan Ting. He claims to descent from the last royal chef. He is very traditional and insists that they should keep all traditional food unchanged. They don’t even know their culture well – how to tell the world about it? But Song Zhou overrules his authority to get the director board to support his decision.

Song Zhou has thought that as the only son, he will be the one to take over the restaurant and marry Zhu Xi. But Jiu Gen only wants to set things right for Cheng Can to be the real successor. After Cheng Can leaves home, he loses his appetite and tries looking for him. He tells Cheng Can that he needs to win himself.

He also dislikes Song Zhou to want to expand their business without going into the depth into their own culture. But as his father, he can’t support Cheng Can openly. Even though Zhen Xi wishes him to stop the brothers, he chooses to keep quiet as they have to learn to be dependent on each other.

Jiu Gen knows that Cheng Can still uses Yun Yan Ting style of cooking – the method he uses to add the sauce in the end is ‘the last taste’. He has expected him to win but he loses. Looks like he is too stubborn to remain traditional and he decides to hand over everything to Song Zhou. Yun Yan Ting faces the sauce crisis and he gets Cheng Can back to help.

Song Zhou is peeved when Jiu Gen insists of closing Yun Yan Ting in order to investigate. Jiu Gen falls sick and refuses to be admitted to hospital although he is dying. He can’t rest his mind as his sons are still not on good terms.

He has not expected Song Zhou to face a big obstacle in life – to lose the management rights. He requests Cheng Can to help him. He has already acknowledged his success but Song Zhou often thinks that he shows favourtism towards Cheng Can. He has gone fishing with Cheng Can to allow Song Zhou to handle everything on his own as he thinks that he is capable to do it. He is more concerned to help Cheng Can to pick up the knife again after his failure.

Upon knowing that Song Ben is going to buy over Yun Yan Ting, he gets very agitated. Cheng Can has to promise him that this will never happen. Song Zhou leaves home in guilt after losing the management rights. He hurries home when Zhu Xi tells him that Jiu Gen is gravely ill. He leaves them a jar of early sauce – this is the labour of fruit from him and his staff in the past.

Although Song Zhou sobs that he is in the wrong, Jiu Gen doesn’t blame him and finds him pitiful to shoulder too much responsibilities. Cheng Can sleeps in Jiu Gen’s room that night to take care of him. After a chat in the morning, he closes his eyes and dies peacefully. Song Zhou is too late to get in.

Song Ben speeds his death although he is contented to see the brothers reconcile in the end. Although he is a veteran actor, I find it hard to stomach his fake acting at times. And why is he keeping a long pony tail?! Can the old man so trendy even though he wears traditional clothes?

7. Li Xi Dong – Choi Jae Kwon
He follows Cheng Can in cooking but often ends up making blunders. Although he wins the beef tasting competition in Yun Yan Ting, Yun Yan Ting doesn’t select him to participate in the actual contest. He can’t endure beatings from Min Yu anymore so he leaves Yan Yun Ting. Although Cheng Can persuades him to return for the sake of his own future, he still refuses to return but to go back to his hometown.

He prefers to pick abalone from the sea and stay with his mute grandmother. His mother abandons him when he is 7 and he misses her. She sends him clothes and he follows the address to her home, discovering that she has remarried with two children. He doesn’t dare to acknowledge her although he is going to be enlisted in the army soon.

This woman isn’t his mother but her friend who sends the things to him after her death. Xi Dong takes the news hard and Cheng Can feels very sorry for him as he treats him like his younger brother. Through Xi Dong, Cheng Can is able to provide the abalones to Yun Yan Ting to seal the deal.

Although he only appears in some scenes, I adore his presence as his crying scenes are splendid. Like Cheng Can, he is also talented but simply unrecognized.

8. Director Han Zheng Xi– Kang Kam Gil
He is the magazine’s chief editor and often forces Zhen Xiu to run news for him. He is never contented and keeps hinting to her that he will fire her if she can’t get top news as she has poor qualifications. He knows a lot on cows and thus hosts the beef competition.

Being a despicable person who wants to get attention, he opens Zhen Xiu’s laptop to get the news on the truth of the imperial chef’s grandson. He spreads the news without Zhen Xiu’s knowledge through the cover page. He gets her to return to work and covers news on the contest again. I simply don’t get it – he is a dangerous snake but Mei Lan and Zhen Xiu are willing to slog for him despite disapproving his ways.

9. Master Chi Yun – Jung Jin
He is one of the founders for Yun Yan Ting but he enjoys the process of eating instead of preparing. Like Jiu Gen, he strongly believes in preserving traditional Korean food. He is with the masses, doing fortune telling. He is a wise man and shakes his head upon seeing Cheng Can’s plight. He has predicated that his talent will invite trouble. He is forever present at cooking contests to support Yun Yan Ting.

He is an old friend of Xu Song – due to him, Xu Song takes Cheng Can in. He is sore when Cheng Can doesn’t visit him after leaving Yun Yan Ting and has to come for him instead. Knowing that Song Zhou intends to absent himself from the competition with Song Ben, Chi Yun finds him as Jiu Gen’s grave. He knocks sense into him – Cheng Can is having difficulty saving Yun Yan Ting so Song Zhou can’t leave him to fend on his own.

I also scratch my head over this old man – unlike Jiu Gen who ties his hair. This man lets his long hair go and looks like a woman! This drama changes my perception of hairstyling as the young men all bear short crop of hair but not the old.

10. Director Yin – Shim Yang Hong
He is the owner of Yun Yan Ting Los Angeles branch. He is an old friend of Jiu Gen who is an expert in pottery. He makes very nice China pieces for Yun Yan Ting to complement with the different dishes. His daughter is Zhu Xi. Although he is a friend of Jiu Gen and Chi Yun since their young days, he is not that close to them as he has a business style. His returning to Korea is not entirely to support Song Zhou but to seize Yun Yan Ting to be his own.

When his plan is ruined when Song Zhou backs out of the engagement and not using his china pieces, he turns to Song Ben. He feels quite guilty when he comes to Jiu Gen’s wake. Chi Yun gets so mad that he nearly chases him away. Director Yin quietly wonders why he isn’t the one to leave this world faster than Jiu Gen. After Song Ben loses, he realises his mistake and decides not to stay in Yun Yan Ting or he will ruin it further. He will make reflection by concentrating on pottery production.

11. Madam Zhao – Kim Ae Kyung
She is a kitchen helper and sauce maker who is interested in Chi Yun for a long time. She is often jumping in fury to see him with different women to take advantage to touch their hands to feign reading their fortune. Thus, she returns to her hometown to pluck tea leaves. She gets to meet Zhen Xiu and Cheng Can but she still refuses to return to Yun Yan Ting. She only does that when something goes wrong with the sauce.

She treats the sauce like her own children. Upon seeing them ruined, she bursts into tears and even prays at night, hoping to find a solution to it soon. When the crisis is over, she leads all the rest to scrub the pots and to create new sauces.

12. Cui Zhong Jiu – Lee Won Yong
He is a second rank chef but is most experienced among the staff. He is sore that Min Yu is promoted faster than him. However, he treats Cheng Can well. Min Yu fires him but has to kneel to get him to return. Zhong Jiu is a meat cutter formerly and Song Zhou needs his help. He is angered to know that Cheng Can helps outsiders. He is a bitter enemy of Pian Xiu.

He has thought that Pian Xiu gets the former factory owner job by sucking up to their ex-boss. Pian Xiu asserts that he has the position due to his ability. On Pian Xiu’s part, he has thought that Zhong Jiu has ruined Su Ying’s first engagement by telling her future-in-laws but he denies it. He is then promoted to Min Yu’s rank and starts to throw his weight around.

Zhong Jiu wins the second part of the competition but feels uncertain as he is the one who injures Pian Xiu’s hand. He finds Pian Xiu’s knife on the spot but has no courage to return it back to him although he goes to the hospital. He pays for his hospital bill secretly. Seeing that Da Ping is getting close to Manager Jiang, he gets very jealous and fires him immediately. But seeing how he cooks well and praises him, he gets uneasy. Pian Xiu gets to know about it and both are on better terms later.

Zhong Jiu turns into a better person after his promotion. Upon seeing that Cheng Can genuinely wants to find out the cause for why the sauces turn bad, he gets the keys for him. He also knows that Min Yu is up to no good and tries his best to stop him. He is glad when Cheng Can returns to the kitchen and supports him. Another middle-aged man who has close shoulder length hair but his curly hair is born naturally.

He is another actor with stage-like expressions. I am quite glad when his scenes are not that many or I will not be able to take it.

13. Wu Da Ping - Lee Won Jong
He comes over to take over song Jiu’s position after Song Jiu is dismissed. Many can’t stand how sissy he is to have a beard but yet keeps a pony tail. He is very particular about cleanliness, temperature and accuracy. Because of Manager Kang, he changes all his ways. All start to pick up his habit that Zhong Jiu detests. He is fired but he has expected this. He calmly requests to cook a last dinner for all his colleagues. He praises Zhong Jiu for his performance – to him, the process is better than the result.

14. Jiang Pian Xiu – Hoon Ki
He is initially a meat cutter and is upset over his wife’s death. Thus he disappears from the scene 5 years ago and all have been trying to seek him out. Now he becomes the owner of a BBQ beef shop for the sake of his daughter as he knows that his last profession has caused her first engagement to be annulled. Cheng Can helps him to reconcile with Su Ying. He takes the knife again to crave another new route for himself.

He is persistent to the end to finish the second part of the competition although he is injured and wins applause. He is discharged on the day of the third part of the competition – just in time to watch the match between Song Zhou and Cheng Can.

15. Pu Shang Ji – Kim Sun Hyuk
He is Min Yu’s sidekick who only follows Min Yu’s orders. He sneers at Cheng Can all the time and keeps bullying Xi Dong. However, he is also talented and devoted to Yun Yan Ting so Cheng Can gets him to help out in the competition against Song Ben team.

16. Xu Song – Choi Jae Hwan
He owns Da Jin company and often wants to expand his business. He is not educated and poor when young. He works with his own hands to open the company. He wants to have a share in the market with the cows that he is willing to buy under the name of his family.

17. General Manager – Do Yoon Joo
He toils for Yun Yan Ting for a long time. He goes through ups and downs with it. But he also moves along with the tide to support the more influential person.

18. Manager Kang - Kim Hye Jung
She is pissed off by Zhen Xiu’s attitude when she first works in Yun Yan Ting. Who doesn’t when she keeps on committing mistakes and is so half-hearted? She is flattered when Zhong Jiu and Da Ping show interest in her. She doesn’t dare to speak up for Da Ping when he is being fired by Zhong Jiu. Yet, she starts to miss him after that.

19. Zhang Mai Lan
She is Zhen Xiu’s friend and also colleague who introduces the reporter job to her. She also wants to dig news but doesn’t approve of Zheng Xi’s way to do it. However, she is happy when Zhen Xiu can return and work with her again.

20. Song Ben
He is a Japanese chef who makes it big after learning from Jiu Gen. Chi Yun also knows him and doesn’t like him. Jiu Gen admires his talents and grooms him despite opposition from the rest. However, there is bad blood between the two after that when Jiu Gen discovers that he uses poison in food in order to reach his higher standard. Like Jiu Gen, he still keeps the photo that both have taken but he will never get to taste his dish again after his death.

The two brothers are very distressed when he turns up at Jiu Gen’s Korean traditional wake. Cheng Can rants at him, wanting to chase him away. Song Zhou stops him but he is equally struggling hard to suppress his anger. Both brothers tell him to leave as they are sure that Jiu Gen doesn’t want to see him. He bows and leaves before watching Jiu Gen’s hearse being lead away after moving round Yun Yan Ting.

He leaves Yun Yan Ting and opens different branches of his outlets, claiming Korean cuisine to originate from Japan. He wants to rope in Cheng Can to help – not because he is a true descendant but because he wants to use his name to become popular. That is why Cheng Can doesn’t want to work with him. Being a magnanimous loser, he shakes the brothers’ hands before leaving.

Most favourite character
Cheng Can, he is helpful to others and also talented in cooking. But he doesn’t brag about it.

Most hated character
Min Yu, I simply can’t describe how much I dislike this fellow. He also uses poison like Song Ben in food and also his tongue. He is successful in setting Song Zhou and Director Yun against Yun Yan Ting. Luckily, it isn’t ruined in his hands.

Story/Interesting scenes

Min Yu is already jealous that Cheng Can becomes a junior chef within 5 years. More so when he is going to assist him and Song Zhou to cook a meal for Japanese officials. He gets so mad that he throws the knives that Jiu Gen gives Cheng Can. Cheng Can gets fluttered when he can’t find them.

Without his knives, Cheng Can is able to spice up dishes even though some extra guests arrive last minute. He fights with Min Yu in the kitchen when he insults him. Song Zhou takes the credit as the guests think that they are from him.

Jiu Gen holds a contest to go through 3 rounds to search for a successor. Song Zhou, Min Yu and Cheng Can go for it. Not willing to let the despicable Min Yu win, Cheng Can also joins. He is seen as a threat because of his youth, talent and creativity.

The first round is to cook a fish with the fish belly. Cheng Can has initially wanted to make meat rolls but Xi Dong accidentally ruins the fish belly. Min Yu gives him his extras but he deliberately cuts them into strips. Song Zhou cooks soup with special sauce while Min Yu makes dumplings that are of different colours with special vinegar kept for 17 years.

Zhen Xi brings Cheng Can to make a new knife under Jiu Gen’s instruction. Cheng Can gets sea water on the way back. Cheng Can makes dessert instead and mixes with sea water. He wins this round. Jiu Gen teaches the three to combine the three ingredients together. The taste of all kinds of food becomes heavenly.

No one dares to take up the second challenge of this one except Cheng Can. A fussy North Korean official is unsatisfied with how the smelly tofu kimchi soup is cooked by Cheng Can. Min Yu is happy that he is finally kicked out if he fails to please him. Chi Yun shakes his head after tasting it. Yun Yan Ting will be ruined if this goes on. All of them check on the beans and kimchi to find nothing wrong.

Cheng Can realizes that they have cleared the taste of the smelly tofu as most foreigners can’t accept it. He goes to the hotel to prepare for him again. He even prepares fruit snacks that can help the official in his digestive system as he notices that he drinks too much wine. Jiu Gen agrees that he can still continue while the other two are displeased to see the praising report in the newspaper.

The three are given special utensils to cook a dish that fits them and it must be natural. Cheng Can gets a bowl, Song Zhou a pot while Min Yu gets a saucer. Chi Yun deliberately breaks the bowl since it must be natural so Cheng Can breaks an unused pot in the garden for the dish.

Song Zhou boils potluck with red wine to blend the east with the west. Min Yu does a sushi dish. The judges are dismayed that he uses pufferfish too and find him too powerhungry for success even though it is just a little. Cheng Can comes up with a simple kimchi dessert which fits the title of going to the basics. Chi Yun chooses him. However, Song Zhou becomes the winner as he is able to protect his ingredients.

An international famous gourmet writer comes to Yun Yan Ting 2 hours in advance to taste the food. Song Zhou sees through his intention to try out the cold dish before the main course so he prepares for him. The main dish is also fine but it doesn’t score well with him. The writer has arranged his manager to sit in the main hall to pretend to be a nasty customer to ask Zhong Jiu to keep on cooking the right soup for him. Zhong Jiu gets impatient and comes to the main hall to reason with him.

That tarnishes the image of the restaurant totally for failing to provide good service. Zhong Jiu is then demoted to only preparing desserts. Zhen Xiu learns that the writer is adopted to go overseas long ago and misses his late mother’s cooking. She tells Song Zhou about it and both manage to find a post war restaurant that serves the ancient kimchi soup. His wish is fulfilled and he gives good comments.

The third one is to cook chicken with natural ingredients. Cheng Can sets off to his hometown to get the ingredients from the forest. Xi Dong overhears Min Yu and Song Zhou’s conversation to throw away Cheng Can’s ingredients. So he goes to alert him. Song Zhou believes strongly that Jiu Gen comes up with this question to get Cheng Can to win as Cheng Can remembers his late father’s cooking.

Cheng Can learns of his parentage and Song Zhou tells him off for hindering his chances to be the successor. Song Zhou even admits that he has wanted to throw his ingredients away so that he will lose for good. Cheng Can gets so upset that he throws the ingredients away. He leaves home but Song Zhou is dismayed that Jiu Gen cites that the contest will still continue when Cheng Can is back.

Cheng Can starts his food pedaling business. Pian Xiu is fed up with him for keeping on making so much noise that he chases him away with cold water. Cheng Can is angered but later softens upon knowing that he owes a lot of money to Xu Song, who owns a big company and dreams to enter into the beef market.

Song Zhou wants to get Director Zhang’s approval to invest in Yan Yun Ting to open more branches. So he looks for the Huang Chang crab for him. Cheng Can is also looking for it to make a dish for the knife maker’s son who is imprisoned as a birthday present. The two brothers meet and argue again.

Muslim guests come to the restaurant. Zhong Jiu has made a nice desert for Manager Kang but she only likes the dish and not him. He forgets completely and adds alcohol to the dessert. The guests leave in frustration and Min Yu fires Zhong Jiu.

Shang Ji and others compete to be the chef going for the beef dish cooking competition. Da Ping has not thought highly of Cheng Can’s cooking as he has not seen him before. He is baffled to lose out to Xi Dong but admits defeat after tasting it. It incurs Song Zhou’s wrath to know that Xi Dong uses Cheng Can’s method to win. Thus, he gets Shang Ji to replace Xi Dong and Xi Dong is agitated.

Xu Song forces Pian Xiu to keep a lot of beef for him till the meat is not fresh anymore. Seeing that he knows nothing about beef, Cheng Can sneers at him. Both have a battle – if Cheng Can wins, Xu Song will have to clear the fridge. If Xu Song wins, Cheng Can will have to do whatever he says. Cheng Can is blindfolded to taste different parts of the beef of a cow.

Xu Song is dismayed that Cheng Can answers correctly and keeps his promise. Yun Yan Ting has wanted to hire Pian Xiu as their meat cutter in the coming audition for business cooperation with President Zhang. Pian Xiu has stopped his previous trade to go into hiding for 5 years due to his daughter, Su Ying. Her previous engagement is ruined after her future-in-laws know about his occupation. Su Ying has long been hostile towards Pian Xiu as she also looks down on this profession.

Xu Song is also keen to work with President Zheng. He gets his subordinates to submit the contest form using names of Pian Xiu and Cheng Can. The two are alarmed upon knowing it later and are reluctant to help him. However, he wins them over with his sincerity.

Her attitude changes after Pian Xiu cooks her beef soup upon knowing that she has no appetite due to morning sickness. Min Yu initially threatens her job at the bank to force Pian Xiu to work for him. She then resigns so that Pian Xiu can do what he wants. Min Yu then attempts to buy over Pian Xiu with money but he refuses. Cheng Can is pissed off with Song Zhou and Min Yu for doing this.

He returns the money to Yan Yun Ting and nearly gets into a fight with the two men. Jiu Gen knows that their stands are different now. Still, he cooks a meal to eat with him before he leaves. Song Zhou is gloomy upon seeing this and eats alone in the staff quarters. From this incident, Cheng Can realizes that he is too weak to run away. He decides to face up to the truth and helps Xu Song.

Song Zhou is kept in the dark over the methods Min Yu uses. He tells Min Yu to get Song Jiu back by hook or crook. He is the only one from Yun Yan Ting who is experienced in meat cutting. However, Song Zhou is slowly becoming like Min Yu. He doesn’t talk to Cheng Can at all while only Zhen Xi approaches him at the auction venue. Zhong Jiu is being rehired and is displeased that Cheng Can has betrayed them.

President Zheng announces 3 stages to clear. The different companies have to get the best cow, the best meat cutter and also the best BBQ beef dish. Yan Yun Ting monopolies the cow market by buying the best cows and to choose later. Cheng Can and company are helpless till they catch a man trying to steal a cow. The cow meets their requirements but they have to deceive the seller’s boy that they will take good care of it as the boy needs the money to go through a heart operation.

Zhong Jiu is too eager to get the cow back. Min Yu helps to pull the cow up the lorry and they return at high speed. Unlike him, Pian Xiu takes his own sweet time to get back on time. Patience pays off when Da Jin gets the highest score for the best quality while Yun Yan Ting gets the lowest among the 8. Why? The poor cow has undergone too much stress and pressure to suffer from internal bleeding.

Pian Xiu and Song Jiu argue again over the past. Song Jiu causes Pian Xiu to sprain his hand but he still turns up for the meat cutting event. Pian Xiu has been leading initially but later becomes the last to finish. Cheng Can has wanted him to stop but he refuses. His knife pierces into his leg by mistake. Zhong Jiu is the first to complete but he has been deducted 10 marks due to imperfect cutting. Still, Yun Yan Ting comes up the first in the second round.

Pian Xiu scores perfectly although Da Jin is the last among the 4 companies to get into the last round. His professionalism wins praise from all to be honoured as the warrior for so long. Cheng Can sends him to hospital and although he doesn’t disclose the culprit to cause his injury, Cheng Can is angered. As Pian Xiu can’t accompany Cheng Can to get the charcoal, he tells him to get it on his own from his usual supplier. As for Zhong Jiu, he doesn’t dare to tell the others although they celebrate for him.

As the descendent of the imperial chef, only Jiu Gen knows where to get the best charcoal. Song Zhou begs Jiu Gen where to get it – he is his son and can’t put up with the equal treatment with Cheng Can anymore. Why can’t he treat him as his son instead of his disciple? Cheng Can gets the charcoal from the forest. How? Pian Xiu gets Cheng Can to look for his supplier who chops down a tree for him.

Cheng Can then stays in the mountain for 6 days to burn the bark into charcoal. He happens to see Jiu Gen and Song Zhou coming together for the same tree. Jiu Gen is touched when Song Zhou helps him all the way. Jiu Gen shakes his head – this is truly fated. He has not wanted the brothers to compete sourly but it still happens. Cheng Can leaves part of the charcoal to them before leaving with another piece.

Song Zhou’s pride doesn’t allow him to accept it. Jiu Gen then stops the car to collect some plants from the roadside. They have a strong fragrance. Song Zhou then realizes that Jiu Gen has revealed the fragrant charcoal recipe to him. He is touched when both are in the kitchen, making the charcoal together.

The third segment starts. Different chefs get the charcoal stove and charcoals ready. Cheng Can is taken aback to see Min Yu with round charcoals. They give a fragrance and Min Yu boasts to the judges of the unique secret. He gets so carried away that one oil droplet drips to the charcoal to cause a sizzle sound. Cheng Can doesn’t talk to the judges to pay attention.

He closes his eyes and listens to the sound. He hardly answers questions and only replies that he makes the charcoal himself. He recalls what Jiu Gen teaches him. Cheng Can notices that a judge has a toothache and cuts a smaller piece by the side. They are pleased by his sensitivity. They notice that he seems or not to BBQ the beef. It still preserves a natural taste. It is a tie between Min Yu and Cheng Can. Min Yu has a winning edge over the charcoal while Cheng Can wins over the taste and barbecuing skills.

The judges add another round – to come up with originality and creativity. Seeing Shang Ji making pastries, Song Zhou comes up with chilli sauce added with cream to the cow’s tail and ginseng. Cheng Can caters more to the commoners to use the cheapest part of the cow through barbecuing. He adds the ‘seawater’ sauce that Jiu Gen has taught him to put in during the last 2 minutes. He loses as the judges think that Song Zhou deserves more as he wants to promote Korean cuisine to the world. However, the judges cite that the taste from Cheng Can’s dish doesn’t lose out to Song Zhou.

Cheng Can hits the roads immediately after his defeat. He meets an old woman, Cai En who suffers from senile dementia. She chases away her daughter-in-law after her only son died. Yet, she knows how to go to the town she stays in without knowing why. She does it deliberately to hope that she can have a better life but it doesn’t come true.

Cheng Can is puzzled on why she keeps gathering vegetables from neighbours without paying to make kimchi but he and Zhen Xiu stay to help. The reason is she knows she is dying and makes the pots for them. All are in tears when they eat them during her wake. Her last tea kimchi pot is for her daughter-in-law and she scatters her ashes at the mountains.

After this, Cheng Can reflects on himself. Zhen Xiu scolds him for not having plans to just to loiter around. He begins to protest weakly that he is doing research but he knows that he is actually escaping from reality as part of the reason. It is the thought to make the dishes. He has been too focused to win Song Zhou and becomes selfish. Thus, he has to change his ways to be more thoughtful for others.

Zhen Xiu’s article of Song Zhou wanting to backstab Cheng Can is out and him being the true successor is out. This puts Yun Yan Ting’s business into jeopardy. Yet, Jiu Gen intends to return everything to Cheng Can and gets a lawyer to issue the statement. He is adamant to keep Cheng Can beside him this time. Song Zhou expects Cheng Can to cover up as Cheng Can isn’t competent enough to manage the business. Cheng Can gets so fed up that he intends to reveal the whole truth.

The press conference starts and Cheng Can reveals that he is indeed the true successor. But he covers the truth of Song Zhou sabotaging him. He insists that the competition is just to test his ability but he loves freedom so that he is unwilling to stay. Although reporters still question him about the purpose behind his beef competition against Yun Yan Ting, he leaves. Jiu Gen knows that Cheng Can’s intention is not to give Song Zhou pressure and he still values Yun Yan Ting valuable to him.

President Zhang wants to reconsider the beef supply dealing with Yun Yan Ting. He and the other judges come up with another tough topic that they have to compete with two other restaurants as the chef organization are holding their annual talk soon among them. The challenge is waiting blissfully. Chong Jiu thinks it is the time to wait for it while Min Yu feels that it is the time to prepare for it. They come up with a few dishes but Song Zhou isn’t satisfied.

Zhen Xiu goes to the beef soup restaurant that Cheng Can has arranged to meet her but he leaves without getting off his truck. He still can’t forgive her for writing the article although she proclaims that she isn’t the one letting it out of the bag.

Cheng Can is with Xi Dong during his darkest period of life upon knowing his mother’s death. He cooks for the ill Xi Dong to improve his appetite. Zhu Xi is bored and comes to look for them. His heart flutters for a while when with her. Xi Dong quickly gets Zhen Xiu to come along so she comes to see the two to leave in disappointment later.

Cheng Can closes his eyes and think of the theme for a few days after Zhu Xiu leaves. He sends 2 boxes of abalone to Yun Yan Ting. Zhu Xi knows that they are from him but keeps quiet. Min Yu exclaims that abalones take 5 years to grow. It is only then Song Zhou is excited – it fits the theme – waiting blissfully. Sure enough, the judges are impressed to taste the different abalone dishes greedily and get Yun Yan Ting to be in charge of the chefs meal meeting.

Cheng Can learns that Zhen Xiu has quit to work in the beef soup shop from Zhu Xi. He comes as a customer and makes her burst by complaining about her shabby attitude towards him to her boss. She doesn’t accept his apology. Jiu Gen invites Cheng Can to go fishing with him in the countryside. Cheng Can then gets the boss to get Zhen Xiu to meet them there. The boss is more than willing to help as Zhen Xiu has shed so many tears at her first day at work over Cheng Can.

Jiu Gen invites an old friend Fen to cook the salmon fish into soup after they catch them. Cheng Can is attracted by the taste and makes a bet. If he is able to spice up the same taste, Zhen Xiu will have to return to the magazine agency. She is neutral towards it. He fails a few tries after using different ingredients. Fen is about to tell him but he insists of finding out himself.

He gets very disillusioned when Fen keeps sinking her spoon into the soup with distaste. So much that he will pour the soup away to try again. Fen gives him a hint – feeling hot doesn’t imply that it is the chilli. He initially thinks that removing the seeds will do the trick but it also proves futile. He finally adds sea water to it and Fen is amused that he behaves like the same young Jiu Gen who is full of curiosity to ask repeatedly even after getting scolded.

Fen admires his never say die attitude and challenges him. Cheng Can stares in shock as Jiu Gen loses to her 30 years ago. So Jiu Gen wants him to win this time. Cheng Can fries salmon fish pieces to decorate into a fish with the head and with decorations from the stones and seaweed. Fen prepares fresh salmon with cooked coarse rice. She gets her customers to be the judges despite Cheng Can’s protests.

Cheng Can emerges the winner. Jiu Gen tastes Fen’s rice and knows that she deliberately loses to Cheng Can by avoiding putting her special vinegar. Fen gives Cheng Can her prize – a pair of amusement park tickets to go with Zhen Xiu. Yun Yan Ting has paid her to prepare dishes for the rich. Besides paying her the sum, the tickets are meant for her grandchildren.

She gives them to him, hoping to create a chance for him and Zhen Xiu after seeing how she helps him in the soup preparation. Through the visit, Zhen Xiu discovers that Cheng Can is afraid of heights when taking the cable car. He even holds her hand. However, it is later ruined with Song Zhou’s presence to make her aware that Zhu Xi is still in his heart.

Cheng Can and Jiu Gen bade Fen farewell. Both lecture him for not making use of the chance. Fen gives Cheng Can a bottle of her special vinegar as a present. Cheng Can knows that Jiu Gen has planned this trip as he doesn’t want him to be discouraged by his failure. He also senses that Fen likes Jiu Gen in her younger days but both do not end up together.

Jiu Gen brings Cheng Can to the storage place where barrels of sauce are placed. Even the sauce made by Cheng Can’s father and grandfather many years back still stay the same. Yet, something goes very wrong with the miso and kimchi sauces at Yun Yan Ting when they return. They all turn bad and Min Yu buys kimchi sauce from another hotel to put Yun Yan Ting to shame. Song Zhou isn’t around as he is on an overseas trip so Cheng Can investigates.

Jiu Gen tries to contact Madam Zhao and Chi Yun. Chi Yun is not contactable but Madam Zhao returns. Madam Zhao is devastated to find all barrels of sauce ruined in taste. Cheng Can sees that the other ingredients are properly maintained and the positions of the barrels are still the same. He then checks the yellow beans and finds them turning bad. The supplier admits that the flood season has caused that.

However, that is not the main cause. Cheng Can goes to the salt farm and notices that Yun Yan Ting’s supply of salt is more recent of 2 years instead of 5 years due to Min Yu’s arrangement. Salt storing for a longer period will last longer. Plus the construction still takes place when the storing is available. That affects the quality. Song Zhou insists of doing this his way.

Here comes his downfall when Director Yin conspires with other directors to go against Song Zhou. The tax department demands to collect all the files for checking. All directors demand that Song Zhou gives up the management rights. Even though Zhu Xi and Zhong Jiu try to put a good word for him through the director meeting, they still fail in their attempt. Song Zhou suspects that there is a mastermind but Director Yin and Min Yu will not reveal who he is.

The mastermind is a Japanese entrepreneur, Song Ben. He comes to Korea with his chef, Mu Chun. Mu Chun is observant to know that something goes wrong with all the sauces by coming to Yun Yan Ting. Jiu Gen has no intention to hide the truth from him. Song Ben has wanted to acquire Yun Yan Ting to make Cheng Can manage it. He has opened many chains in many countries.

The scheming Zhen Xiu has wanted Song Ben to grand her a interview by getting Cheng Can to come up with a recipe to improve Song Ben’s appetite. Through Zhen Xiu, Cheng Can gets to meet Song Ben. He is puzzled on why Song Ben requests a prawn paste dish. Cheng Can is not in the mood to prepare it now due to Yun Yan Ting crisis but promises to do it before he returns to Japan. Not many know of it these days. Cheng Can starts to appear in the kitchen again in his uniform and all are glad that he is back.

Cheng Can later gets to know Song Ben’s identity. He cooks the prawn paste dish reluctantly. Song Ben detects no sincerity in his first attempt and later anger in his second try. Cheng Can insists that there is nothing wrong in his cooking and points out his mistake of using poison in the past. Song Ben calmly accepts his comments and wants to have a competition with Cheng Can.

If Cheng Can wins, he will withdraw his investment. If he loses, he has to work with him. Each team will have four participants. Song Zhou suddenly goes away so Cheng Can has to seek help from Shang Ji, Zhong Jiu and Min Yu. On the eve, Cheng Can leaves a voice message on Song Zhou’s phone. He has no confidence at all to be under tremendous pressure and needs his help badly. They practice for a few times in the kitchen after waiting for him in vain.

On the competition day, all whisper when seeing Min Yu with the others. Hasn’t he betrayed them? Min Yu maintains his cool. Director Yin also frowns but is silent. Cheng Can requests for a change if Song Zhou returns. Song Ben obliges as he knows he still harbours hopes on Song Zhou.

They have to come up with the appetizer, main dish and dessert. Yun Yan Ting makes a black fish cake salad with spinach soup. They lose out to Song Ben’s fish salad together with beans. He mixes prawn taste and no one knows the country’s nationality. They also use soup to cook porridge in Japanese style.

Song Ben’s team wins by one mark in taste. Song Ben is able to add rice wine mixed with vinegar to project a stronger taste. Zhong Jiu encourages Cheng Can to carry on. Cheng Can recalls how Song Zhou manages to get the same vinegar to win him the last time. His confidence is shaken.

Upon recalling Song Ben’s threat to work for him, Cheng Can drops his knife while chopping the onions.
Just then, Song Zhou returns and their morale is boosted for the 2 main dishes. Min Yu asks for Song Zhou’s forgiveness and he taps his shoulder. Song Zhou looks at the recipe and discusses with them to change it. Zhong Jiu doesn’t see why they don’t make lobster with cuttlefish as they have practiced on it.

Song Zhou has come up with a new dish – lobster with rice cake. He comments on why Cheng Can has lost the last time to him. Cheng Can has used Jiu Gen’s technique to the fullest but Song Zhou wins. Why? He has considered on how to bring Korean cuisine to the world.

The others support his decision to use Song Zhou’s chilli sauce that he newly invents. He asks them to believe in him. The other Yun Yan Ting staff are worried – how can they change the recipe midway? They come up with the dish. Song Ben’s team comes up with squid rolls with sushi inserted in them. Zhong Jiu nearly bursts upon seeing how Song Ben blends Korean sauce into Japanese culture. So are the rest.

The second dish must use beef. Yun Yan Ting uses Cheng Can’s method of using the toughest but cheapest part of the cow as the ingredient for the second main dish. When tasting the sauce, Song Zhou tells Cheng Can to discard as he runs away. Min Yu and Zhong Jiu worry that they will go overtime. Cheng Can is calm to ask them to wait. Song Zhou rushes to bring Jiu Gen’s early sauce. That is the main essence that Jiu Gen has come up with their seniors.

They use the best beef for grilling together with herbs. They also come up with kimchi and rice cooked in Korean style. They do away with spicy kimchi and Chi Yun shakes his head – how can they ruin the dish? Yun Yan Ting steams beef into the pumpkin. Cheng Can uses chopping method to soften the beef. He also uses red dates and chestnuts with Korean ingredients.

From the judges’ reaction, Yun Yan Ting knows that they make the right move to bring the gap closer to 0.5 points as they win in the taste section. The judges feel that something goes wrong with the sauce. Although they use the Korean method to prepare it, the temperature and water in the natural environment causes the change. The last is the desert. Song Ben comes up with peach outer look ice cream. Yun Yan Ting makes a shape of grapes using kiwi fruit with a teapot of medicine tea. They get the same marks together after the three rounds.

Yun Yan Ting emerges as the winner to win by a small margin of 0.2 marks. The four guys hug each other in joy. Yun Yan Ting is finally back to its flourish stage as business return. Min Yu and Zhong Jiu are energetic in the kitchen again. Everything returns to normal.

Interesting facts

Rae Won chatted with one producer and told him that he knew how to cook fish soup. The manga came to the producer’s mind immediately and he bought the copyright. The food decoration was so attractive that Rae Won did not bear to eat them. They spent almost a year preparing it. Cheng Can was a cheerful person but he had painful memories so Rae Won tried not to overdo it. Although Ki Joon was like his nemesis in the drama, Rae Won was actually closest to him despite only working with all of them for the first time.

Rae Won was a great cook in normal life as he went to Seoul to stay alone since 14 years old. His cooking scenes proved little difficulty during the training and he improved his cooking under a teacher for 2 months. The teacher praised him for doing well. He planned to open a restaurant as his sideline. This was the last drama that he did before getting into the army. Viewership went from 13% to 27%.

Sang Mi thought of how to project the plain Zhen Xiu lively. Her optimistic nature resembled Zhen Xiu but she wanted to project a more mature image. She cut her hair shorter. She even felt that she should be part of the cooking ingredients. This was the first time she worked with Rae Won and both kept playing even though their lines were spoken. Even the director did not call cut as he was also attracted.

The scenery was taken from Ba Tao Jiang Mountain. Sang Mi thought Yi De Jun’s sunrise and sunset scenes were splendid. The original manga was sold at about 100,000 copies. The author took 4 years to think and interview many before publishing it. It was different from the movie in terms of storyline although some characters are the same.

There was a scene of Zhen Xiu eating ramen with Rae Won. Rae Won was a talented cook and it had professional standard with the colourful ingredients added. The director had to remind Sang Mi to remember her lines instead of eating all the time.

So Yun felt very fortunate to be part of the team as this was the first drama that received so much feedback. owever, she longed to act as a tough role. The process was very smooth going but she felt quite bored as it projected her to like a mermaid. She felt that Zhu Xi had the traditional beauty and she helped to change others’ impression of her to be cold and selfish.

Zhu Xi does not reveal her feelings easily. If it were in the past, she would use shortcuts to cover her flaws. Now, she is more experienced and could reveal the feelings easily. Even crying must be subtle. Both of them did not go all out to get their love. They would choose to wait and would not pester their boyfriends if they ask for a breakup to let him go easily.

The drama was different from the manga. Zhu Xi and Min Yu are new characters. She had acted a character similar to Zhu Xi before so she was more interested to act as Zhu Xi. It had the most votes at 49% as the drama which was most realistic to the profession.

She liked Cheng Can who had drive towards work despite having many flaws. She liked Song Zhou better for his professionalism too. After the shooting ended, all main leads were told to present their skills. So Yun baked a cake and muffins for the crew. They praised her skills as she added their names to the food.

The movie version was considered a flop. All eyes were on the drama as So Yun and Oh Joong did not act in dramas for 5 years. They were also curious to see what kinds of sparks would be created by Sang Mi and Rae Won. Originally it was thought that MBC would be airing this drama but SBS finally won the rights to air this drama. At SBS 2008 drama awards, the female supporting role award went to Kim So Yun.

Conclusion

Here comes Ajumma’ was shown in the evenings while ‘Gourmet’ was shown at night over Singapore television on weekdays. Which drama stimulates my taste buds more? Needless to say, it is the latter as it shows how elaborate and creative dishes may be. The cooking in ‘Here comes Ajumma’ is more like steamboat or potluck as all kinds of ingredients are dumped together.

I am treated to elaborative dishes – only for the eye nightly and I keep reaching for food at the same time (although not for all as I don’t eat beef.) This drama has presented food at its best and the staff looks so smart in their uniforms. The three words ‘Yun Yan Ting’ are beautiful written in tradition fashion for the strokes. So are the name tabs for the staff. They are well trained for the kitchen and guest relation posts(waiters/waitresses).

The competitions are the highlight of the drama. You will be charmed by the preparation and the process. The beef handling scenes gruesome at times but depicts part and parcel of life. I feel that my blood level goes up and down before the judges give points to the dishes. The competitions are intense indeed with a close edge by the winner, showing how dedicated each chef tries to prove his worth.

I wonder why Koreans stress a lot of preserving food. How can they keep for so many years without an expiry date? Kimchi is one and sauce is the other. For Chinese culture, we have salted fish. But other than that, we keep other things fresh. There are similarities and also differences indeed.

I am sure that many will like it. However, the acting is not that desirable. Most either act half-heartedly or exaggerated. The others are fine but Sang Mi needs to have better control. She makes Zhen Xiu so detestable that I wish to shoo her away to treat her like a mosquito. But she keeps buzzing in front of the set as she is a lead. Other than that, this drama is enjoyable with the entertaining storyline and comical moments. This is a good break from the usual melodramatic serials that most offer.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : **** (Scale of 5)



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