From the makers of Jealousy Incarnate, this was one heck of a unique show much like its predecessor and I enjoyed every minute of its quirky characters and the delicious food. With a star-studded cast, the show managed to pull off a very over-the-top plot with great ease. Despite wanting to write a longer introduction, I believe I can’t explain any of it without relying on the characters who told the story.
Seo Poong (played by Lee Jun Ho) is a young chef at a hotel with expertise in Chinese cooking. An orphan coming from a very humble background, he is all set to marry the first love of his life, who happens to be the daughter of the man who did not just raise him but also taught him the art of making delicious food. While Poong is still in the throes of young romance, his fiancee has already moved on, despite the engagement. In love with the owner of the hotel her fiance works at, she cheats on him even before their marriage ceremony has taken place. In just a month, Poong’s world turns upside down when he finds out about his wife’s extra marital affair. Upon seeking revenge, he is conveniently removed from the hotel kitchen by the hotel owner and he is left with nothing but his wok and ladle. His journey from an already disadvantageous place to an even worse one, and then eventual success is what defines a major part of the entire show.
Poong is not alone in his struggles. He is joined by an odd compatriot in Doo Chil Sung (played by Jang Hyuk), who owns a failing Chinese restaurant across the big hotel Poong works at. Originally a loan shark, with more knowledge of using his fists than cooking food, Chil Sung and his gang are in a hopeless condition. Their restaurant is failing because of the tough competition across the street and Chil Sung is about to send his boys out to fend for themselves since he can’t provide for them. A man full of humanity, he takes Poong under his small umbrella of young boys, by allowing him to lead the restaurant in hopes that it can hit off and be able to provide a means for his other boys to make a living from something better than terrorizing financially weak people.
The last member of the trio is Dan Sae Woo (played by Jung Ryeo Won), who comes from a chaebol household. With her marriage already registered, certain events lead to her father being sent to prison when her wedding ceremony is about to take place on charges of money laundering. Her wedding is not just postponed, but her husband walks out on her because associating with her would mean a social disgrace given her household conditions. With her family faced by bankruptcy, Sae Woo is pretty much left fending for herself, which is when she ends up at Chil Sung’s restaurant demanding that she gets a bowl of jajangmyeon. When she tastes Poong’s cooking, she falls in love with the taste, and gradually the man himself. She is his first customer ever since his life has become a mess and also ends up as his assistant since she needs money to support herself. She is gradually joined by all of her housemates at this restaurant, as they become one large family and form new connections with the rest of the staff.
This show was just a mouthful of sheer bliss with a crazy plot magnifying everything that made it stand out among the plethora of relatively cliche dramas that were airing with it. My inability to write more about the content is drama is simply because it was written some incredibly broad streaks that are impossible to pen down so easily. However, I had definitely looked forward to both Jun Ho and Jang Hyuk interacting in this drama and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The way Jun Ho is evolving as an actor is worth commending. I thought I fell for him in Chief Kim, but the love keeps going deeper and deeper because he just continues to surprise me in every single new role. Seeing Jang Hyuk take on a the role of such a softy gangster was one that hit me right in the gut more than once. Lastly, the romance was OFF THE CHARTS! If only all of us could have so much romantic fun in the kitchen for real. Thank you for so many delicious sides, Jun Ho. I’m a fan. 😉