Rating:
Average user rating 3.8
107

Pasta: Episode 1

Ratings update, regarding the new dramas’ second episodes: The numbers shifted slightly, but as you can see, the race remains tight. Pasta now stands at 15.1%. God of Study moved upward with 15.9%, and Jejoongwon fell slightly to 14.6%. An hour before, Wish Upon a Star rose slightly to 11.3%.

Usually in a three-way race, one of the three will drop far behind, clearing the way for a two-way battle. However, this is an unusual circumstance where there’s no clear winner or loser, quality-wise. All these dramas have their appeal, which means Mondays and Tuesdays should be interesting for a while…

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I’ve already given my first impressions on Pasta in a previous post, so I’ll keep this to the point.

EPISODE 1 RECAP

There’s a food-filled intro that lingers a bit too long (food porn is fun, but only when it serves a point), which introduces us to our main character, SEO YOO-KYUNG (Gong Hyo-jin). She’s the lowest-ranking member of the kitchen staff at top Italian restaurant La Sfera. Yoo-kyung fulfills the role of general assistant, dishwasher, and errand girl, but today is her last day as such because she has been promoted. After three years, the Italian head chef, Totti, has made her assistant to the pasta chef.

Yoo-kyung has a stern father and younger brother (her mother is deceased), and lives in a nice apartment shared with three of her restaurant sunbaes.

Yoo-kyung makes a morning trip to the marketplace to buy some supplies for the restaurant and to renew an order with the egg guy (who’s a little shifty with the eggs, swapping out the larger ones with smaller ones). Picking up a free goldfish from the cashier, she heads outside to the crosswalk, where a man hurrying past bumps into her and sends her crashing to the ground. The plastic bag containing the goldfish bursts open, and Yoo-kyung tries to figure out what to do with the flopping fish before the light changes to red.

One of the people crossing the street is CHOI HYUN-WOOK (Lee Seon-kyun), and he stops to help. He instructs her to gather her hands together, the pours water from his water bottle into them, placing the fish there.

Safe at the other side of the intersection, they start to exchange goodbyes. She thanks him for his help as though to end the encounter, but he points out the problem of her two plastic bags. With her hands literally full, she can’t carry her bags, which means they are left with only one option: he must accompany her to her destination.

The moment’s a little awkward, but also a little flirty. Yoo-kyung’s first suspicion of the smooth-talking stranger is, “He’s a player,” but he’s very polite and keeps the conversation focused on the problem at hand. She revises her opinion, wondering, “Then is he a gentleman?”

They walk together, with Hyun-wook periodically refreshing the water in her hands. Along the way, he entertains her with fun facts about goldfish, who only have a memory span of two seconds.

Arriving at the back entrance of the restaurant, they again linger before parting ways — they’re attracted, but it’s that weird stage when they haven’t decided to do anything about it. He turns to go, but then she realizes she can’t open the door and asks him to unlock it for her. Her keys aren’t in her backpack, so she asks for him to fish in her jacket pockets. A bit awkwardly, he feels around, and she directs him to her inner pockets.

He jokes, “Are you deliberately saying you don’t remember where you put them to make me grope around?” Finally he produces the key — but rather than immediately opening the door, he takes his time thinking something over.

What’s so enjoyable about their chemistry is that they’re interested in each other (and he more than she), so the pause, along with his thoughtful smirk, is pretty sexy. He asks, “Are you free tonight?” At her startled reaction, he laughs, “Why are you hesitating? You’re supposed to reject the first time.”

When Yoo-kyung offers that she’s free after eleven, he replies without missing a beat, “A man and woman meeting for a first date at that time can have only one thing to do. Sleeping together. That can’t be what you mean, but if so I’m grateful for the thought.” Hyun-wook is so glib that Yoo-kyung is a little uncertain of how to respond, though she’s also amused.

Yoo-kyung: “It’s because that’s when I get off work.”
Hyun-wook: “You must find me acceptable, since you don’t reject me when I ask you out and agree to meet at midnight.”
Yoo-kyung: “I was just thinking of buying you a beer to thank you.”
Hyun-wook: “You could have put down the fish for a second and found the keys yourself, without having me feel around for them.”
Yoo-kyung: “Hey…”
Hyun-wook: “Fine, let’s meet at 11 pm in the same place, that street. Not tonight, not tomorrow, but the day after. I’m pretending that I’ve been rejected for tonight and tomorrow, to preserve your pride. Okay?”

With that, he turns to go, but asks for directions — does she know where La Sfera is? He’s due to start working there. That comment makes her realize that Hyun-wook must be the new guy — the assistant who’s starting tomorrow to take over her old job. Immediately, she drops the formal speech and shows him around the kitchen saying things like, “Hey kid.”

Her mistake is understandable, since nobody knows that their chef has just been fired — Manager Sol is dissatisfied with his food, which has become ordinary and unexciting. Hyun-wook is not the errand boy, but he lets her boss him around and takes it in with a smile.

He leaves her with a puzzling comment, that her fish are unfortunately bound to die soon — they don’t suit the kitchen, because they’re female.

That evening, Yoo-kyung has to deal with a return customer whom she finds exasperating; he asks for her personal recommendations and treats her with an overly familiar air that bothers her. This is KIM SAN (Clazziquai’s Alex), who is an ardent foodie and frequent La Sfera patron.

Feeling uncomfortable with his behavior, she takes him aside after dinner to ask him not to return. He doesn’t seem inclined to oblige her.

The next day, the staff is shocked to hear that their chef has been let go, and that they will be welcoming a new one. Hyun-wook saunters in, and Yoo-kyung realizes that Hyun-wook is the new chef, and that the new assistant is the young guy standing behind him.

Hyun-wook goes down the line to greet his staff, and makes quite an impression on the cooks. The women find him handsome and charming (as does one of the men). Dying of embarrassment, Yoo-kyung introduces herself as the pasta assistant.

As the staff readies for dinner service, Hyun-woo says genially that they may all proceed as normal. He stands back and watches calmly as they go about their work. He and Yoo-kyung don’t betray that they’ve already met; they act professionally, although there’s definitely a spark between them.

It’s only at the end of the night that we get a hint of what’s to come. Hyun-wook tells the manager calmly that the kitchen was a mess: “It’s not my kitchen yet. My kitchen hasn’t even begun.”

Another surprise greets Yoo-kyung in the morning on her way out of her apartment for work: Hyun-wook is in the elevator, too. He must also live in this building.

His posture remains cool and nonchalant while she says, still embarrassed, that she’s sorry for how she treated him before, assuming he was the new assistant. He seems disinterested, but his words contrast with his pose: “Don’t forget our date tonight. 11 pm.” He strolls away without a backward glance.

Day 2 is a completely different scenario from Day 1, and the staff is in for a very rude awakening. Now that Hyun-wook has seen how the kitchen works, he’s done watching and now ready to assert his high standards. And unfortunately for the staff, their work is oh-so-subpar. The salad is a mountain of fluff, the pasta drips with oil, and so on. Instead of stating his complaints calmly, Hyun-wook shocks everyone by throwing one offending dish to the floor. He runs his hand through a pasta dish, and shoves a plate into another cook’s chest. Stunned into silence, the cooks are jolted out of their friendly camaraderie and rush to do Hyun-wook’s bidding.

To make things worse, a super-picky patron sits in the dining room and sniffs at her lobster plate. It’s tough, and she sends it back to the kitchen. The second time, she sneers that the lobsters are obviously frozen when the menu says they’re fresh. She sends the plate back again.

Two other diners nearby watch this with interest — it’s San and his date, OH SE-YOUNG (Honey Lee), who is a food television personality (think Rachael Ray or Nigella Lawson). She recognizes the woman as a food critic.

When the lobster dish comes back a third time, the cook, Hee-joo, can’t take it anymore. Fuming, she grabs two fresh lobsters and slaps them on the table. How dare they accuse her of using inferior product and be so rude as to complain three times?

This, of course, gets her fired.

Meanwhile, a pair of cooks takes some time to make out in the backroom — and they’re caught in the act by Hyun-wook himself. Also fired.

The two beg him for mercy, but he coldly ignores their pleas. As he tries to pass Yoo-kyung, she’s nervous and unintentionally blocks his path, so he has to physically move her aside. The problem is, she’s carrying a large bowl of ice, and as stumbles, the ice flies — into the deep fryer.

Seeing impending disaster, the cooks all scatter. Hyun-wook grabs Yoo-kyung and shields her from the rain of hot oil.

The lineup after dinner service is subdued as Hyun-wook addresses his offenders in turn. Hee-joo still burns in indignation about the lobster diner, but he scolds her — she put the fresh lobster into a styrofoam box. That means that even though she put it in the refrigerator, it wouldn’t refrigerate, making the flesh tough. On top of that, she berated the customer.

Second is the cook Mi-hee, who was making out with her boyfriend. He charges her with running her hands — with which she must then cook — all over her boyfriend’s body, in his hair, on his chest, et cetera. Kissing belongs outside of the kitchen.

At this, a third woman, Chan-hee (Mi-hee’s sister) speaks up, unable to take his officious behavior. She rips her apron off angrily and refuses to work with such a horrible tyrant. Hyun-wook has no problem with that.

Last, he faces Yoo-kyung. In a kitchen full of knives, fire, and oil, the most dangerous is oil: “For doing something crazy with ice in the kitchen, of course you are also fired.”

Mi-hee makes one last bid for mercy for her boyfriend, saying that without her around, he won’t have any chances to repeat his offense. Hyun-wook listens to her tearful plea, then answers carelessly, “Okay.” He dismisses his staff: “You’ve been hard at work causing accidents today.” As he walks off, he mutters under his breath, “Now there are no women in my kitchen.”

That last comment lingers in Yoo-kyung’s mind, and she thinks back to Hyun-wook’s cryptic line about the fish not suiting the kitchen. She realizes, “He planned it all from the start.”

Therefore, that night when she heads out to the street to meet him for their “date,” she confronts him with her realization. He was going to fire the women no matter what, wasn’t he?

Hyun-wook doesn’t answer that, and just asks, “You haven’t dated a man before, have you?” Leaning closer, he proposes, “Let’s date.”

 
COMMENTS

Out of the four new dramas, Pasta seems the most engaging to me at the moment, and the one I’m most eager to follow. The atmosphere is breezy, and the story is cute without being cloying. We haven’t seen much of the second leads, but the main couple is fantastically paired. (I also have a hunch that we may expect good things of Lee Hyung-chul, of On Air and City Hall, who’s the kitchen’s No. 2.)

Lee Seon-kyun is drawing a lot of praise in the media and by fans for his wonderfully entertaining character. I like that he has shades of some of our favorite kdrama archetypes, but he’s not a mere repeat of them, like another Kang-mae (Beethoven Virus) or Gu Jun-pyo (Boys Before Flowers). His misogyny is an interesting addition, because while I have certainly seen and experienced my share of misogyny in Korean (and Korean American) culture, you don’t often see it played up like this as a plot point. Furthermore, as I mentioned in the prior post, he is very entertaining to watch because he goes from hot to cold in an instant. It’s that volatility that keeps the kitchen in a state of fear, and makes him unpredictable. He can keep a polite smile on his face while uttering contrastingly harsh words (like when he announces the kitchen is a mess with a pleasant tone), which is the opposite of what Kang-mae or Hwang Tae-kyung (You’re Beautiful) would do — they were mean with a sneer. I think some of his shouting gets to be a bit much, so I do want to see him dial it down a notch in future episodes, but I’m pretty sure he will because plot development demands it.

Gong Hyo-jin has a natural, appealing vibe to her acting, and while Yoo-kyung can do some klutzy things, I appreciate that she’s not the caricature of the bumbling kdrama heroine, either. (That role falls to Choi Jung-won in Wish Upon a Star.) She’s a genuine, likable heroine whose cuteness comes from the fact that she doesn’t seem to know she’s cute. I suspect that’s why Hyun-wook likes her, and I really enjoy that he feels the attraction first.

Can’t wait to see what Episode 2 brings.

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Tempting, tempting....oh so very tempting.... XD

I can see I'm going to have to break down and watch this once the subs come out. Thanks for the recap, JB!!

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Nice way to start 2010 with a bowl of Spaghetti a la Bolognese, "Pasta" my #1 Drama of 2010, since I like to cook the "food porn" bits are my favorite scenes of the show, JB thanks again for a job well done.... : O )

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hahahah just watched episode 1 cant wait for 2... thanks for the recap..

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Yay! thanks for the recap DB. I'm finding the drama super cute so far.
I was websearching and discovered that Mr. Seon-Kyun and Honey Lee share the same birthday. Both were born on March 3, Honey Lee in 83' and Mr. Voice in 75'. I thought it was a fun and interesting tidbit. =D

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lol, thanks guys. Not sure what insights I can offer. I got the part because the director couldn't find any other bald, fat white guys who could pass for an Italian, lol. I met him to read the script in November and thereafter just waited for the phone call telling me when and where to be. Other than that I had next to nothing to do with the show.

I must say that on the days I was filming there seemed to be a great rapport among the actors. There was a lot of joking around which made the whole thing a lot of fun. I was quite impressed with Hyo Jin. Even though I was just a newb actor playing a bit part in one episode, and she was the busiest person on the set, everyday I was at the studio she always made a point to come over to my little corner in the dressing room, say "Anyeong haseyo" and chat for a few minutes with me and my Korean wife. She really didn't have to do that. Just a really nice person and a good actress IMHO.

I tried downloading the 700 MB version of the show from aja-aja.com but it seems to require a password. Am I missing something?

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This is definitely an interesting drama to watch! Lee Seon-kyun looks so hot with his new hairstyle!

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I was so looking forward to this drama, well the problem with Viikii is so frustrating. Thanks Javabeans for the recap, You are an angel, now watching it Raw makes sense. Oh i love the cast, they are so adorable together.

I hope somebody provide us an english sub in You Tube.

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Thanks for blogging! This drama looks promising!

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Wow.. an actor from a kdrama being here, that is absolutely marvelous!! Great job Totti on your part! ^_^

I just finished the second episode. I don't think I'm averse to Alex anymore. I think my dislike of him stemmed from his past work and not this. Also, I think I'm going to go cook some pasta now!! Man, I'm hungry after watching that episode!

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@1 i agree, this is pretty interesting.

i hope javabeans does god of study recaps too!

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it just means that none of those dramas really have the "IT" factor that can make it stand out from the rest of the competition. I can watch Pasta, but I can also easily switch the channel to watch the other two dramas.
It's kinda boring to be honest. I need some groundbreaking dramas, which Korea has not offered for a long time.

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@ Totti

For the password to download the episode, click on the How To / Help Section at the top of the page. Scroll down to LOOKING FOR A PASSWORD TO DOWNLOAD LINKS OR UNLOCK THE OST FILE? in neon green. The password will be the 11-character one. :)

That's nice to hear about Gong Hyo Jin. She certainly is a good actress...and apparently a great person, too.

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LSK's very short hair makes him look uber hot.

I met him before when he came to Manila to film a movie (and I have a picture to prove it! ;) hahaha). Too bad he didn't know that much English so I wasn't able to talk to him. He was really really nice though. Aggh... I just love LSK.

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That is a pretty good summary . I really like Hyo Jin's acting -so natural and looks effortless just like what she did in Thank you .. I also enjoy the acting of the of Seon-Kyun so believable . His voice is unique ,too Can't wait till Pasta is available online then I will make my own assessment -although I already can tell it will be a pleasant viewing .

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and I've downloaded the HAN's version TT__TT my internet connection is bad, so re-dl 700+MB is tiring. ARGH.

BTW, reading the recap, makes me happy. At least it's a good start for a drama that I was anticipating.
I've seen a glimpse of ep 1, and so far I like it! Will re-watch it after the sub is available.

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Wow, the Pasta OST Listen To You MAMA MI A !!

The singer in Kyu hyun and

the three new "rookie" chefs , one of them is pretty boy !!.

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Want to date the girl by just meeting her for the first time,

most probably rebound love from previous love gone sour.

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I've been looking forward to your recap for what seems like ages. Thank You. Already watched it without subs but now I will know what actually happened :D

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Idk why, but I got the same feeling while scrolling through this, like I had with Que Sera,Sera <3 .. so def. gonna give this drama a try! Thanks for the recap.. have to read it later ^^;

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YES! I was hoping you'd recap this. I love the two leads, and I had a feeling their chemistry was going to be good. And after reading your recap, hah, I'm right! :)

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I was anticipating this drama because Alex is in it, but the main couple looks great and I love Seon-kyun. Their first meeting was cute and the goldfish thing was very original.

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Javabeans my savior! I watched episodes 1 * 2 raw last night and since my Korean shaky, you cleared up a few areas for me. I could guess alot of it but your write ups ROCK! I love this drama so far too! I agree Lee Seo Kyun yells alot but that does exist in a kitchen. I recall my dad would be swearing up a storm in Chinese and my mom would say to clients-oh he is singing "Chinese Opera."

I love Lee seo kyun's voice too. I can see why he is called "the voice" too. Yes, Gong Hye Jin's appeal is that she doesn't know she is cute. I agree I love that Hyun Wook is interested in Yoo Kyung but he totally separates work and personal.

I love Alex so it was interesting to see him "act". Gosh this drama has food porn, Alex, Lee Seo Kyun-I am in heaven!

I am looking forward to your write up of ep 2 and for the new episodes!!!!

Komapsumnida!!

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Oh thnx javabeans for the nice recap....i think like you said i may find this engaging too...i like both these actors he from Coffee Prince, White tower & she from Thank You & Let's Go to School....etc.
Is this showing now on line i wondered?
I think i'd love to see Alex too....wow there's so many good new ones and so little time!

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Hurrah, JB chose to re-cap Pasta! My fingers can finally be un-crossed.

Thanks for a great re-cap and here's to more - something to look forward to on Monday nights/Tuesday mornings!

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Well well well Alex and Lee Sun Kyun .. I think that 2 factors are enough for me to wait for this drama ...
Go PASTA ...
Thanks for the recap

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Reading the recaps alone, I think I'm going to be hooked! Thanks so much for this. JB. :-)

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Question: Why did she return the wad of money to the old chef?

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@ Toya

Yoo Kyung didn't know that Totti had been fired, and she was also unaware of the "deal" until she saw the deposit amount (not sure if there actually was an agreed-upon deal between the chef & supplier, or if the supplier was just trying to worm his way in). So, she gave the money to the chef to return to the supplier and said said that it had nothing to do with her & she's going to act like it never happened.

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Javabean, I don't know why you prefer Pasta to Wish upon a star. I watched both and personally think that WUAS is fresher, and more addictive than Pasta, the pace is faster as well. And the story of taking care five siblings is somehow unique. I am curious about what will happen in the next episode, thing I couldn't feel when I watched Pasta.

Uhm, I am not an expert in Korean drama like you so I don' dare to recommend others to watch WUAS. ^__^V

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Sounds like an awesome drama, I will watch this one fo' schizz! ;)

My heart's all set on Wish upon a Star though, two reasons: Shin Dong Wook and Ji Hoon. Besides, orphan stories get me, everytime. Sniff!

@80 memey - thanks! I'm glad you added that, can't wait to watch it myself! ^^

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thanks for the recap. i'm glad you chose Pasta. i will try my best to wait for subs.

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Hyun Wook is very Gordon Ramsey. He's crazy blunt, but he's right. That one pasta was swimming in oil. It makes you wonder how the restaurant is considered competent, and a step further fancypants, at all. But I'm loving every minute.

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Thanks hjkomo. Finally got it to work.

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omg so i watch the both ep of this drama yesterday even though there were no subs i was just happy watching them without since iam just a drama fanatic and my poor korean helped a lot anyways i loved the main couple also alex was fun to watch anyways thanks for the recap...

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Thnks for the recap!! ughhhh. So wanna watch it w/ subs, but i know its difficult right now! :] i think as long as i have the recaps i can wait. lol Thnk YOU!!!

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Maybe i'll watch this drama...
thanx ur Recap!!

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Thanks so much for the recap!
I'm definitely watching this one! Not only is the cast amazing, the story is interesting too!

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@ hjkomo

Thanks, that was the only part of the raw that confused me.

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I'm Dying to wait another week..... :( :( :(

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I'm dying to wait another month.. :(

To wait the video at Viikii......

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Love dramas centred on food! but honestly hope that this will not turn out to be like Bambino, about Matsumoto Jun who's an inspiring pasta chef. That drama had me bored to tears

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I'm happy wif ep 1, moving 2 ep 2...cant wait even longer..im totally into it already...
I hope this show will be more interesting in the later eps...

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Hmm sounds like a fun drama to catch! I kinda love how you've described their chemistry in this episode - will go off now to catch it now ;-)

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I can't wait for the next episode.. Wee!!! Hoping for the drama to remain consistent in terms of the fun that it's offered in the 1st episode.. I really, really love you Javabeans!!! Your recaps of the nicest dramas there is, fill me with so much joy and pleasure as I try to escape from my boring life.. Keke.. Really hoping for GREAT new dramas this year.. :)

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AHHHH i want an alex shirtless

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great recap!! hope you do it for ep.2 cuz I watched it without subs and it is very confusing :P

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Just watched the ep and I have to agree, the leads first meetup is one of the cutest I've ever seen. I also love their chemistry and Hyun-wook's hot/cold behaviour. And speaking of Hyun-wook, isn't he like a less mean version of Gordon Ramsey, whom btw I love?

I really like all the leads, main and secondary and I can't wait to see more of Lee Hyung-chul. He must play a bigger part in the drama. He did get his fair share of fans and popularity after City Hall so casting him in the role of the sous chef HAS to mean something.

And now for a random fact that had me ROTFLing: the cook that gets fire first, Francesco Totti (his first name was printed on the plane ticket's)? Guys, that's the name of a very popular Italian football player who also happens to be known internationally. The thing is, while the name "Francesco" is very common, the surname "Totti" is pretty uncommon here. I couldn't stop laughing. That football player is so famous he even gets to film commercials and they're pretty funny. I keep picturing...ok, nevermind. Off topic.

@Totti. Waaaaayyyy to give away spoilers. 0.o A little warning next time please?

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You know I like my romance...this one looks watchable and Mr. Lee is doing a fantastic job. I definitely wanna see more of Alex and Honey too.

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@hjkomo thanks :D

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@Sere, sorry, my bad, lol. I found the name a little silly as well, since the soccer player you are talking about is pretty well known internationally. You'd have thought that they could have come up with something slightly more original.

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