Pasta: Episode 4
I think this is going to be my last Pasta recap. I’m enjoying this series for the chemistry between Lee Seon-kyun and Gong Hyo-jin and I still think that there are solid elements to this drama, but given the landscape at the moment, it’s just not commanding my attention. I’ll explain more below.
SONG OF THE DAY
Pasta OST – “Lucky Day” by Every Single Day. I’ve been a fan of rock band Every Single Day for a while, and it’s good to see them come out with something new. [ Download ]
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Yoo-kyung is so stunned to be named the winner of the blind audition that she asks Hyun-wook — who’s stunned as well to see who he has picked — to repeat himself. She prods him to reiterate, “Tomorrow, you will…?” Everyone waits with bated breath for his reluctant response: “…work the frying pan.”
Team Korea revels at this development because they know how angry Hyun-wook must be. Everyone goes around tasting Yoo-kyung’s winning dish, and they agree that it’s deserving. Despite the lines that have been drawn between the two kitchen sides, Team Italy is friendly and welcoming; the leader tells Yoo-kyung that it was good enough to go out to a customer.
Team Italy discusses this surprising turn — this is a first time for Hyun-wook. Even in Italy when he’d done blind tastings, he’d never picked a woman. The three guys were also picked this way.
The most junior cook on Team Italy, Eun-soo, wonders who will be the new assistant now that Yoo-kyung has been promoted. He realizes belatedly that this means he’s been demoted. (I don’t feel too bad for him since he was promoted hastily anyway, and he hasn’t been a proper assistant to earn the place of cook in the first place.)
Hyun-wook is frustrated with this development, but there’s really nothing he can do about it. The mood when they meet in the locker room is, unsurprisingly, tense. As he changes his clothes, it’s like he’s challenging her to leave, especially when he deliberately reaches to unbutton his pants and tells Yoo-kyung, “If you’re uncomfortable, leave.”
(And the silly girl actually leaves!)
Still, Hyun-wook is the head chef and he has an eager new cook, so he takes her aside to teach her a few tips. She’s a little slow and unsteady, so he demonstrates how to cook a dish and plate it, then warns her about the lunch rush. Her wrist and arm muscles get a workout from holding the heavy pans, which she’ll have to repeat dozens of times during meal hours.
Yoo-kyung knows that Hyun-wook must be angry to be stuck with her, “But I won’t make you regret it. Please teach me, chef.”
The next staff meeting shakes things up further, because Hyun-wook is making three major changes to their menu. First, no more foie gras. Apparently this drama forgets that foie gras is French and therefore would not reasonably be the best-seller at an Italian restaurant, but let’s go with it. Second, no more spoons. The reason being, they are drowning their pasta in sauce, when really it should just coat the noodles. Third and most importantly, no more pickles.
Each of these decisions is shocking for the staff, but the pickle decree practically gives everyone a fit. No pickles at an Italian restaurant would be like no kimchi at a Korean restaurant! (Supposedly.) Without the free side dish set at every table, patrons wouldn’t have that tang to cut through the rich pasta taste. Hyun-wook argues that pickles are loaded in sugar and affects the way people taste the pasta. Their taste buds will adjust in due time.
President Seol is facing flagging sales and puts his foot down on Hyun-wook’s changes, but Hyun-wook proceeds anyway.
This divides the kitchen further. As the leader of Team Korea, Seok-ho stands up to Hyun-wook to say that he’ll take responsibility and keep sending out those foods. Hyun-wook argues that the chef’s word is law. Yoo-kyung is torn, because while she just won her job after such difficulty, she believes that these changes are wrong. Furthermore, in the three years she was assistant, she was responsible for making the pickles, which were the only food that she made that actually got served. Ultimately she joins her colleagues on Team Korea.
The first day the changes are implemented, the dining hall is loud and clear in their complaints. Skimping on the sauce and withholding pickles? Who do they think they are to lecture the diners on the sugary properties of their side dishes? And if it’s so bad for them today, why was it perfectly fine to serve yesterday?
During the restaurant’s idle time, Yoo-kyung looks up through the glass ceiling to see Hyun-wook brooding by himself on the roof. She joins him, and he asks whether she thinks he’s doing this just to pick a fight. It’s like the staff assumes he’s just being difficult, but he does have a reason for his choices. Yoo-kyung stands around uncertainly, not quite sure what to say. She asks what his dream for his kitchen is, and explains that if he hadn’t helped her with the goldfish, she wouldn’t have had the courage to return.
Hyun-wook: “Is this consolation or flattery?”
Yoo-kyung: “Would flattery work?”
Yoo-kyung: “Would consolation work?”
Yoo-kyung: “What would work, then?”
But at least he smiles when he says it.
It’s a different story, however, when a filming crew descends upon the kitchen of La Sfera. It’s bad enough that the kitchen staff wasn’t notified (arrangements had been made through President Seol), but absolutely infuriating when it turns out to be Se-young’s crew. They promise to be out before dinner service, but that’s hardly a satisfactory answer.
Hyun-wook glares at Se-young, who looks at him with infuriating calmness. It’s like she’s provoking him on purpose by offering to let him taste her pasta, but he won’t bite (literally or figuratively). He storms out of the kitchen.
Hyun-wook goes for an aggressive drive, and now that he’s alone, he can’t contain his rage. Se-young calls him, telling him she’s glad that he’s angry with her. She’s prepared to take his fury — she was most afraid of the opposite, that he would have forgotten her.
When he returns, the film crew is gone, and Se-young has left a plate of pasta for him to taste. Instead, he drops it on the ground: “It’s poisoned. If you eat it, you’ll die.”
Although San has taken efforts not to link himself to the restaurant, now it becomes clear that his family in fact owns it. He knows his sister Kang’s taste in men, and hints that she ought to drop by to check out the new cooks. And sure enough, the moment she sets her eyes on Phillip, she’s smitten.
The customer uproar over the pickles is reaching a deafening pitch, so President Seol makes an executive decision. Since Hyun-wook has thrown out all their pickles and refuses to send them out, he instructs the wait staff to serve them from the dining hall, without Hyun-wook knowing. He orders Yoo-kyung to continue making the pickles, and she protests. But he holds the cards here, because he knows about the egg money and blackmails with her. Yoo-kyung had previously found a deposit in her account from the egg supplier (a sort of bribe for their patronage) and returned it to Chef Totti before he was fired. President Seol says that there’s record that she received the money, but no record of it being returned.
What she doesn’t know is that Totti had in fact returned the money to President Seol — who had pocketed it himself. When Hyun-wook goes out to buy fresh ingredients, he meets the acquaintance of their egg vendor.
Yoo-kyung’s roommates have all packed up and moved out, since they are all unemployed now. Yoo-kyung can’t stay here either, but she has no place to go, so she calls home and urges her brother to move out so she can move in. (Their home doesn’t have room for both of them.) After all, he’s a medical student so he can live in the dorms, right?
Yoo-kyung’s father barks his denial. Her brother will stay put and she’ll have to figure something else out.
When a VIP customer comes in and orders foie gras, Hyun-wook goes out to apologize that they no longer serve it. The table grows upset, and Seok-ho hastens to contradict him, offering to prepare the dish. Hyun-wook says no. Seok-ho says yes. The stand-off continues.
However, now that he’s in the dining room, something else catches his attention — the pickles being served on all the tables. What the…? Realizing that his staff has circumvented his authority, he finds the batch of pickles and charges into the kitchen.
Knowing that Yoo-kyung must be behind it, he grabs her furiously. How dare she directly defy his orders? His anger is so strong that the others are alarmed, and Yoo-kyung falls to her knees pleading for his mercy.
He talks to her one on one in his office, calmer now, asking for the full story. Why did she make the pickles? Yoo-kyung won’t tell him her reasons, so he asks if she will continue to make them. Morosely, she answers yes. Rather than growing angrier, he has to wonder at her contrary responses.
That evening, she sits in front of a tub of cucumbers, debating whether or not to proceed with the pickling. In a comic sequence, Team Italy tries to get inside to stop her, clawing at the door, held back by Team Korea,.
Yoo-kyung is in the backroom for a long while, and when she emerges, both Teams are collapsed on the floor, exhausted from fighting each other. They assume she has proceeded with the pickling, but instead, she presents them with a new idea. She has put together a fruit salad mix that will solve the problem of excessive sugar, since the fruit is naturally sweet. She’s barely into the explanation when an indignant President Seol bursts in — does she know how much money she has just thrown away? Fruit is incredibly expensive compared to pickles — and now she’s suggesting they give it away for free too?
The scene is disrupted by Hyun-wook, who comes in and, surprisingly, goes directly to Yoo-kyung, pulling her in close. Everyone is shocked at his gesture, but as he leans in, he asks, “The eggs — that was you, right?”
I honestly get a ton of enjoyment out of writing recaps (wouldn’t do it otherwise!) but nothing kills that joy faster than passive-aggressive complaints about how I’m so slow. It’s not like I’m sitting here stewing over the comments — I get it, enthusiasm makes people impatient — but it does get kind of exasperating.
That said, like I mentioned, I’ve decided to stop recapping Pasta, although the decision has nothing to do with the complaints or with the show being unsatisfactory. Recapping is fun when there’s something to discuss, something to dissect and analyze or pick apart or squee over. These factors are much more motivating than whether the show is generally entertaining — because even if it’s fun to watch, if I have nothing to say about it, I sorta feel like recapping is an empty activity.
That’s how I feel about Pasta. These recaps are really short compared to my usual length, and while I’m often fighting to cut down and edit recaps to be a readable length, I really don’t have that problem here. Furthermore, although I really like Lee Seon-kyun and Gong Hyo-jin, everything else sorta feels like filler. I don’t think I can make it through an entire drama solely based on the lead couple’s chemistry (which is also why I couldn’t make it through Partner).
Phew, at least there’s one weight off my mind!