Pasta: Episode 9
Pasta OST – “운명” (Fate) [ Download ]
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Yoo-kyung and Hyun-wook bandy about metaphors of fish, cutting boards, and love. Exasperated with Hyun-wook’s mixed signals, Yoo-kyung storms off. Even though he told her to give up, he doesn’t seem particularly pleased to see her stalk off alone.
As she waits at the bus stop, Yoo-kyung takes out a lollipop and is once again content. Hyun-wook’s annoyance dissipates as he watches her from across the street. He’s like the proverbial little boy who throws rocks at the little girl he likes and then tries and make up for it by giving her his pet worm. Hyun-wook plonks down beside Yoo-kyung and in calmer tones tries to reason with her.
He asks if she understands all the reasons why he can’t like her. When she shakes her head, he sighs and tells her to think about it. He tells her a bit wistfully that if she wasn’t working in his kitchen, he wouldn’t be thinking about those things either. As the bus arrives, Yoo-kyung obstinately tells him that she’s going to keep thinking of all the reasons to keep liking him, but he can go right ahead and keep thinking about all of the reasons she shouldn’t. She gets on the bus, leaving Hyun-wook behind with his conflicted self.
The next morning, Yoo-kyung is at her father’s restaurant. He notices her downcast expression and asks if something is wrong. She wonders whether her father doesn’t like women in his kitchen either. His fatherly instincts aroused, he demands to know if she’s having a hard time at work. Of course, Hyun-wook decides to call at that moment. The caller ID on Yoo-kyung’s cell phone reads, “Asshole Chef,” and her father asks if this is the schmuck that’s giving her a hard time. As he moves to pick it up, Yoo-kyung stops him. Back at La Sfera, Hyun-wook looks pensive as the call goes to voicemail.
Meanwhile, it’s Se-young’s first day as co-chef at the restaurant. She meets with San in his office. He quizzes her on what her motives for working at the restaurant are: cooking or love. Se-young responds that she wants to regain her pride (self-worth) and be acknowledged as a chef. San looks a bit surprised and notes that she’s already a well-respected chef. She says that it’s Hyun-wook’s acknowledgement she’s after.
Later, Hyun-wook and Se-young run into each other on the stairs.
Se-young: Don’t think of me as a woman, or as your ex-lover. Just see me as a chef. This time, I won’t play dirty. This time . . . I won’t sell myself short.
Hyun-wook: Fine. Let’s see how it goes.
San introduces Se-young to staff during the restaurant’s daily rundown. She introduces herself as the chef who will be responsible for the “Three Taste Pasta.” The other cooks murmur amongst themselves, curious as to how this is going to pan out – “there are two chefs? Chef . . . chef?”
Hyun-wook doesn’t make a fuss and moves to dismiss the staff, however, before he can, San has another announcement. He introduces the staff to the other “new” employee, Junior-Waiter Seol. La Sfera’s staff are more surprised at this turn of events than the whole two chefs thing. San assures them that Seol is at the bottom of the pecking order – he’s the hall makneh. The rest of the staff snicker gleefully, but Yoo-kyung looks rather flabbergasted.
Separately, the underlings of Team Korea/Whiner wonder what the addition of a new chef means for their professional prospects. Seok-ho stonily replies that it’s all the more reason for them to hone their skills and leave La Sfera.
Waiter Seol runs into Yoo-kyung in the corridor and tells her he’s sorry. Sternly, she tells him that words are meaningless. Sticking out her hand, she tells him to express his remorse with money (i.e., pay up or shut up). Seol opens his wallet and sheepishly hands over a 1,000 won note. Yoo-kyung scoffs that he’s really only 1/10,000th sorry. He replies that it’s symbolic. Grimacing, she walks off with the pitiful 1,000 won bill.
Making her way to San’s office, Yoo-kyung tells him that she’ll pay for the spoiled ingredients from the kitchen’s refrigerator. He asks if she has the money to pay for it. She retorts that even if she doesn’t have the money, she has her pride. Just because she’s poor doesn’t mean she’s not responsible.
We move to Hyun-wook’s office where the kitchen staff are assembled. He asked them for anonymous reviews of his antler fish foie gras. Based on the various assessments (e.g., pink bunnies and stars vs. “it sucked, you conceited jerk”), Hyun-wook is able to identify the authors. He dismisses both Team Italy and Team Korea, as Seok-ho and Yoo-kyung remain behind.
Unlike the rest of the kitchen staff, these two failed to follow the instructions and wrote their names on their reviews. Seok-ho notes that he identified himself because he finds anonymous reviews distasteful. He also makes a pretty decent assessment of the dish – because antler fish are seasonal, the availability of the dish would be inconsistent. Hyun-wook notes that Seok-ho’s review was worthy of that of a sous chef and suggests that they should work together to come up with a solution. Hyun-wook then dismisses Seok-ho. It’s down to Hyun-wook and Yoo-kyung. He says he can’t wait to hear her review.
Cut to a pretty awesome scene – Se-young runs smack into Team Italy. The pretty boys decide to play chicken and give her what I imagine are supposed to be ominous/threatening looks. She smiles sweetly and suggests that they step aside. Team Italy do a collective hair flip and Curly (aka Ji-hoon) replies that they’re not sure how to behave as they’ve never worked with a female chef before. Se-young’s smile fades and she icily tells them to deal with it and shoves past them.
Back in Hyun-wook’s office, Yoo-kyung is having a pretty awesome scene of her own as she gives him a taste of his own medicine with her unflattering review of his antler fish foie gras.
Yoo-kyung: It’s dishonest. When going in, it’s different, and when coming out, it’s different. It’s exactly like that (poop).
Hyun-wook: First thing in the morning, and you’re talking about crap in a restaurant. Good job. Is that it?
Hyun-wook: You’re saying because the cook is dishonest, the dish is dishonest?
Hyun-wook: Yes . . . ?
Yoo-kyung: Yes, chef.
Hyun-wook: What exactly does dishonesty taste like?
Yoo-kyung: Even though it’s delicious, it leaves a bad after taste. And, even if it tastes good, the first taste and the final taste is different. And –
Yoo-kyung: Even though it tastes good, a piece of hair comes out it.
While she continues to skewer him, Hyun-wook looks like he’s got a piece of hair in his mouth. Satisfied, Yoo-kyung takes her leave, while Hyun-wook smiles bemusedly to himself.
In the empty kitchen, Yoo-kyung is the first to arrive. Se-young walks in after her and the two women smile at one another. Se-young takes stock of La Sfera’s kitchen as she strolls over to Yoo-kyung. She comes to stand beside Yoo-kyung and nostalgically tells the junior cook that the length of the journey from makneh to chef rides solely on the strength of one’s skills (no pressure there, Yoo-kyung). Se-young tells Yoo-kyung that she hopes they will work well together. She then apologizes to Yoo-kyung in advance if she comes off as overly harsh as she has to set the tone on her first day.
The restaurant opens and Waiter Seol welcomes the customers. He has a difficult time adjusting to his new status and lies about his demotion to familiar patrons.
In the kitchen, Se-young joins Hyun-wook at the chef’s table, wearing a hat that is nearly as tall as she is. She’s opted to set the tone by wearing ridiculous headgear. The orders start to roll in and most of them are for her Three Taste Pasta. Take that Team Italy. She shoves the distressed pretty boys aside and gets to work.
In the hall, Seol is also having adjustment issues. In front of San, he pretends to be La Sfera’s president. San, who needs to grow a pair, remains silent in front of the customers, but calls Seol on it later.
Back in the kitchen, the cooks are busy preparing the dishes while Se-young and Hyun-wook are busy bickering. They play monkey in the middle with the pasta-line cooks and makneh, each insisting that his/her method for preparing the various dishes is the right one. Their incessant arguing delays all of the orders. For different reasons, their tempers flare the most over Yoo-kyung. Se-young tells Yoo-kyung to stay behind for lunch. Hyun-wook snaps at Se-young to lay off of the junior cook and Se-young tells him that she simply wants to give Yoo-kyung some pointers on the vongole and that he should mind his own business. Team Korea is delighted at this turn of events and look on smugly.
During La Sfera’s lunch break, Seol finds the hall an unfriendly place. Eating on their own, Team Italy (or Team Awesome Hair) worry about the state of the kitchen. Woo-deuk wonders why Hyun-wook is putting up with this nonsense. Normally, he would have quit and left already. Team Italy is worried that Hyun-wook still carries a torch for Se-young and that’s what accounts for his uncharacteristic behavior. Eun-soo wanders by and tells them that he agrees.
In the kitchen, Se-young and Hyun-wook give Yoo-kyung conflicting advice during each step of preparing the vongole. Yoo-kyung finally gives up and tells the two of them to work things out. After they’ve agreed on a method of preparation, she’ll take their collective advice. After Yoo-kyung exits, Se-young and Hyun-wook glare at each other.
Hyun-wook follows Yoo-kyung to the roof and demands to know if she’s having lunch. He tells her that she has one chef, and that’s him, so she should only listen to him. Pissy, and probably hungry, Yoo-kyung moves to leave when Hyun-wook stops her. She says that she’s jealous of the two of them (Se-young and Hyun-wook). Both of them sound like they know what they’re talking about, they’re well-matched, and it doesn’t matter what the person caught in the middle says or does. Yoo-kyung snips that it must be great for the two of them.
In what I wish was another drama altogether, the harpies meet up as the Park sisters excitedly dish the latest La Sfera gossip to Hee-joo. They tell Hee-joo that Se-young is now co-chef. Hee-joo suggests that they all make a trip over to the restaurant to watch the fireworks. Sigh.
After the restaurant closes for the night, Eun-soo throws out the last of night’s trash and spies Team Korea returning to the restaurant. It’s late, he’s tired, and he’s like whatever and leaves. At the same time, Team Italy is at a bar, drinking it up and whining about the situation at La Sfera. They agree to stick it to Se-young tomorrow.
At La Sfera, Team Korea begin the first of their secret nightly practice sessions. They plan to enter a cooking competition that requires them to prepare four courses in one hour with a surprise ingredient. They plan to practice with all of the ingredients that they can. Seok-ho tells his team that they can’t touch any of the ingredients at La Sfera, so as not to arouse suspicion. Pleased with the night’s results they do a collective “fighting!” and agree to do their best.
In the locker room (guess it’s sound proof), Yoo-kyung smiles at the assorted of cactus photographs in her locker. She writes a note to her anonymous friend and fastens it underneath a photo on the outside of her locker.
The next morning, Se-young and Yoo-kyung depart for work. Just as the elevator doors are about to close, Hyun-wook catches up to it. It’s like one of those moments when you’re so happy that you’ve barely made the train until you realize you’re sitting next to the guy with the super awful B.O. He peers awkwardly up at the two women. As they ride in the elevator, Se-young takes Yoo-kyung’s hand and says they should take her car to the restaurant together from now on. Jealously, Hyun-wook takes Yoo-kyung’s free hand and says that she should take his car. Yoo-kyung replies that she’s taking the bus.
Yoo-kyung says she’ll listen to Se-young today, and Hyun-wook tomorrow, and so on and so forth. He doesn’t like this idea at all and asks her whether she has any principles. What’s up with all of this flip-flopping?! Yoo-kyung says that she has an errand before work and runs off (in relief). Once again, Se-young and Hyun-wook are left awkwardly alone.
At La Sfera, San comes into the locker room and finds Yoo-kyung’s note. It reads, “Who are you? Thank you. Fighting!”
Yoo-kyung’s errand turns out to be going to the apartment’s management company to ask for her deposit. She wants to use it to pay for the spoiled ingredients. While San is having a come-to-Jesus talk with Seol, he receives a call from the management company. He smiles as he realizes that Yoo-kyung is asking for money from him (he owns the apartment building) to pay him.
Hyun-wook strolls into the locker room and finds the cactus on Yoo-kyung’s locker. Reading the note, he looks thoughtful. I think he’s got it pretty much figured out.
And so the rest of us can be absolutely sure of the cactus-photo-giver’s identity, flashback to three years ago. San is at his sister’s gallery in super dorky glasses (apparently, time makes everyone fashionable). Kang is showing colorful paintings of cacti. He is initially unimpressed until she shows him the flowering cacti. Apparently, they take years to bloom. The plant literally uses its last bit of strength to live on. As San intently studies the painting, Kang asks him the name of the new chef – Totti.
Back in the present, Yoo-kyung walks into his office and asks why he called her. San tells her to take an advance on her salary to pay for the spoiled ingredients. He also asks her to look after Se-young – they’re both women after all. As women and roommates, Yoo-kyung should be on Se-young’s side, and in turn, he will be on Yoo-kyung’s side. Yoo-kyung “tsks” at this and San looks hurt. He asks why she’s always tsk-ing at everything he says (when he pays her), but takes everything Hyun-wook says as gospel (when Hyun-wook treats her like a slave). Yoo-kyung replies that she can’t take San seriously – is he really telling her to take sides? As she turns to leave, San grabs her arm. Winning the award for obliviousness for the day, Yoo-kyung asks him what he wants. He tells her to pay attention to him, it doesn’t cost anything. She doesn’t follow. San says that they should be friends, seeing as how they’ve known each other for three years. Maybe the whole customer-cook dynamic will lead to something more . . .
As Yoo-kyung leaves San’s office, Hyun-wook walks by. He demands to know why she’s always in and out of San’s office, but only show’s up to Hyun-wook’s office when ordered. Yoo-kyung retorts that Hyun-wook only calls her into his office to criticize her. San never yells at her, even when she deserves it. Trailing her to the locker room, Hyun-wook asks her if she likes having a female chef at La Sfera. Yoo-kyung replies that she doesn’t really think of it on a profound level, but plans to straddle the fence in order to survive. He doesn’t like that answer.
Hyun-wook: Straddle the fence? Straddle the fence?! Do you even know what that means?
Yoo-kyung: I do know.
Hyun-wook: How do you do that?
Yoo-kyung: You have two bodies.
Hyun-wook: And your heart?
Yoo-kyung: You have two hearts too.
Hyun-wook: How many hearts to do you have? How many?
And then he flicks her on the forehead. Ouch.
Later that day, Ryu Seung-beom (Gong Hyo-jin’s real-life boyfriend) makes a cameo appearance as himself (or what I hope is a super annoying version of himself). He asks for something off menu – a dish he had in Italy that he enjoyed – truffle tagliatelle. He then generously orders bread and water for the rest of his entourage.
In the kitchen, Seol brings in Seung-beom’s order. Se-young tells Seol that they’re busy and they don’t have the time to fulfill off-menu orders. Hyun-wook overrules her. He says that he and Yoo-kyung will make the dish together. Se-young interjects and insists that she’s in charge of the pasta line. She and Hyun-wook argue about how to make the truffle dish. Preoccupied with their bickering, Eun-soo haphazardly puts the frying pans back on the rack. Se-young angrily yanks one off, and the pans go flying. Yoo-kyung shoves Hyun-wook out of the way and hot oil sloshes over her arm. His initial horror turns to fury and he demands that she go to the hospital.
San chases after her and takes her to the hospital. There, the doctor, who is a rather smarmy skeezoid, tells Yoo-kyung that she should rest up, get a vitamin drip, and spend the night there. After all, it’s on La Sfera’s tab.
Back at the restaurant, troublemaker Ryu Seung-beom is supremely satisfied with his truffle pasta. Guess that burn was worth it.
At the end of the night, Hyun-wook finishes taking inventory and notices the little cup of goldfish. The fish, which are miraculously alive in half an inch of water and no oxygenation, swim about as he refills the water. Se-young comes upon him and brings him her truffle pasta dish. He takes a bite and tells her that it’s good. She smiles and says that it’s nice to hear those words from him. He scoffs and says that he pities her for not knowing the (greater) feeling of satisfaction from a silent, empty plate that returns from a customer’s table. He tells her about a conversation he had with another cook (Yoo-kyung) about tailoring a dish to a customer’s wants. He says he’s tired, so he’s in the mood for something a bit sweeter. Can she disregard her recipe and make the dish sweeter? Se-young says that’s impossible because sugar dampens the truffle essence. Hyun-wook smiles bemusedly, and tells Se-young that he’s off to see the chef who will disregard her recipe and make the dish sweeter.
Seol sweeps the hall as Se-young leaves for the night. He asks her why she wanted to bring Hyun-wook back from Italy when their on such bad terms (uh-oh). She replies that she wanted a fair fight. Seol wonders whether she can fight alone. As if on cue, the harpies come by La Sfera to suck up to Se-young and Seol. It’s fitting that the five characters I like the least are all in cahoots.
Back at the hospital, Yoo-kyung is resting alone, having sent San away. Hyun-wook arrives, an IV in his own arm. He lies down on the bed besides her.
He tells her that she has to come to the hospital daily to treat her burn until it’s healed. He also notes that he saw scars from knives on her arm and asks what kind of a women walks around with marks like that. Does she think she’s some sort of a gangster? Yoo-kyung says that she’s proud of her battle scars – even if she ends up with fat arms like a gangster, as long as she cooks pasta well, she’ll be content. She remarks how annoying it is that he seems to think she’s incapable because she’s a woman.
In a playful mood (pretty potent vitamin drip), Hyun-wook asks her what she likes more: pasta or him.
Hyun-wook: Cactus or chef?
Hyun-wook: Cactus or pasta?
As she drifts off to sleep, Hyun-wook grabs her hand and they gaze meaningfully at one another.
For a fairly breezy drama, it’s interesting to see some of the heavier themes unfold. One of the most interesting is hard work v. talent. When I was ten, my piano teacher quit because she said I didn’t practice enough. As she left, she passed on an adage: 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. As a ten year-old I didn’t really appreciate her wisdom (and actually still don’t), but the current dynamic between Team Korea and Team Italy is reflective of that adage. Seemingly the less talented (and definitely the less attractive) underdogs, Team Korea busts their asses during this episode to hone their culinary skills. Team Italy, on the other hand, spends the episode whining, drinking, and appearing generally pretty lazy. It’s a similar difference between Se-young and Yoo-kyung. We can already tell that Yoo-kyung will succeed because she works hard. For the same reason, it’s inevitable that Se-young will fail because we know she cuts corners. 1% gets you in the door, it’s the 99% that guarantees success.
- Pasta: Episode 8
- Birth of the Rich premieres, Pasta rises to top spot
- Pasta: Episode 7
- Seo Woo makes surprise visit to Pasta set
- Pasta: Episode 6
- Pasta: Episode 5
- Hyun-woo’s pasta-themed photo shoot
- Pasta: Episode 4
- Pasta: Episode 3
- Pasta: Episode 2
- Pasta: Episode 1
- The new Monday-Tuesday lineup: First impressions