This is the climax of the series and it’s strangely placed. I didn’t really feel the tension and it was a bit predictable. But, as I find with this show, no matter how many criticisms I have of it, I still really enjoy it. That’s its strength. It makes me all smiley and that’s good. After watching so many dramas full of angst and death and more angst, it’s a welcome relief!
“Small Lie” – Kim Dong-hee (from the Pasta OST)
episode 19 recap
After Hyun-wook leaves Yoo-kyung on the bridge, she takes a bus to work and she’s still fuming.
Hyun-wook is obviously nervous as he enters La Sfera. He orders a “mind-numbing” espresso from a very bitter Seol and suggests that they call themselves even. But Seol refuses. There is no “even”. He lost. Heehee. Hyun-wook snarks, “At least you know.”
You walked into that one, Seol.
Before he enters the kitchen, Hyun-wook bolsters himself. He has to meet Team Korea with whom he just got onto good terms. Perhaps Yoo-kyung will be in there, too.
She’s not. Only a diligently working and suddenly respectful Team Korea is present. The sous and the Chef share a smile and then he gets to critiquing everyone in his very chep-like manner. It’s hilarious how Seung-jae is totally weirded out by Hyun-wook’s pat on the back.
He barks that they have to do everything again and they reply in a hearty chorus, “Yae chep!” They are all begrudgingly enjoying the new camaraderie.
Much to everyone’s confusion, Yoo-kyung storms in and heads to the freezer to cool off her temper. Hyun-wook follows her and asks her what she’s doing.
She’s trying to cool off after running across the bridge and rushing to work so as not to be late. Do other people date like this? He argues that she got out first and that he never would’ve left her if she hadn’t.
Then, in quite the amateur confession, she tells him that he should’ve known what she wanted. True to his sex, he reminds her that a man can never know what a woman wants. She retorts that if he paid attention to her half as much as he did to steak he’d know.
Sorry, hun. I don’t think that’s how it works.
She realizes how silly she sounds and he asks if her heart has melted yet even though she’s in a freezer.
“I’m with Chef. How is it supposed to freeze?”
Cue smiles and giggles.
In the locker room, Ho-nam sprays Bengay on his wrist. Seriously show? You’re introducing this now? This is why you’re an episodic show.
The chef collects his chefs in his office to tell them about the competition. Team Italy is shocked to hear that he’s the managing chef. Everyone is baffled when he says that it will be a group effort to prepare Team Korea. He’s going to pair them off with the person they like the least so that each Team Korea chef can learn from a more experienced and trained Team Italy chef.
Yoo-kyung is curious about what happens to her and Eun-soo. She is to be the teams back-up and Eun-soo is to stick to his La Sfera duties. No one is pleased with this arrangement.
The Waste-of-space trio has no customers. Boo-frickin’-hoo.
We get the pairings, which no one is too pleased with.
1) Ho-nam with Ji-hoon
2) Seung-jae with Philip
3) Sang-shik with Woo-duk
There will be some kind of beef for sure on the menu, Chef tells them. They are to make a course to fit the meat.
They all argue over their courses, but Ho-nam has the real problem. His wrist still hurts. Chef comes over and sniffs his wrists. The harsh smell of the Bengay interferes with his ability to smell the cooking properly. He also won’t be able to cook again if he hurts his wrist.
President San Kim comes in and gives Hyun-wook a credit card to fund their practice ingredients. It’s his way of helping out. Is this your way of telling us to win first place no matter what? Chef asks. With a smirk, San replies, “Weren’t you going to place first anyway?”
Eun-soo and Yoo-kyung are impressed and Hyun-wook jealousy asks if San always has to make a show. Speaking of, why doesn’t the chef send people that aren’t connected to the competition home? Chef sends San and Eun-soo home (exactly the opposite of what San wanted) since they have nothing to do with the competition.
When they leave, he confides to Yoo-kyung, “If we don’t win first, I’ll have to puke up all the money.” She replies that they’ll get first because they have him. Aww.
Team Korea is eating together and bitching about pairing off with Team Italy. They’re also not very happy about having the “weak” Yoo-kyung assist them so they plan to ask the Chef to switch her out with the stronger Eun-soo.
(Just by the way, Ben Folds Five is playing in the background of this scene!)
At San’s place with the barftastic painting, he, his sister Kang the cougar and Sae-young sit drinking wine. Sae-young explains that she wants to start from the ground up and then Cougar says she’s hungry. They contemplate going out, but Cougar decides Sae-young is going to make them pasta, whether she wants to or not.
Yoo-kyung asks Hyun-wook about a back-up player’s role is. She is a substitute chef in case anything happens. There has never been a need for one and nor should there ever be.
At the market, Yoo-kyung’s father and brother are shopping for the meal her father will make for Hyun-wook. They purchase expensive abalone to her brother’s surprise.
More mail arrives from Italy for Hyun-wook inviting him to come.
As Eun-soo and Yoo-kyung are prepping, Team Korea comes in and tells her to rest so she can recharge. The Chef appears and says there are times when maknae’s have to work nonstop. But Team Korea is steadfast. They ask to replace Yoo-kyung with the sturdier Eun-soo.
That won’t do, however. Eun-soo has never held a frying pan. Team Korea argues that Yoo-kyung can barely keep up – it’s even difficult for a man to keep up.
*Reaches through the screen to kick them in the…* Breathe, Raine. Breathe.
Yoo-kyung declares that she’ll work and and she’ll do it. They’re not happy, but accept it.
A sweet little Eun-soo stays behind to help his noona, but the Chef sends him home. If he works hard during the day, he’ll keep the stress off Yoo-kyung who will be able to conserve her energy for after-hours practice.
Uri Eun-soo is soooo precious. 😀
Anyway, Yoo-kyung works her ass off as the men argue. By the time the night is through, she has finished all of her work.
The next morning, she gives herself a little, “Hwaiting!” and climbs into an elevator, where San greets her. She is still curious about what he and Hyun-wook talked about. They spoke about her and he admitted he loved her. She thinks he’s joking although he assures her that it is the truth.
The entire kitchen is helping to unload ingredients off the delivery truck and the Chef, contrary to what he said before near the beginning of the drama, let’s her carry one box at a time – he instead loads up Eun-soo with boxes stacked over his head. Heehee.
San stops by a plant shop and pensively contemplates purchasing a little cactus.
We get the complainers extraordinaire – Teams Italy and Korea.
1) Sang-shik is weirded out by Woo-duk’s silent nature.
2) Seung-jae hates Philip’s method of making soup and thinks he’s better.
3) Ji-hoon declares that Yoo-kyung could kneed dough better than Ho-nam. (Grr, sexism overload.)
Then, Ho-nam’s wrist gives out and he drops the pans he’d just grabbed. Chef is immediately wary and asks if he went to the hospital yet, but noble idiot Ho-nam replies that he doesn’t need to go.
The sous chef is no fool and also asks after Ho-nam’s wrist, but he deflects by suggesting they go for beer.
More letters for chef from Italy. He pensively enters the locker room and sees an exhausted Yoo-kyung asleep on the bench. He covers her with his jacket and strokes her hair. I don’t think he wants to go to Italy and leave her behind.
The next morning, San goes to the locker room to deliver the cactus and sees Yoo-kyung asleep on the bench. When she wakes, he chides her gently.
Then, he glances at the cactus picture on her locker and asks her what it means to her. She was sad she didn’t get to meet him. But she is grateful he supported her for three years. Because he didn’t give up on her, she’s holding a frying pan and working hard – she wants to make him the most delicious Seo Yoo-kyung pasta in the world.
She wants to know if she’s becoming a good chef that doesn’t shame him? Is my pasta delicious?
San stands to leave and then turns back. “It’s delicious, your pasta.” She is confused but he assures her it was delicious three years ago and it’s delicious now. She is still confused until she sees the little cactus he left behind.
She chases after him and he looks really at peace. It’s nice to see a second lead come full circle. Yoo-kyung struggles to say that she’s sorry and to thank him. He promises to keep cheering for her.
Hyun-wook visits Sae-young and hands her the letters he got from Italy. He wants her to go despite her hesitancy and the fact that she thinks she’s broken. He wants to know what’s broken. Does she have her hands and her tongue? That’s all a chef needs. Decide quickly.
She should just go and stop feeling sorry for herself. How often do people get chances like that?
At the bar, Hyun-wook and San have a little man-to-man. San tells him that Yoo-kyung chose him and then scolds him for making her sleep in the locker room.
When Hyun-wook enters the locker room, he tells her that she can be the maknae without sleeping at the restaurant overnight. He takes back his jacket and she grins at his kind gesture. Who did she think put the jacket on her? Ho-nam?
The Waste-of-space trio wastes space and time moaning and groaning about their failing business.
Aaaaaand, chef’s evil plan works. The pairs of cooks are finally getting along and the kitchen is all smiles. No, seriously. They’re grinning like they won the lottery. It’s a bit much. But it’s cute anyway. This show is all about the cute.
Yoo-kyung works herself to the bone and doesn’t complain. Instead, she falls asleep on a garbage back. That’s how Hyun-wook finds her. He hoists her onto his back and it’s a pretty romantic piggy back.
As he carries her he tells her that it’s difficult for women to become chefs. They have to be persistent, like a simple-minded fool digging for water in dry land – she is a simple-minded fool.
She says no to a rich man and gets stuck by a boyfriend who pushes her away.
But he’s grateful to her – she made him a good chef. “Thanks a lot my goldfish.”
Hyun-wook break through. He now has finally morphed into a human being.
It’s time for the competition. The whole of La Sfera plus the Waste-of-space turn up to support their team. When the ingredients come out, they panic because there is a cheap cuttlefish. But Hyun-wook points out their strengths and each person is able to decide upon his dish.
They turn in their course menu. The chef insults them in his way and tells them that they’re on their own, so they should get first place.
The chef calls for a hand pile and a hearty, “Hwaiting!”
Then they’re off to cook with a proud chef smiling after them.
In the kitchen, all the teams are working diligently and Ho-nam’s wrist is killing him. Can’t say we didn’t see that one coming.
Everyone is waiting nervously outside, especially Ji-hoon who has to be calmed by Philip. Heehee.
Finally, Ho-nam’s wrist gives out and he drops his pan of pasta, but not before idiotically trying to save it.
The competition representative rushes out and tells Hyun-wook to send in his back-up chef or forfeit. Ho-nam refuses to leave – he’s desperate to go to Italy. But the Chef is more worried for his health and ability to continue to be a chef.
Then Team Italy and the Waste-of-Space trio run down the hall with a whining Ho-nam and it’s pretty hysterical. They look pretty pathetic.
Back to the kitchen.
Yoo-kyung is deep in thought, trying to think of a solution to their problem: Ho-nam dropped most of the pasta on the floor. Team Korea thinks that they are doomed, but Yoo-kyung has an idea.
The cuttlefish can be used for the noodles and the little bit of pasta dough they have left can be used for a garnish.
They set to work and finish just as the competition representative calls time. They are extremely proud of themselves and Yoo-kyung. (Finally, you jerks. Grumble, grumble.)
It is time for the tasting and La Sfera in its entirety waits on pins and needles. Chef’s chef is the most prominent judge with a very stony face. When he reaches their table, he tastes all of the dishes and glances at Yoo-kyung’s with confusion.
The sous chef explains that they were trying to create a new dish out of the cuttlefish that has a similar texture to pasta but has its own flavor. They wonder if they can call it pasta and the judges argue back and forth.
The judges depart for the next table and La Sfera comes to taste test Yoo-kyung’s dish – it’s a rousing success! They are proud of their team.
It’s time to announce the winner…
I’m really proud of the Chef. His character growth really carried a lot of the show. Power to you, Lee Seon-kyun!
The show really went there and brought out every trope in the book all at once: girl fighting in a man’s world, the injury opportunity, the gratitude of the alpha male lead for the simple-minded female lead, everyone suddenly gets along, and every issue ready to be wrapped into nice, neat little bows with banana curls.
But again, like I said earlier, damn this show is cute. My criticisms remain the same as always, but I’m really enjoying myself as a viewer, if not so much as a recapper.
Stay tuned for the Final Episode!