Directed by Kwon Seok-jang (권석장)
Screenplay by Seo Sook-hyang (서숙향)MBC | Airing dates : 2010/01/04~2010/03/09
16 episodes - Mon, Tue 21:55
A recipe of love and passion among young and attractive chefs
We invited you to the Italian restaurant named "Mamma Mia"
Yoo-gyeong has worked at the Italian restaurant Mamma Mia for 3 years. Her dream is to become an Italian cuisine chef but in reality, she's a kitchen assistant. One day, the Mamma Mia restaurant newly hires Hyun-wook, a chef who went to culinary school in Italy. Upon his arrival, the female chefs are fired one by one and Yoo-gyeong finds herself to be the last woman standing. Just before she's about to be fired, Kim San, the restaurant owner appears. Kim San hires his girlfriend and celebrity chef Sae-young as a co-head chef to work with Hyun-wook. It turns out that Sae-young and Hyun-wook used to date each other when they were both studying at the Italian culinary school. But they broke up after Sae-young stole his recipe to win a cooking contest. They turn into rivals and try to outdo each other in making the finest Italian cuisine. Working alongside two celebrity chefs, Yoo-gyeong feels small and insignificant. She gradually develops feelings for the charismatic Hyun-wook. However, restaurant owner Kim San begins to become attracted to the spunky Yoo-gyeong and the relationships between them become fraught with complexities.
Seo Yoo-gyeong / actress Kong Hyo-jin
Dreaming of becoming a celebrity chef, she graduated from a lowly culinary school and works as a kitchen assistant. She has a spunky attitude and rises one level in the pecking order at the restaurant where she works but after a new head chef called Hyun-wook is hired, she is on the verge of losing her job. She barely hangs onto her job thanks to the restaurant manager who intervened on her behalf. But she has a long way to go until she will earn any respect from chef Hyun-wook for her cooking skills. She makes an effort to learn as much as she can from Hyun-wook and he, in turn, starts to grow fond of her. However, when Kim San, the restaurant owner of Mamma Mia, returns, her relationship between Hyun-wook and Kim San change abruptly.
Choi Hyun-wook / actor Lee Seon-gyoon
A chef who rose to the top of his profession after starting at the bottom in an Italian restaurant in Sicily. Offered a hefty salary and housing from the Mamma Mia restaurant, he decides to become the head chef of the establishment. He detests female chefs after having a bad experience in the past. When his ex-girlfriend Sae-young joins him at the restaurant as co-head chef, he frequently quarrels with her and then makes up as they create wonderful cuisine for patrons.
Oh Sae-young / actress Lee Honey
She's Yoo-gyeong's role model. Sae-young has her own cooking show and is the most celebrate female chef in Korea. During her years in Italy where she went to culinary school, she dated Hyun-wook and stole his recipe to win a grand prix cooking contest. After returning to Korea, she instantly became a celebrity chef but when she's reunited with Hyun-wook, she has conflicted feelings towards him.
Kim San / actor Alex
He's the actual owner of the Mamma Mia restaurant but he hides this fact and poses as a regular restaurant patron. One day, he takes a peek at Yoo-gyeong's notes and develops an interest in her. Nobody pays much attention to Yoo-gyeong, who is a kitchen assistant, but Kim San watches her closely. He helps Yoo-gyeong from behind the scenes unbeknownst to Yoo-gyeong.
Yoo-gyeong has been a chef assistant at the La Spera restaurant for three years. After enduring long hours and low pay for three long years, she brims with hope that she'll finally get promoted and become a chef. One day, she is crossing the street while holding a bag with a live goldfish in it when a stranger bumps into her, making her drop the bag on the pavement.
But the stranger, who is Hyun-wook, helps her rescue the goldfish and this makes Yoo-gyeong feel grateful for his help. But she soon finds out that Hyun-wook is the newly-hired head chef at La Spera. He turns out to be a dominating boss and Yoo-gyeong gets fed up with his petulant attitude...
Yoo-gyeong and Hyun-wook meet again at the same crosswalk where they bumped into each other by accident. After telling Yoo-gyeong that she's fired, Hyun-wook asks her out on a date, which bewilders Yoo-gyeong. When Yoo-gyeong starts to yell at Hyun-wook for his awful behavior, he takes off and leaves her all by herself. Reporting to work the next day, Hyun-wook finds Yoo-gyeong sleeping in his locker.
Hyun-wook decides to change the chef's lunch special to cream spaghetti with shrimp all of a sudden. Seok-ho, a chef who has seniority at La Spera, decries the sudden change to the lunch menu and thinks Hyun-wook is acting rashly without informing them in advance of the changes. Hyun-wook ignores Yoo-gyeong and doesn't give her any work to do in the kitchen. As the orders pour in, the chefs strain to fill each order. With the kitchen in total disarray, Hyun-wook storms out and starts going from one table to the next in search of somebody. He finally finds who he's looking for.
Trying to forget the episode when Hyun-wook fired her, Yoo-gyeong decides to show up at work anyway. She stands her ground even when Hyun-wook gives her a dirty look. She then recalls the first day she came to work at La Spera 3 years ago. After doing her job, Yoo-gyeong heads home and spots Hyun-wook having a drink all by himself at an outdoor bar.
After making pasta over and over at her home, Yoo-gyeong gets frustrated that she's not able to make it right. So she goes to La Spera as a customer and orders Aglio e Olio. After enjoying the dish, she asks the waiter if she could see the chef who made it to compliment him. Hyun-wook comes out and starts glaring at her. Hyun-wook announces that he plans to hire a new chef assistant through a blind test. In other words, he'll sample the food that each applicant makes without knowing their identities and choose the person who created the best-tasting pasta.
When Hyun-wook opens his eyes to see the person he chose through the blind test, he is stunned to see Yoo-gyeong before him. Yoo-gyeong is overjoyed and asks Hyun-wook to repeat the words, “You're hired.” Later in the day, Hyun-wook calls Yoo-gyeong to the kitchen and gives her some tough training on how to cook Italian food. Yoo-gyeong isn't fazed as she endures his impatient instructions and even requests that he teach her in this same manner in their next session.
Hyun-wook tells his kitchen staff that he's not finished with culling the workforce. He then banishes foie gras and pickles from the menu offerings. Seok-ho and the younger chefs have a talk with Hyun-wook to protest the decision because it would probably lead to a drop in restaurant sales. However, Hyun-wook doesn't budge from his decision. Yoo-gyeong, who is in charge of procuring the pickles, is put in an awkward situation where she has to choose sides between Hyun-wook and Seok-ho. Mr. Seol, a food supplier to La Spera, asks Yoo-gyeong to stock his pickles in the refrigerator that is accessible from the restaurant hallway.
Yoo-gyeong confesses to everyone that kickbacks for retaining Mr. Seol as their egg supplier were wired to her bank account but she maintains that she didn't take a cent and asks Hyun-wook to believe her. So Hyun-wook takes Yoo-gyeong with her to meet Mr. Seol to learn the truth of the matter. Hyun-wook and Gwang-tae are stunned to hear that Mr. Seol also knew that Yoo-gyeong received the kickbacks.
Riding in a truck with Hyun-wook on her way home, Yoo-gyeong looks utterly miserable. Then they bump into San and Sae-young. San hands an apartment rental contract to Sae-young and asks her if she could share the apartment with one of the restaurant workers. The Italian ambassador to Korea and several diplomats visit La Spera together with Sae-young. The ambassador orders bongole pasta just as Yoo-gyeong predicted.
Delighted that her innocence has been proven, Yoo-gyeong plants a kiss on Hyun-wook's cheek. She then stares at Hyun-wook, who is flustered over the surprise kiss, and runs out of the elevator when the doors open. Seok-ho learns that San is the owner of La Spera while overhearing San talking with Mr. Seol. When Hyun-wook says that he doesn't get romantically involved with anyone in his kitchen, Yoo-gyeong meekly asks if having a crush on someone is permissible.
San individually meets the restaurant workers one by one and tells them that while La Spera closes down for three days, he would like them to come up with new menu offerings to revive the restaurant. While shopping at the fish market, Yoo-gyeong bumps into Hyun-wook. She suggests that Hyun-wook tag along with her to purchase live filefish from a fishing port.
Yoo-gyeong and Hyun-wook pick a huge filefish at the fish market and Hyun-wook makes a raw fish dish out of it. He hands the fish liver to Yoo-gyeong to eat. San calls Yoo-gyeong and gets a little uncomfortable when he hears that Yoo-gyeong is with Hyun-wook. San suggests that Hyun-wook attend a charity event instead of entering a cooking contest because he'd rather have Sae-young enter the contest.
Inviting Yoo-gyeong over to his home, Hyun-wook instills Yoo-gyeong with confidence that she can become a good chef. Yoo-gyeong receives another demanding training session from Hyun-wook. On the day of the cooking contests, each entrant reveals the dish that they'll make. Everyone is surprised to see Sae-young appear as a contest entrant. After completing the charity event, Hyun-wook hurries to La Spera.
Yoo-gyeong, Hyun-wook, San and Sae-young meet each other in the hallway in an awkward moment. There's an unseen tension between the four people. Yoo-gyeong steps out of the hallway and gets surprised when Hyun-wook suddenly appears. While staring at a photo of a cactus plant that is attached to her locker, Yoo-gyeong asks San if it's a real cactus and then tells him not to treat her in a way that could give Hyun-wook the wrong message.
The chefs carefully move carts of food and ingredients to the kitchen and La Spera opens for business again with zest and energy. Hyun-wook and Sae-young get into a quarrel in the kitchen with Hyun-wook storming out in the end. With the restaurant about to announce its new menu offerings, Yoo-gyeong stays behind after work to clean the ingredients. Somehow, she accidently locks herself in the cold storage room.
Hyun-wook asks Yoo-gyeong to think about why he can't like her. However, Yoo-gyeong replies that she can only come up with a string of reasons why he can like her. Sae-young confides in San that she would like to be acknowledged by Hyun-wook as an excellent chef and then she approaches Hyun-wook and asks him to maintain a strictly professional relationship at work.
But Hyun-wook and Sae-young keep disagreeing in the kitchen. Yoo-gyeong tells Hyun-wook that she'd like to listen to both him and Sae-young. Meanwhile, an accident occurs in the kitchen when a hot frying pan is tossed into the air and just as it's about to hit Hyun-wook, Yoo-gyeong jumps in front of him to protect him...
Yoo-gyeong gets giddy with happiness when she recalls the moment when Hyun-wook held her hand. Hyun-wook gets jealous when he sees San talking to Yoo-gyeong in a tender way. Yoo-gyeong is happy to hear Hyun-wook tell her that he'll treat her nicer than the way San treats her. Hyun-wook playfully pinches Yoo-gyeong's lips together with a clam when she doesn't stop laughing.
Sae-young has a disagreement with the three chefs who went to culinary school in Italy over the soup they'll make. The three chefs storm out of the kitchen and take Yoo-gyeong with them. Yoo-gyeong gets a call from Hyun-wook and he asks her to force the three to return to the restaurant immediately. So she's at her wit's end on what to do. Mr. Seol, the three chefs, the cooking staff and Yoo-gyeong enter the kitchen at the exact same moment.
Eun-soo happens to see Yoo-gyeong and Hyun-wook touching each other tenderly and this disturbs him. Eun-soo also gets disappointed when he checks how much his monthly wage is. A newly opened restaurant offers a job to Seok-ho, who asks his team to join him along with Eun-soo and Yoo-gyeong.
Hyun-wook finds out about Seok-ho's offers and confronts Seok-ho about it. He tells Seok-ho that if he wants to quit La Spera, he should quit after his cooking skills surpass his. Hyun-wook takes Yoo-gyeong to a fancy restaurant for a date but he ruins it for her by nitpicking about the food. They eventually go to a sauna house at Yoo-gyeong's suggestion.
When Eun-soo announces that he'll quit, everyone at La Spera is shocked to hear it. Hyun-wook calls Eun-soo to his office. But Hyun-wook is rendered speechless when Eun-soo tells him that he knows that Hyun-wook is dating Yoo-gyeong. Yoo-gyeong gets disappointed with Eun-soo over his decision to quit as she takes over his duties as assistant cook.
Yoo-gyeong goes to see Eun-soo at a bar where he has found a new job. She implores him to return to the restaurant but Eun-soo steadfastly refuses. Hyun-wook spies San posting a photo of a cactus plant in Yoo-gyeong's locker. When the part-time worker they hired at the kitchen quits, Yoo-gyeong gets exasperated and asks Hyun-wook to personally talk to Eun-soo about returning to La Spera. Hyun-wook tells Yoo-gyeong the truth about why he can't do that.
When Sae-young sees Hyun-wook and Yoo-gyeong coming to work together, she tells Yoo-gyeong that she once dated Hyun-wook. The chefs warmly welcome back Eun-soo, who finally decided to return. San suggests that Hyun-wook share the chef room with Sae-young but Hyun-wook flatly refuses to share it.
After getting berated by Hyun-wook and having her pride hurt when he compares her to Sae-young, Yoo-gyeong feels miserable. But she feels a bit better when Hyun-wook tells her that his tough talk is his form of showing his affection. Early the next morning, Hyun-wook teaches Yoo-gyeong his secret recipe on how to make Spaghetti Vongole and shows her his wrist technique when frying the spaghetti. When Hyun-wook tastes a pasta dish made by Sae-young with a special beef froth, he is very surprised.
Yoo-gyeong gives a box of chocolates to Hyun-wook and her friends Hee-joo, Mi-hee, and Chan-hee see her in the act of giving it to him. So they lunge for the Valentine's Day card that Yoo-gyeong wrote and read it. Yoo-gyeong explains to them that she's the one who has crush on Hyun-wook and that they are not dating at all. But Hyun-wook doesn't care whether the three girls think he is dating Yoo-gyeong or not. The other chefs here about the Valentine's Day gift that Yoo-gyeong gave to Hyun-wook and ask her what's going on.
Hyun-wook calls the chefs in charge of preparing the pasta and promotes Ho-nam by having him join the pasta team. He then orders Yoo-gyeong to join the team that prepares the pasta appetizers. In her new position, Yoo-gyeong gets called on by Hyun-wook for every little mistake she makes. The other chefs and manager Seol closely observe the intense training that Hyun-wook is giving to Yoo-gyeong. San tells Hyun-wook that he wouldn't go around treating Yoo-gyeong like that after telling her that he loves her.
Manager Seol sees Yoo-gyeong and Hyun-wook cuddling together at a bus stop and he immediately reports what he saw to San. San orders him to pretend that he doesn't know that the two are dating. Hyun-wook and Manager Seol get into a heated argument over a scallop dish that Yoo-gyeong made. San approaches Yoo-gyeong and confesses his love for her.
Seok-ho and his team of chefs get mad that they're paid less than the newly hired chefs and demand an explanation from Hyun-wook. Hyun-wook and San disagree with each other about the pay scale and can't find a compromise. After the tensions between Seok-ho's team and the newly hired chefs are defused through a day of intense negotiations, Hyun-wook takes some time out to be with Yoo-gyeong. He's surprised to hear her comment that Manager Seol hasn't changed at all although he's not the owner of the restaurant.
Ignoring the reaction of the La Spera chefs, Hyun-wook quits his job. When Yoo-gyeong insists that he should stay, Hyun-wook tells her that if she wants to work together with him, she can quit, too. With Eun-soo and the newly hired chefs also leaving with Hyun-wook, Yoo-gyeong doesn't waver and stays put in her job.
A gentleman makes a reservation at La Spera and pre-orders ginseng pasta. While Yoo-gyeong looks through Hyun-wook's recipes, she discovers his recipe for ginseng pasta and calls him up to learn more details. Seok-ho tells everyone about a scandalous rumor concerning Sae-young, who has become a judge for the New Chef Cooking Competition. Yoo-gyeong practices how to make ginseng pasta by herself, using her own methods. When Hyun-wook tastes Yoo-gyeong's ginseng pasta, he is pleasantly surprised.
Sae-young asks Hyun-wook to return to La Spera after telling him that she doesn't have the confidence to cook again. Seok-ho and his team of chefs are stunned when Hyun-wook and his team of chefs return to the restaurant. Yoo-gyeong is overjoyed to see them back. Hyun-wook promises everybody that he'll be fair and if breaks his promise, then he'll fire Yoo-gyeong.
Hyun-wook calls the chefs in charge of making past and tells them he has chosen ginseng pasta as the Chef's Special and promptly tells Yoo-gyeong to give her ginseng pasta recipe to chef Sun Woo-deok. The chefs test whether Hyun-wook can fairly judge two pasta dishes separately made by Yoo-gyeong and chef Sun Woo-deok. Hyun-wook passes fair judgment on the dishes. When a customer rejects a scallop dish that was made by Yoo-gyeong, Manager Seol starts a big fuss about it. So Hyun-wook teaches Yoo-gyeong how to cook scallops just right.
Hyun-wook and the La Spera chefs are shocked when they read about Sae-young's confession in a news conference. Overwhelmed with shock, San frantically calls Sae-young. Two food critics, who scathingly criticized La Spera in their last visit, order their steak rare. Hyun-wook calmly fills their order.
While Yoo-gyeong teaches how to make ginseng pasta to the other chefs, she hears about the New Chef Cooking Competition but Seok-ho asks Yoo-gyeong to keep it a secret. Hyun-wook orders the staff to stop taking orders for steak because they ran out of ingredients and warns Seok-ho and his team that they can't enter the kitchen after working hours. Entering a café, Hyun-wook spots Sae-young talking to a reporter.
After appearing at the kitchen, Yoo-gyeong heads straight to the cold storage room without glancing at Hyun-wook. After calming herself down, Yoo-gyeong gets cheerful again when Hyun-wook talks gently to her. Hyun-wook announces that Seok-ho and his team can enter the New Chef Cooking Competition under one condition and that's that everyone pull together and help Seok-ho's team. He divides the chefs into pairs to prepare for the competition. Yoo-gyeong will participate in the competition as a back-up chef.
With the competition approaching, the chefs practice intensely during their breaks. Seok-ho asks Hyun-wook to replace Yoo-gyeong with Eun-soo but Hyun-wook denies his request. Yoo-gyeong expresses her confidence on doing a good job. When Hyun-wook sees that Ho-nam's wrists are injured, he urges him to see a doctor but Ho-nam replies that he's all right. When Yoo-gyeong finds out that San was the person secretly slipping photos of cactus plants to her, she is filled with mixed feelings of gratitude and guilt. The day of the cooking competition arrives at last.
After the chefs win the cooking competition, La Spera receives a deluge of customers. The chefs are busier than ever but now they have smiles on their faces. Yoo-gyeong finds it tough to decide whether to go to Italy to receive cooking training because it would mean that she'd be apart from Hyun-wook. Meanwhile, Hyun-wook goes to an Italian restaurant where Hee-joo, Mi-hee, and Chan-hee work as chefs and orders Spaghetti alla Carbonara.
Yoo-gyeong's dad serves spicy Chinese noodles with abalone to Yoo-gyeong and Hyun-wook when they come over to his restaurant. Then they have a drink and pass out eventually. Hyun-wook asks his team of chefs to prepare a special dish for a VIP. After the last order is filled by the cooks, they all hug each other. The whole staff at La Spera enjoys a scrumptious banquet together.
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