Yea, these two pretty much steal every scene they’re in, separately and together. Some mothers might be frustrated watching the first two episodes but let’s face the reality of Kdramas. A Melo drama MUST have an identity-switch theme. There’s no way out of it.
This recap is for those who can’t access Viki yet. They haven’t released soft sub either. DarkSmurfSubs has picked this up so stay tuned for updates. I can’t promise to write recap for every episode (not a writer, school’s a vacuum) so if anyone wants to take up this job, contact me! 🙂
Episode 1 opens up with the competition between two chefs Baek Sul (Kim Bo Yeon, left) and Sung Doo Hee (Jeon In Hwa) – to select the next executive chef of a traditional cuisine restaurant named Arirang.
Watching the performance from the balcony are two kids, and we find out the little girl is Sung Doo Hee’s daughter.
The dishes are presented and while the judges look satisfied with Doo Hee’s dish, they grunt silently at Baek Sul’s, which didn’t go unnoticed by the contenders. The main judge and current executive chef is Sun Noh In (Jung Hye Sun).
The first round is over and Baek Sul receives an alarming phone call from her young son – Kim Do Yoon (future Lee Sang Woo), who cries tearfully that his older brother is acting weird, banging on the door. Baek Sul promises to come as soon as possible.
However, when she climbs the stairs to the executive office, she overhears one of the judges’ biased opinion of picking Sung Doo Hee because of her mother. Baek Sul staggers outside, feeling indignant and hurt.
Baek Sul sputters, she has tried her best in the last 15 years to please them, but why is it that they won’t look at her approvingly? Doo Hee replies, while you were trying to please them, I was happily learning and mastering food dishes with my own hand. Doo Hee might be favored by the judges but she isn’t cocky and advises Baek Sul to get her act together and fight until the end.
While everyone is enjoying the break with a traditional dance outside, Baek Sul plays dirty and pours some liquid into a bowl and the carp immediately wiggles.
Not surprisingly, the theme for next round – transforming a carp into a dragon. While Baek Sul’s carp is benign and peaceful, Doo Hee’s carp is violently flipping around, evoking concern from everyone. Keeping her calm, Doo Hee stabs the fish and its blood splatters in her face, entering her eyes. Afterwards, her vision is blurred. She waves off everyone concern and continues the competition, mostly relying on her touch and instinct. Oh, she’s so hardcore!
If I were Baek Sul, I’d feel inferior and insulted at this point. My rival is basically telling me she can do BETTER without her eyes. Aii.
Baek sul’s hand trembles again and this time, it gets caught in the flames. In her agitated state, she refuses to go to the hospital and is literally dragged out of the competition under the order of her master Sun Noh In.
Inauguration Day. The fourth executive chef of Arirang is given to Doo Hee. She gives a sincere speech, hoping for guidance and team work to maintain Korean cuisine. Looking at the scene from afar is Baek Sul. The camera zooms into the white pin in her hair. Someone died? Her son? She claps her hand, recalling the doctor’s note that the nerve in her hand is damaged. It might not recover.
Three kids run around at a park, two of them we have met previously. The little girl trips, and the boy promptly hands her a piece of candy. He piggybacks her along the curb while Doo Hee and Noh In watch on. The boy turns out to be Choi Jae Ha (future Joo Sang Wook), and looks to be the master’s grandson. Suh Noh In hands a key to Doo Hee and regrets that the second key is missing.
Doo Hee opens a glass box and holds the book to her heart, promising to find the other missing key and protect it well. A staff member arrives with a congratulation gift from a woman. We do not get to see the content.
Doo Hee goes on a cruising trip with her family. She’s seated at a table while her husband, Ha Young Bum, serenades the place with a piano song. Later, they celebrate the little girl’s birthday. Their daughter is Ha In Joo, and son is Ha In Ho. Doo Hee gives her daughter a small replica of her necklace – the mascot of Arirang. She plans to raise In Joo as the next successor. Young Bum thinks it’s too early but Doo Hee disagrees, it’s never too early. She then returns to work and Young Bum slaps on a grim expression.
Elsewhere, another mother is having dinner with her daughter, Song Yeon Woo. From their conversation, they’re from a poor family and the mother makes money by being a dancer. As her daughter nibbles away, Mom drops her happy face and remembers the doctor’s diagnosis. It’s stomach cancer. Urrrrrrr. She excuses herself, leaving Yeon Woo to finish the food.
Yeon Woo wanders around the kids’ playroom like a lost puppy (She’s born to play this role, just look at that perfect expression of lost-please-adopt-me?), and Young Bum hurriedly invites her to join them. Aw.
Hours later, Young Bum leaves with his kids and Yeon Woo is back to play by herself. Swarming in the pool of balls, she finds the necklace In Joo lost.
Alone, Doo Hee finally opens the congratulation letter she’s received earlier. Photos of her husband having an affair. I didn’t see this coming. She shreds the photos into pieces. Young Bum returns and uncovers the photos that she’s hidden under the bed cover. Uh. He wonders why she could be so serene seeing such pictures. Doo Hee dismisses the evidence and calls it a joke. Young Bum challenges her with a divorce letter.
Looks like he’s doing this on purpose to provoke some kind of strong reaction from her. He bursts out at her, saying that he wishes she could be like other normal women, put down her pride and admits she loves him. But Doo Hee isn’t that type though. She can’t divorce and let her dreams crashed. She goes as low as kneeling before him. He doesn’t relent and gives her two options. Be his wife or divorce and continue her road of an executive chef.
That night little In Joo wakes up and realizes that her necklace is missing. She steps outside the room, calling her mom, until she sees an unconscious Doo Hee, with her wrist split around a pool of blood. She’s shocked and peed on the spot. Still reacting to the horrific scene, she wanders aimlessly up the stairs and almost falls off the ship when a pair of hands catches her. It’s Yeon Woo’s mother, who was preparing for her trip to hell.
Doo Hee is saved and her son informs them that In Joo is missing. The employees confirmed that someone fell over because they saw a piece of fabric dangling at the edge. Doo Hee wants to jump into the vast ocean and search for her daughter but Young Bum stops her. She faints.
The next day. Passengers exits the ship and we see a sobbing Yeon Woo looking for her mother. Oh gosh, where did the mother go with In Joo? o.o
It has been four days since In Joo’s disappearance and the police announces that she’s probably dead. Doo Hee and Young Bum are devastated.
Yeon Woo wanders around the harbor looking for her mother. Fortunately, an ajuhmma at a restaurant is nice enough to feed and house the girl. When an old man eyes her gold necklace (the one she picked up after In Joo lost it), she dashes out the restaurant and ends up sleeping on a nearby boat.
Next morning, the old man spots Yeon Woo sleeping, and attempts to steal her necklace again. She bites his fingers and shoves him off the boat. She quickly bolts away, only to arrive at a dead end.
He catches up and she cries for mother. Doo Hee wakes up, and follows the cry to Yeon Woo. The old man scurries away. Doo Hee hugs Yeon Woo, completely mistaken her as In Joo while Yeon Woo mumbles, “No, you’re not my mother. Bring my mother!”
Young Bum brings them back to the hospital and reads the letter Yeon Woo’s mother left behind. Outside, he remains hopeful, believing that if In Joo’s body is not found, that means she’s living somewhere. The police confirmed that a body of a thirtysomething woman was found. WHAAAAA? Yeon Woo’s mother is dead…then where’s In Joo?
Thus, Song Yeon Woo begins the life as Ha In Joo. Young Bum promises to love her as his own. Deja Vu, anyone? Bachelor’s Vegetable Store… At least, she is receiving some love as opposed to Ga On.
Episode 2 Recap
A Time Skip for the Teenage Version. 12 years later.
We get a glimpse of the real Ha In Joo’s life after that unfortunate day. Her name is now Ko Joon Young (Future Sung Yuri). She’s riding along the road until her friend, Da Eun, stops her mid way. The friend stutters that her father is creating trouble at a restaurant. Joon Young hurries to the place and we see her dad actively messing up the place. His trouble? The owner is selling food cheaper than the ingredients. The father holds up a soup bowl and threatens to break it…but his hand slips and the content is dumped on Joon Young’s head. GROSSSS!!
Doo Hee and Young Bum are waiting at the airport for Yeon Woo, who has just returned from her studies abroad. They take her to Arirang where she pays respect to Grandma Noh In. Grandma notes that In Joo grew up to look completely different from her younger self. In Joo nervously looks down and Young Bum chimes in that kids these days are like that. Feeling uncomfortable, In Joo excuses herself. Young Bum follows her out.
He sits down next to In Joo and assures her that no one will doubt her identity. He continues to be apologetic and grateful for her existence. In Joo doesn’t want to let dad down and eases his worry by asking for more allowance when she works hard. Aw.
Back at the restaurant, Joon Young and her dad are dragged outside the store. She advises her father to stop this nonsense and hurry back to save their dying restaurant. Ah! So it’s rivaling businesses. The father turns to Joon Young, dissatisfied with her nonchalant attitude. He goes on to say that he rescued her (when she was on the verge of death) so she ought to be on his side. Looks like this is not the first time he’s used this verbal reminder because Joon Young repeats the same lines in one breath. Huffy, he leaves her there.
Da Eun catches up to Joon Young. She looks around for some tissues but Joon Young has already tasted the soup on her head. Realization hits, her dad was right, the owner didn’t use the right fish for his soup.
In Joo wanders around Arirang and a voice calls out her name. It’s her supposedly childhood friend – Choi Jae Ha. He takes her to the balcony where they used to hang out. However, she doesn’t remember, so Jae Ha gives her a box of chocolates, saying they’re her favorites. He pokes fun at her bad memory and In Joo whips out her English, Japanese, and French, impressing him.
At Arirang, news report that the competition held twelve years ago was unfair due to the exceptional family background of Doo Hee. Calmly, Doo Hee explains to the swarming reporters that nothing was done shamefully years ago. To her surprise, Baek Sul arrives unannounced, claiming that she’s the witness. Woman, you WERE the cheater that was never caught.
It’s clear what she wants – the truth (what..?) and a second chance to win back the position of Executive CHef.
Baek Sul enters Master Noh In’s room and pleads for another chance because it’s unfair back then. Master laughs at the lie and shows her a familiar vial. Baek Suk feigns innocence and Master Noh In is forced to bring in a bowl with two fish and pours the liquid in. At this point, Baek Sul is speechless. I like Grandma Noh In. She’s sharp.
Outside, Doo Hee greets Baek Suk and speaks on friendly terms but the latter isn’t in the mood for a tea party. She ponders, how Doo Hee’s eyes never show an ounce of fear/nervouness facing her? Doo Hee coolly replies, “It’s because your eyes are shifty, never meeting my own.” eeeekk
Incredulous, Baek Sul stands there idly, taking us back in time. She had arrived home and her older son, Ji Yoon, was unconscious. She asked her younger son, Do Yoon, what had happened and he replied like a dead fish, “It’s because of you. You locked him up.” In the present, Baek Sul blames Doo Hee for the tragedy of her son.
Joon Young’ father is gambling at some place (while being deceived by the cohort of cheaters). At the same time, Joon Young is determined to get the evidence of their rival restaurant. She has the help of her good friend, Da Eun. The girl is willing to sneak out her father’s precious camera for Joon Young. She smiles excitedly, revealing that it’s thrilling, like a movie. This is so adorable. Da Eun is ridiculously cute!!
The two girls sneak into the kitchen and notice a box of mudskipper, a cheaper type of Vietnamese fish, that is being used in place of Korean loaches. While Da Eun keeps watch outside, Joon Young quickly snaps at the evidence but the camera is promptly snatched away by the owner. He insists that the mudskippers are Korean loaches and makes her repeat after him. Joon Young stands firm to her decision until the other ajusshi brings Da Eun inside, forcing Joon Young to step down from her declaration. Being a jerk, the owner lets go of the camera and it falls into the boiling soup bowl.
Joon Young promises to work over the break to buy a new camera for Da Eun.
At home, In Joo is training her taste buds by eating raw vegetables. She stumbles to explain a question and seeks help from some books in her dad’s study room. Then, In Joo notices a colorful box in the drawer and opens it. To her dismay, it contains jewelries and a photo of the real In Joo. This is when Dad steps in, angry at her for going through his stuff. In Joo is surprised at his anger and dad realizes he’s being too harsh. She weeps silently in her room, calling out Dad’s lie. Everything is not hers…
Staying optimistic, Joon Young tries to figure out a way to distinguish mudskippers from loaches. Dad is in trouble and searches his stuff for something but finds the MISSING KID NOTICE of In Joo instead and hides it when Joon Young comes home. Since their store is closing anyway, she asks for permission to sell food there for the time being and dad quickly agrees so she would go away.
Joon Young spends all night to make her comeback soup and in the morning, Da Eun confirms that it tastes better than Ajusshi’s fake soup!
With that, the girls open their business! And customers roll in, naturally, due to the cheap price and good food.
The rival owner drops by to inspect. Joon Young eyes him warily but answers wittily that the cost of loaches has fallen so the price is dropped too!
Through gritted teeth, he wonders where she got such cheap bargains…and Joon Young turns over her batch of mudskippers. His eyes widen and exclaims that these are not loaches! Joon Young flips the attention back to him – how could it be? You have the same loaches in your refrigerator! The customers exchange suspicious glances. Joon Young beams.
Arirang is planning a big feast for the upcoming Korea-Japan dinner and Doo Hee officially begins In Joo’s training as a chef. In Joo smiles to herself upon returning home. The phone rings and she picks it up, just to realize the house has two phone lines. The other one leads to her father’s study. She hesitates, her dad’s words still ringing in her ears and finally picks up the receiver. It’s Joon Young’s dad. Desperate and fearful of losing her current identity, she screams, telling the man he’s dialed the wrong number.
Humiliated by Joon Young earlier, the rival owner sends his henchmen to teach her father a lesson. They tie him up and dip him into the sea water, repeatedly.
Returning home in a fist, Dad calls Joon Young bad luck and that she’s the reason why her mother died! So she should leave this place. He makes his statement by tearing up the place and breaking the tank, which is housing the loaches. Sobbing, Joon Young tries to save the loaches, begging them to remain still, or else they’d die.
That night, In Joo brings Young Bum some fruits and dad apologizes for the harsh words in the afternoon.
Joon Young sits outside until dad returns, still drunk, dancing and singing to the same song. She joins him and he shrugs her off.
Inside, Joon Young sincerely thanks dad for saving and raising her. Dad can’t stand the mushy talk and hushes her up.
Joon Young cries looking at her mom’s picture while dad packs up his stuff in the other room. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
In Joo surprises her parents with a table of breakfast. They are elated but a phone call alerts Dad.
He picks up the receiver with nervous anticipation. Joon Young’s dad confirms that Rich Dad is living well before stating a meeting place for them. Listening outside is In Joo.
Alice: Lots of makjang elements but at least we don’t have mean, oppressing parents (minus Baek Sul). The incidence with the child In Joo is a bit overdone though. I have worked with kids before and when they see something horrific, they usually do two things – 1) Run to their parents or 2) Keep it to themselves
So I found the part when In Joo wanders the hall and up the stairs absurd for a child’s behavior. The other child actor, Yeon Woo, is amazing. Strong-willed and fierce, she’s going to be the one to look out for. Her sobs pierce my heart!
I think the story does a good job of establishing the good nature of both girls. In Joo’s sensitive nature is a given. For someone who has lost little things in the gains that she has, every threat is magnified. She’s both proud and fearful. What a complex character already. Let’s keep it that way writers!
Can’t wait for today’s episode to see the pretty onscreen. I noticed that the child actors they picked for In Joo/Joon Young is based on those squishable cheeks of Yuri, though Da Eun would’ve been a better fit as Joon Young. hehe.