K-Drama: Pasta

What a refreshing series!

After being off K-dramas for a few months, I restarted with Mary Stayed Out All Night; entertaining though it was, stories cannot get any more bizarre. Followed this up with an old series, Attic Cat, but I had already seen its remake of sorts Full House, so there.

But Pasta was loads of fun. As the name indicates, the series is set in an up market Italian restaurant, La Sfera, where our hardworking Seo Yoo Kyung (Kong Hyo-Gin) has been toiling for three years as a kitchen assistant and has finally been offered a chance to hold the pan and hone her pasta-making skills. Overjoyed with the long-awaited opportunity, she bumps into an intriguing stranger on the crossroads where she is trying to save her goldfish.

The stranger, however, turns out to be the new head chef of La Sfera, Choi Hyun Wook (Lee Sun Gyun). The optimistic Yoo Kyung is happy to have her as her new boss but she soon finds that the Italy-returned, arrogant new chef detests girls in his kitchen. Hyun Wook sequentially fires all women chefs from his kitchen on his first day or so. Shattered but determined Yoo Kyung persists despite being fired and soon finds a spot for herself in Hyun Wook’s kitchen, quickly followed by one in his heart.

So, what is so special about this story, you ask? To begin with, it has well-etched protagonists and there is a definite character growth over the 20 episodes of the series. Second, the show does not call itself pasta for nothing; it has detailed scenes and drama around cooking. We see some real food being cooked, and though an Italian chef may disagree, for laymen the makers have done enough research.

What I loved the most was the breeziness of the show; despite the requisite drama in the story line, the series maintain a happy note throughout, and always end with a feel-good moment. The supporting characters played by the hot-hot-hot Alex and very pretty Lee Ha Nui are free of malice, which is almost unheard of in K-dramas. The love quadrangle has no scheming and plotting, just well-handled emotions.

The show is full of sweet moments but they do not end in the expected manner. You know how a sweet conversation between the girl and her admirer always ends with her boyfriend overhearing and misunderstanding? Nope, not even once. However, this does not mean that everyone is goody-two-shoes in this series; far from it, in fact. The main character starts off being a well-meaning pain-in-the-ass of a boss, whose confidence mixed with arrogance makes him look down on every other chef in his kitchen, but he slowly transforms into a good leader and teacher. The admirer of Yoo Kyung played by Alex is the most lovable character. He is a good friend, an understanding boss, and an empathetic lover, who knows when to step back but never does this in a spineless or spiteful way.

Additionally, the show does not depend on the clichés to ensure viewership. There are no super villains in the show and no one goes overseas for three years (although the last episode scares you with the probability for a while). Also, there are no overbearing almost-Indian parents poking their nose into every little thing and arranging marriages. The drama is added to the series by the chemistry between the chefs in the kitchen who are divided into two gangs, locals and Italian-trained. There is also an ex who sabotaged her boyfriend’s chances of winning a prestigious cooking contest in the past, and is now a rival but not the spiteful kind.

Lastly but very importantly, the show is full of lots of eye candy. A perfect way to unwind after a tedious day at work, I’d say.

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