Home > Korean Dramas > Gourmet Episode 23, recap

Gourmet Episode 23, recap

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Penultimate episode! Omg. Will Evil Matsumoto be defeated? Will Joo Hee reconcile with Bong Joo? Will Bong Joo realize the errors of his ways? And, most importantly of all, will Sung Chan and Jin Soo kiss again? ๐Ÿ˜€

Gourmet 23

We start off with the funeral of chef Oh. Joo Hee fights back tears, Sung Chan and Bong Joo greet the mourners. Director Yoon arrives, which infuriates Ja Woon (half drunk and feeling terribly alone). Despite recent actions and words, Yoon isn’t hard-hearted, and genuinely grieves the loss of his friend.

Ohh. Matsumoto and underling comes, but Sung Chan and Bong Joo both refuse them the right of bowing down, as chef Oh would not have wanted it. Matsumoto looks affected by his death (though the overemphasis of fish eyes makes it hard to discern any sort of emotion). He and his underling go away quietly.

In the funerary procession, Sung Chan clutches the photo of his father numbly.

Everyone’s very sombre as they escort chef Oh’s remains down the hill of Un Ahm Jung. Sung Chan thinks back to all the times he’s spent with his father (have Kleenex ready), oh man. Bong Joo thinks back to … all the arguments they’ve had, which are much less happy than Sung Chan’s memories.

The procession itself is an interesting show of Korean culture.

It’s interesting to see that Jin Soo is standing in the same row as ‘family’, as in Joo Hee and Ja Woon.

From far away, Matsumoto watches the procession in his car.

At night, Bong Joo holds the jar of seed sauce and, dare I say it, feels bad for himself. Joo Hee comes in to check on him. He feels that he’s destroyed everything his father has worked for, and that the mess is all his fault. Joo Hee hugs him from behind, and tells him that it was a prepared attack – he had no way of knowing, and also apologizes for not being able to stop her father.

Sung Chan is silently mourning in the kitchen. Bong Joo comes also. They sit for a while in silence, but then Sung Chan breaks the silence by reminding his brother of their father’s last words. He’s willing to follow his older brother’s lead, and says so, stating that he’s willing to do anything.

However, Bong Joo has given up. He’s deep in his own valley of despair, give him some allowance.

Bong Joo: No matter how hard we try, we will only fail again and again for the world to see.
Sung Chan: I have nothing to lose. I can do anything and I’m sure working with you-
Bong Joo: Don’t say such childish things. They tied me up and then took the authority away. I couldn’t stop them. What can I do now that I couldn’t before? Working with you, even then, what will we accomplish? Don’t keeping hurting people, and let things be.
Sung Chan: I won’t. I won’t give up. I definitely can’t.

But Bong Joo’s gone away, and doesn’t hear him. (Aww. Bong Joo has yet to realize that authority comes from self-confidence, and not outside recognition…)

Min Woo treats Matusmoto’s sidekick to dinner, and asks, straight out, if he’s going to be the one in charge of Un Ahm Jung when all the dust settles. But obviously even we can tell Matsumoto wants Sung Chan to run it, in his name… Lol. Min Woo throws a few fits.

There’s also the handy fact that Sung Chan is the descendant of the imperial cooks.

The next day, Matsumoto brings a veritable army of people to do their thing and take over Un Ahm Jung. Most of the cooks look on darkly. It seems like Matusmoto doesn’t want to mess with something that already works, and plans to keep most people in their original posts – which is why his underling looks less than happy when he notes that Joo Hee isn’t here.

The newly expanded director Yoon makes a (pretty lame) speech about moving forwards and what not, when Ja Woon comes and gate-crashes. Yoon orders the old man be dragged out but both Sung Chan and Joo Hee. Yoon orders Sung Chan out but Joo Hee intervenes. Bong Joo walks by, defeated, and doesn’t listen to Sung Chan’s appeal for help at all.

Sung Chan gives Joo Hee a picture of his father and Matsumoto, and wants to know what kind of relationship the two men had… and it turns out Matsumoto had cooked here when he was younger.

Ja Woon’s take is that the man is completely nuts, and not to be trusted. Chef Oh had liked the other man’s passion and enthusiasm, but his obsession with taste had on occasion been almost fatal for the person eating his cooking… (here we have another instance of the philosophy that good food is one that makes the person eating it happy.)

Director Han is imparting his knowledge of Matsumoto to his underlings (comes at a particularly fortuitous time, and I wonder why he didn’t mention this to them last time). Anyhoo, he is famous not only for having spread his chain of Japanese food around the world, but also for challenging (and defeating) famous cooks from around the world…

His last contest with a Korean was with chef Oh. (I wonder who won?)

Back to Sung Chan, who is trying hard to figure out Matsumoto. He gets a call from Jin Soo before he depresses himself too much, and goes to meet her in a hotel lobby. Matsumoto wants to meet, dun dun dun.

Min Woo is incensed that he’s not going to be given the GM position of Un Ahm Jung. Matsumoto tells him that he lacks credibility (gee, wonder why) and tells his sidekick – Kimura – to terminate relations with him. That’s extreme, but hey, Min Woo kind of deserves it for being an ass.

He meets Jin Soo and Sung Chan on the way out, and he thinks that he’s gone and joined forces with Matsumoto.

Wow. Matsumoto still has the gall to ask for the shrimp. If Sung Chan cooks it for him and it manages to touch Matsumoto, then he will gind a way to ‘touch’ Sung Chan. Um? Surprisingly, Sung Chan agrees.

Sung Chan does his magic, but from his expression tastes something missing in the soup. Matsumoto takes great enjoyment and can identify the ingredients just from smelling the soup. He sips a spoonful.

He tells Sung Chan that he didn’t take enough care in cooking – so Sung Chan does it again. It is reminiscent of the time with the grandma, but a lot less nice, despite the gentler way Matsumoto speaks.

The second trial is also a failure, because Sung Chan’s anger is leaking into the cooking. Sung Chan strikes back, stating that perhaps the person eating should also be ready, that he didn’t taste the food chef Oh had so carefully prepared for him the last time.

Sung Chan thinks that Matsumoto came back here and set the events in place to avenge his rather ignominious dismissal from Un Ahm Jung, and though the other man doesn’t deny it, he also states a desire to taste the shrimp soup made by chef Oh.

In fact, his real goal is to win Sung Chan over to his side and have him cook for the globalized Un Ahm Jung… except that he offers a caveat – he can prove that Un Ahm Jung can do better than Matsumoto. If not, then Sung Chan has to work for Matsumoto. But it’s better than not having a chance of getting Un Ahm Jung back at all.

And we go back to the formula of cooking contests that has stood the series by, yo.

Bong Joo packs for his departure, taking all his possessions and shirts but not the picture of himself, Joo Hee and Sung Chan together. Joo Hee tries to convince him to stay, saying that he’s the one who can hold onto and defend Un Ahm Jung.

Dude, Bong Joo is valleys deep in self-pity right now, let him moan about how inferior he is. His pride and spirit will come around in time.

He apologizes for hurting Joo Hee, and leaves the room. (I have trouble reading Joo Hee, if only because I can’t tell if she truly cares for Bong Joo or just likes to cry, dammit.)

Bong Joo is cleaning up his chopping board, and takes a moment to smile at his own adventures in this kitchen.

Min Woo comes in at this opportune moment to spread some seeds of discontent – he tells Bong Joo that Sung Chan has been working with Matsumoto since the start. And honestly, I want to bash Bong Joo over the head with the rock of awareness, because, hello, who would you trust better? The guy who stabbed you in the back, or the little brother who’s always done the best he could?

At the bay, Jin Soo is phoning her boss over the probably confrontation between Sung Chan and Matsumoto. Sung Chan is still deliberating, because he doesn’t know if the risk is worth it. Jin Soo manages to convince him to give it a try, and Sung Chan gets up the courage to ask his brother for help.

Great. Bong Joo is doing another thundercloud act.

Sung Chan: I’ve got it! If we work together we really might have a chance at getting Un Ahm Jung back!
Bong Joo: It was yours in the beginning. What are you playing at, trying to get me to help you become the GM?
Sung Chan: Yah, what are you talking about? I’ve got a way for you to get the GM position back!
Bong Joo: And what is that?
Sung Chan: If we have a cooking contest with Matsumoto, with judges like famed food columnists, fairly and openly compete to bring Un Ahm Jung back to us.
Bong Joo: That sounds like it’s good enough for a dramatic play. I’m not interested. You can go ahead.

Alas for Sung Chan, Bong Joo leaves. The younger brother’s self-confidence is based on Bong Joo’s presence.

At Jin Soo’s workplace, the news is buzzing and they’re all awaiting the arrival of the judges. Jin Soo’s friend feels like Matsumoto is just using this as part of his strategy. Yeah, me too. Probably he wants to make it public enough that Sung Chan can’t possibly back out if he loses…

Oi! The food critic from earlier episodes, Ted Oh, comes back from the States! He dictates the terms of competition. The topic is the globalization of Korean food. They are each to prepare an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert. Both teams agree to have four cooks on site.

Both teams go back home to prepare. Sung Chan and Jang Goo make the main dish stuff, while an unnamed underling runs around helping.

Just then, Joo Hee runs in with the news that Bong Joo is leaving, and nothing she does can stop him. So she calls in the cavalry.

Mr. Tall, Moody and Gloomy has his suitcase with him, and looks like he’s going to leave. He still thinks Sung Chan is doing this for himself.

Sung Chan: Why are you leaving now? Un Ahm Jung’s fate will be determined in the next few days and you’re leaving?
Bong Joo: The fate of Un Ahm Jung? Why not say your fate and have done with it?
Sung Chan: I can’t do it without you! You know this, I need you to get Un Ahm Jung back!
Bong Joo: Well, work with things the way they are. I’m leaving.
Sung Chan: Fine! I’ll do it! I’ll get Un Ahm Jung back and show you then. I’ll do my best! I’ll wait for you, and do my best in the meantime! I know you’ll come back! I’ll wait for you.

It strikes me as odd that Sung Chan, who was so confident against other people, including Bong Joo, is suddenly experiencing a severe lack in self-confidence.

Jin Soo gets here in time to witness their parting. She chases after Bong Joo.

(In passing, why do both Joo Hee and Bong Joo drive SUVs? Don’t they know it’s bad for the environment??)

She tells him that she knows Sung Chan isn’t the type to do underhanded things, that even a dense and dimwitted person like her knows what kind of personality Sung Chan has. She tells him that she believes he will see the truth, and hands him a sheet with the specifics of the contest on it (it says, main competitors: Matsumoto and Kimura Toyo against Lee Sung Chan and Oh Bong Joo).


Joo Hee and her staff do their best to help Sung Chan out – the book pile grows into mountains, dude. The kitchens are empty but for the three cooks – they’re so busy they don’t even eat.

Bong Joo keeps being unavailable, much to Sung Chan’s secret distress. he calls his brother just to vent, and leaves a message there in hopes that Bong Joo will hear it.

Sung Chan: Tomorrow is the contest. We’re all working very hard, I’m smiling for the people watching me, but I feel like my heart is on fire. I’m worried and can’t get confident. Could you please help me? I feel like the first time I came to Un Ahm Jung. Come watch over your clueless brother, please. I will wait for you.

Sung Chan goes to the bar, where Bong Joo isn’t here, but a very drunk Min Woo is. The latter is still hung up about his rejection. Wow. Sung Chan is actually inviting Min Woo back.

This episode is the one where he shows his empathetic skills, I guess, as he reaches out to Min Woo, saying that he understands how much work Min Woo put into becoming a cook for Un Ahm Jung. He adds that they’re both being used by Matsumoto for his own goals… and that Un Ahm Jung needs him to guard it.

Sung Chan: You, me, Bong Joo, we all argued and fought because of our desires and human impulses, but the passion for cooking is still there. Our love for Un Ahm Jung is the same. Am I wrong?

(*vomits over the sap bus* It’s a good speech, but just a bit too good of Sung Chan. Then again, he’s always been better than the average person.)

Min Woo is invited to come tomorrow and participate.

Wow – so many distinguished guests, as well as the penal of furiously typing journalists. (Lols, I feel like that in class, and I don’t get paid to write everything down.)

Everyone’s surprised that Min Woo is part of Team Un Ahm Jung – in Bong Joo’s place. Matsumoto’s fine with their waiting, as he’s certain Bong Joo won’t turn up.

They even have an interpreter whom I can actually understand, good job, guys. 45 minutes to prepare an appetizer. Furious chopping and grating ensues. Matsumoto’s so hardcore he has his ingredients airlifted from Japan, all stored in vacuumed containers.

Bong Joo’s pacing around near his father’s grave. Ja Woon comes up to the mountain, shouting all the while. I admire his stamina and lungpower. Ja Woon tries to talk some sense into Bong Joo.

Ja Woon: Sung Chan’s been running in all the directions to get Un Ahm Jung back. As an older brother, can you just stand back and watch? Can you just abandon Un Ahm Jung so easily? I understand Matsumoto very well. Do you know how wily and cruel he is? Sung Chan cannot stand alone against him. He has to have you by his side. Haven’t you been preparing the globalization of Korean food for a long time? Go and help him!

Bong Joo stands listening to Sung Chan’s words from the night before.

Matsumoto is making fish salad and soup, which is suddenly a big deal when he starts using shrimp in the sauce, which Sung Chan prepares a salad from fish cake. Sung Chan’s also making yummy-looking shrimp porridge.

Ja Woon provides instant commentary to Joo Hee.

More foosplaining for both parties. Yum, food porn.

The commentator and crowd seem to be gravitating towards Matsumoto for the moment. Ted Oh gets up to taste the food to rapturous applause from the audience.

(Omg they’ve got random American commentary too.)

One of the things Sung Chan didn’t think of was actually something Bong Joo had earlier, and here they begin to feel the lack of a cosmopolitan like him.

The food’s rated for creativity, marketability and taste. Matsumoto: 10, 10, 10. Sung Chan: 10, 10, 9.

Why did he lose that one point – the taste was too ordinary, and didn’t use enough expensive ingredients to soothe the judges’ palates. The Matsumoto team is so smug it means that they will get a spectacular pratfall next episode. Yay.

Sung Chan is getting a panic attack right in the middle of the freaking competition. Hmm.

Annnnnnnnd! Just in time, Bong Joo arrives, in his ridiculously cute tall hat. Smiling on both sides, and shock from Matsumoto, obviously someone didn’t expect this.

End episode.


– Hmm. Things should clear up now that Bong Joo’s here to pad his food’s resumes. ๐Ÿ˜€

– Penultimate episode! The next one gets covered by irugnotmis, which means that this is the last Gourmet recap you’ll see from me… what a show this has been. It’s been a bit draggy at certain bits, but it’s solid acting and good planning all along.

– It’s been great writing the recaps, especially as I get to drool over the food… much thanks to irugnotmis for cooperating with me, and putting up with some lateness… and of course, and a big hug to you guys, for reading. ๐Ÿ˜€


  1. tisyamey
    Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    thanks dahling! i really really enjoy your little adlibs on the side… makes your summary so interesting… i’m really sad that this drama is over [yup, i’m reading this recap not for the summary but for the added extras you put in it] but since i have it on my hard drive, i guess i can revisit Un Ahm Jung any time i want to..
    kudos to you for your awesome work!!!

  2. Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    thanks for recapping half of Gourmet! ๐Ÿ™‚ and, isn’t the food so yummilicious-looking? *drools*

    “Bong Joo has yet to realize that authority comes from self-confidence, and not outside recognitionโ€ฆ”
    true true, but without outside recognition how does he know what he feels is self-confidence, not some ill-founded arrogance?

    PS: tell me if you’re up for another collaboration cuz i need to lighten up my load too ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. coollady
    Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    thank you Sevenses for your excellent summaries. they were detailed, comical, and witty. can’t tell you how nice it’s been to have each Gourmet episode summarized. i don’t speak korean but i watch the drama anyways cause it’s so freakin’ awesome and good. therefore, your summaries have not only been helpful but entertaining as well. thanks again and i hope you keep up with your blogging.

  4. jonni
    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Thanks so much Sevenses for all the recaps.They have been so much fun reading.I love your personal comments which you put along the way.

    take care always.

  5. all4movies
    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for all your hard work.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on the english subbed version.

  6. M
    Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    nice recap! very detailed.. thanks!

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