Much as I adore the three protagonists — Poong, Chil-seong and Sae-woo — I can’t help but grind my teeth in frustration at their idiocy at times.
Poong, despite ALL his talents at cooking, is rather poor at nearly everything else. We already know he is proud, proud of his talent, proud of having made it “this far” (a 2-star Michelin awardee IS amazing) despite having a humble background…but it is also the same pride that leads him to trouble. Coupled with an innate hot headedness, and preference to jump to conclusions, there are times I wonder how he managed to survive thus far without getting knifed by angry colleagues. (more so when he can’t even put up a decent fight without getting his arms broken)
The treachery of his “friends” (and ex-subordinates) speaks volume. While you can argue that Bo-ra and Sam-sun stole his cookery notebook partly out of greed and partly to save their own skin from Chef Wang’s wrath (at their incompetence); the fact that they took to lying and ignoring a pitiful Poong (when he begs them to return the notebook) hints that they may not really like him as much as he imagine they do.
And, if that notebook was ALL important, why in the world did Poong omit to bring it along with he was fired? He chose instead to walk out with his wok and the clothes on his back only. A one of many examples where his anger just overtook him and make him common sense-less. Other incidents like charging into his love rival’s bedroom to confront his ex-wife, yelling at Sae-woo just cos he can’t control his feelings towards her — speak volumes about his EQ.
Similarly, Sae-woo, while bubbly and cheerful in adversity being her two strongest traits…is pretty much the hothouse bimbo at times. Ironically, when Sae-woo’s dad was handcuffed and led away by prosecutors, her MUM was the first one who understood the gravity of the situation and immediately tried to cut cost and find a job to support their veneer of “rich family” facade. Sae-woo…in the meantime, fussed over her hobby horse and borrowed money from a loanshark — just imagine if Chil-seong is your TYPICAL loanshark — to cure a horse which the vet already said is on its “last leg”, and euthanasia would have been a wiser choice.
She did ALL of the above, and not once did it occur to her that looking for a job and an INCOME may be the most logical thing to do after her father (the sole breadwinner) is incarcerated. Only when she learns her mum has taken on a dishwashing part time job did it hit her that for the past months (or weeks), she has been moping in her own bubble, still pretending she is a princess.
Lastly, Chil-seong… for a loanshark, and an ex (?) gangster, he is a big ol’ softie. (and that’s the worst trait I can find in him so far) And we know he had always been like that. He squirrelled away the ledger of his “partner”, because he wanted to give those who took out a loan, a way out — and more time to pay. Not cos their loans will attract compounded interest, but cos he can’t bear it to see his “partner” threaten the debtors and their family members — the usual loanshark way.
That softie in him also makes him the most tragic figure in the love triangle. He knows Sae-woo doesn’t like him, and likes Poong…and he adroitly guessed the feelings are mutual between the two. Though he doesn’t actively break them up, he still plaintively seeks for Sae-woo’s permission to continue liking her. (aww)
And despite knowing Poong is a rival in love doesn’t stop Chil-seong from loving Poong either. The near-death beatings he took to bring Poong his silly notebook say it all. We have a man with a giant jelly heart, destined only to get it (painfully) squished.