Gourmet 12

*taking the torch from Sevenses, inner gasp: OMG OLYMPICS is in … two weeks!*

Before Olympics starts, let’s take a look at the DM beef contest in Gourmet instead.

It’s now the second half of the second round – the butchers’ skill show-down. *Hooray!* To ensure the freshness of the beef, the competition is taking place in a large storage room under 15 degrees Celsius. Jin Soo and her boss continue to host the competition, and the four remaining competitors include Butcher Kang and Jang Goo – our infamous ex-Un Ahm Jung employer.

The competition starts. Each of the four confident butchers stab their knife into the beef and commences the intense labor of meat dividing. Butcher Kang first separates the hind leg of the beef and place it on the large metal cutting table. The others follow suite. Kang starts on the back. The other butchers nervously glance at Kang’s progression, alarmed at his incredible speed, they each hasten their own work. Although taking the lead, Butcher Kang’s injured hand starts to ache from the aggressive movements of beef cutting. He starts to lose agility. (UGH Jang Goo you bastard!) Realizing his hand couldn’t hold much longer, our dedicated butcher Kang omits the break and jump right back to work. Finally, last night’s injure is taking possession of butcher Kang. He gasps in pain. Jang Goo, who’s been paying close attention to Kang’s condition lets out a wicked smile. (Jang Goo probably hears a lot of faint growling noises in his left ear. Yup, that would be the angry audience.)

Sung Chan, Butcher Kang’s daughter, and Chief Oh are watching intensely. Butcher Kang starts to stagger. Literally. He misses one cut. The situation doesn’t look too promising.

To lighten the atmosphere a little, the camera cuts to Dal Pyung, clean shaven and meticulously making food in the kitchen, alone. Incredulous and incredible. He enters the TV room where all the other people are watching the competition with full attention. (One of Un Ahm Jung’s brilliant methods of expanding its franchise is to let all of its chiefs watch a competition rather than cook in the kitchen?) His entrance soon attracts a group of waitresses whom he offers food to. He, like Jang Goo take a particular interest in the head waitress. Hah that green monster Jang Goo has a rival. Not only a career competitor, but also a love rival.

Back to the butchering table, it’s not towards the end of the competition and butcher Kang is losing it slowly. Taking advantage of the unfairness, Jang Goo is catching up to Kang. Fine, after falling off their pompous chair during the first part of the competition, Un Ahm Jung needs a little victory for balance.

Next to Dal Pyung, the head waitress is swooning over Jang Goo’s butchering skills. Dal Pyung sourly murmurs in a low voice.

Butcher Kang is exhausted. He stopped all together for a short break before continuing on, leaving room for the others to catch on. Sung Chan stands up all of a sudden, he has spotted the blood dripping from Butcher Kang’s garment. “He was hurt..” Sung Chan starts to walk towards Kang to stop him. Director Seo stops Sung Chan since the competition is almost over anyway. Kang waves a hand at Sung Chan to tell him not to worry. (How?) No doubt, Jang Goo completes first. He only took an hour and three minutes. Kang ends up last.

He doesn’t give up, although barely holding up, butcher Kang continues. Finally, Sung Chan walks over and yells withdraw. The staff stops him from advancing, the crowd stand up to watch. That is when people start to notice the blood running down butcher Kang’s white pants. The word’s out, butcher Kang was hurt.

Kang’s daughter shoots up from the sofa where she’s been watching the competition broadcasting Live and storms out of the room. Although still hosting, Jin Soo starts to panic. She yells out loud that butcher Kang should be taken to the hospital. Her boss tries to remind her it’s airing live, Jin Soo asserts that when someone’s hurt like that, you take him to the hospital!

Sung Chan attempts to persuade Kang to stop, Kang refuses. “No, I’m continuing. Until the end.” he tells Sung Chan. Now teary eyed, Sung Chan begs, “Stop, before something worse happens.” Butcher Kang looks back at Sung Chan, pain in his eyes. Sung Chan twists his head to hide the tears. Time continues to tick, the scarlet blood on Kang’s pants turns to crimson. But the man continues. Until, he’s finally done. The audience claps in unison for this praiseworthy butcher. He faints and is then carried to the emergency room.

Although the speed of the butchers are evident, their skills await the judgment. When the results for accuracy are in, three out of the four butchers are deducted points for small mistakes here and there, only Kang’s end result turns out to be perfect. Zero deduction. Impeccable. The result ascertains Kang’s true ability – even under pain, he is still capable of producing flawless beef.

The final ranking starts with Un Ahm Jung on top and ends with Sung Chan’s team on the bottom. Close. Needless to say, Un Ahm Jung aren’t too happy to see Director Seo’s team place fourth. Now, a final round, similar to that of the heirship cook-off, will determine the winner of this competition.

All Kang’s friends, relatives, loved ones crowd in the hospital bed around him. He comforts his daughter not to carry any negative feelings, for the sake of her baby and his grandchild. Jin Soo inquires for the cause of the injury, butcher Kang assures Sung Chan it’s nothing big and urges him to invest his energy in the last part of the competition rather than worrying over his injury.

Un Ahm Jung celebrates their success. Jang Goo glances over and accidentally sees the head waitress feeding Dal Pyung a piece of food and he, leans in and picks up a hair from her shoulder. Uh oh, I smell some comical trouble ahead. Right when Jang Goo is about to separate the two flirting couple, the surrounding people start to gossip about butcher Kang’s injury – a sure topic. Anyway, Jang Goo gets a raise as the result of the competition.

Sung Chan’s best pal Suk Dong pays Sung Chan a visit. Jin Soo happens to come home with Sung Chan to free load dinner off him. Naturally Sung Chan prepares meal for the three of them.

Dal Pyungs Master Piece

Suk Dong volunteers to be Sung Chan’s assistant for part three of the competition. Sung Chan refuses and tells Suk Dong to return to Un Ahm Jung to perfect his skill. Suk Dong resists and accidentally let slip the reason why Sung Chan left the restaurant in the first place. Sung Chan stops him before Suk Dong can reveal more. Too late, Jin Soo has heard enough to get a glimpse of the conflicts between the brothers.

Jang Goo returns to Un Ahm Jung kitchen. He is especially dissatisfied with the way many chiefs are measuring their ingredients the same meticulous ways Dal Pyung is doing his cooking. Of course, Jang Goo’s major annoyance is at Dal Pyung himself. The two man enter into an argument. Dal Pyung wants to get the dishes done so the customers don’t have to wait as much; Jang Goo is more concerned with power and is missing no chance to exercise it. The head waitress watches in the corner. Jang Goo fires Dal Pyung on the spot. Dal Pyung has gained himself immense popularity with the ladies and some chiefs with his excellent taste buds, his departure makes quite a few fellow chiefs unhappy. Nonetheless, Dal Pyung accepts it with grace. He bows at Jang Goo and makes the final request to prepare dinner for all the chiefs tonight.

Jin Soo makes her way to Un Ahm Jung to talk to Bong Joo. She angrily confronts Bong Joo of the various recent indecencies in Un Ahm Jung. Say, Suk Dong won the competition in Un Ahm Jung for his beef dish and supposedly earns the qualification to compete in the DM Beef contest. What happened to him? Oh he was only fired. On top of that, Un Ahm Jung, a top quality restaurant resorted to rob someone else’s cow. What else? Oh yeah the black mail. Butcher Kang wasn’t only threatened, he was bribed with money to refrain from joining the competition oppose Un Ahm Jung. Facing Jin Soo’s accusation, Bong Joo is rather nonchalant. Instead, he makes Jin Soo help him carry books as he take them down the shelf. (What is this man thinking? By the time he finish flipping through the mountain of books he took from the shelf, the competition is probably already over.)

Jin Soo stands around to help Bong Joo so she can gather information for the coverage of the competition, and for Sung Chan. Bong Joo accidentally loses balance on the ladder and he falls on Jin Soo. Joo Hee witnesses it from outside and intervenes. She puts on a strict face and politely tells Jin Soo that she’s asking too many questions. Someone’s jealous.

Outside, the various Un Ahm Jung chiefs are brushing up on their skills with BBQing beef. Meanwhile, Sung Chan is looking for coal. Good coal. Ehh, not a very smooth trip, let’s just say. He ends up have to go in the forest to search for a tree by himself. Jin Soo follows suite after finding out Sung Chan went on the coal search expedition without her. Both get lost in the forest. And the sun is about to get off from work. Hmm some late night forest romance time I presume.

Jin Soo calls Sung Chan. Sung Chan complains about Jin Soo bringing him trouble, but sets off running to find her. Before he even finds her, Jin Soo’s phone runs out of battery. Wonderful. Now she can only resort to singing that will hopefully make enough noise to guide Sung Chan to her.

Boxes and boxes of top quality coals are shipped into Un Ahm Jung for the last part of the competition. Bong Joo isn’t willing to settle for those. He wants to find something better, which ultimately leads him to Chief Oh, and most probably, the same coal Sung Chan will be searching for. Yup, we’re jumping back to the competition after an intermission of the everyday lives of our characters. (It still bugs me to see Kim So Yun with different hair styles in a supposedly consecutive scene.)

Bong Joo confronts his father to pass him on with the secret of the best coal. Chief Oh is reluctant because the secret is said to only pass on to the owner of Un Ahm Jung. “Only this time, consider me as your son.” Bong Joo begs. …

Dal Pyung prepares the final meal for his colleagues – bibimbap. The same attention for accuracy for every single ingredient. The other coworkers crowd around him to offer help, which he politely declines.

He gives an incessant speech before dinner explaining the intention of making bibimbap: whether it’s frustration, disdain, or even distaste that his fellow chiefs felt towards him during the past working period, let them mix all the emotions and eat it away. He then sits down next to Jang Goo and explains that his leave will put everything back to the way it was before and handling the kitchen back to Jang Goo. Now it’s Jang Goo’s turn to feel ashamed. Finally, Dal Pyung kindhearted warms Jang Goo: Don’t regard first place with too much importance. What’s truly important is the work people put into to obtain that first place. Finally, Dal Pyung praises Jang Goo for his excellent performance at the competition.

Jin Soo is still singing in the now darkened forest, her voice already coarse from overuse. (She’s so adorable!) Sung Chan is no where to be seen. The owls hoops overhead, Jin Soo covers her ears in fear, but remembering that her singing is the only way to lead Sung Chan to her, she resumes singing, louder than before. Sung Chan is still not there, but the owls hoop louder. Jin Soo is in tears. Finally a dim light moves towards Jin Soo’s direction. They find each other. Yay!

Jin Soo hopps towards Sung Chan and starts crying… (AWWWWW!!) He gently pats her back in return.

With abundant coals around, Joo Hee’s dad bakes some yam and brings to the Chief Oh’s room where Ja Woon is discussion whether to pass the secret of making coal to Bong Joo with Chief Oh. The three old man eat delicious yam and recalls old memories of sneaking yams behind the Chief executive’s back. Watching the two old man playing and eating like carefree children, Chief Oh remembers his son Bong Joo. He brings some hot yam to Bong Joo’s room, but it’s empty. Bong Joo is still at the desk. Chief Oh watches his son from the glass window pensively…

After establishing the brotherly conflict, Gourmet has finally made room for the romantic development at its half point. No complains on the slow progression, because the transition is well made and natural. 🙂

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