Hey everyone! I’d like to give a warm welcome to YuShi! (๑>ᴗ<๑) She was interested in contributing to DramaMLKY so here’s her recap on Dating In the Kitchen episode 1!
But before we get started, YuShi can you tell us something about yourself?
YuShi: I am a pre-middle aged, elementary school teacher who fell in love with C-dramas because of the pandemic.
The first one I watched was the new Meteor Garden. I was hooked!
My four kids (yes you read that right, 4 kids) and husband roll their eyes at my new found love.
I don’t think my obsession is going anywhere because China is just a part of my life.
I once taught in China. I currently teach English to Chinese students and I am learning Chinese.
Feel free to check out my watch list here https://mydramalist.com/dramalist/8116745
Or follow me on Instagram @cdrama_quotes
Some of my favorite C-Dramas are:
Go, Go Squid
Ode to Joy
A Love So Beautiful
Ashes of Love
Some of my favorite Actresses are:
Liu Min Tao (the perfect actress for mom-like characters)
Some of my favorite Actors are:
Zhang Bin Bin
Wow, she has one of my favorites in her list! (Psst, it’s Go Go Squid, if you haven’t tried it, go watch it!)
Anyways, I look forward to her recaps and I hope you will too!
Dating In the Kitchen Episode 1 Recap Highlights:
- While at work, Gu Sheng Nan starts a fire in the storeroom.
- Gu Sheng Nan vandalizes a car to try to avenge a friend.
- Lu Jin is assessing a hotel to possibly buy it, but isn’t impressed with the food. He only likes one dish.
- Lu Jin eats at a diner and is impressed with the food. He wants to meet the Chef.
If you’re also interested in helping out with recaps or first impressions/reviews of some cdramas, contact us!
With that said, let’s jump into Dating In the Kitchen episode 1!
Hello Gu Sheng Nan
The drama starts off with Gu Sheng Nan getting ready to go to work.
She is a happy, carefree kind of person as she rides her bike through her neighborhood.
While the Drama’s theme song is playing.
It is a totally catchy, sugar sweet pop song.
Right off the bat, the drama starts visually tantalizing our taste buds. We haven’t seen Gu Sheng Nan cook yet, but there is plenty of cooking footage to enjoy.
The Work Place: Bauhinia Hotel
Gu Sheng Nan works in a fancy Hotel.
She has a special uniform for the kitchen which includes a bandana in her hair.
She exudes a confident attitude as she proudly walks into the kitchen exclaiming: “I am here.”
Then she is given her task: peeling potatoes and pulling the digestive track out of shrimp.
Wait! Is Gu Sheng Nan just a prep cook?
One of the Chefs informs the kitchen employees that a VIP guest is arriving today. He will be the future financial backer of the hotel.
Gu Sheng Nan begins her tasks.
One of the other employees, Big Trumpet, asks Gu Sheng Nan a question: Will she make Finger-Licking Fried Rice for them?
It doesn’t take much to convince Gu Sheng Nan to cook in secret.
It is entertaining to hear Gu Sheng Nan talk about cooking. I love watching the images too.
When the food is done, her friend, Da La Ba or Big Trumpet, meets her in the storeroom. Gu Sheng Nan runs out quickly to get one more spice. Big Trumpet leaves the room to answer a call.
The camera focuses on a power strip. The cord has been taped up with electrical tape.
Gu Sheng Nan returns to the room; it has caught fire. She yells for help, but no one comes to assist. As she panics, we get a glimpse of a man in a suit walking down the hall.
Is this the executive that is coming to take over the hotel? Our first glimpse of the leading man?
Gu Sheng Nan runs out of the room to find help/find a way to quell the flames. She takes her scarf off her head and ties it around her nose and mouth to guard against the smoke.
While she is gone, a nicely dressed man, who happens to be walking by, notices the flames.
He calmly looks at the situation. Then takes out a cigar and lights it.
Gu Sheng Nan returns with a bucket of water. When she spots the mystery guy she stops. She is worried he will use the cigar to sound the alarm.
If he does that her boss will find out about her cooking in the storeroom.
As the man reaches up with the cigar to set off the alarm, Gu Sheng Nan desperately douses the cigar, and man, with water.
Phew! Hopefully she won’t be found out!
The mystery man then reaches up with a lighter and sets off the sprinklers.
On his way out the door he glances back for a second; he and Gu Sheng Nan look at each other. A slow, romantic tune plays.
Gu Sheng Nan snaps back to reality when the other chefs charge in to put out the fire.
Is Gu Sheng Nan already attracted to him?
Scolding Part 1
Gu Sheng Nan looks dejected as Manager Shen scolds her. The manager asks her to rat out the other co-workers involved in the storeroom incident.
ShengNan protects her friend and humbly takes the full blame.
The atmosphere changes a little when Manager Shen starts talking about punishments. Gu Sheng Nan’s humility melts away and her survival instinct surfaces.
She begins to shrewdly negotiate the punishment with her manager, but the phone rings.
Manager Shen gets a call informing him that the executive, who is acquiring the hotel, saw the fire incident.
Gu Sheng Nan is fired.
Hello President Lu!
Yea! We are learning the mystery guy’s name.
President Lu enters room 1123 and acts quite standoffish to Manager Shen. His assistant speaks for him.
The manager is ordered to send up the kitchen’s best food.
Does this guy just think he is better than everyone else? What are your first impressions of President Lu?
Scolding Part 2
ShengNan goes home and cooks herself a meal while cursing the mystery guy who set off the sprinklers.
She scolds a shrimp:
“I wish you no seasoning when eating instant noodles. I wish you not to be able to pull the ring when opening a can. I wish you no ringing when you set an alarm clock. I wish you no appetite when eating anything.”
-Gu Sheng Nan
This is one of my favorite quotes from this drama. It is also a great illustration of Gu Sheng Nan’s pixie-like nature— cheerful and mischievous.
Scolding Part 3
The person acquiring the Hotel is NOT happy with the quality of food. He scolds the manager.
This guy is cold and heartless.
The person in room 1123 keeps requesting better food, but the chefs don’t know what else to make.
Big Trumpet says he has an idea.
The Hotel tries one last dish, the one Gu Sheng Nan made, and the executive eats all of it.
The executive asks to meet the Chef, but the manager lies and says she took some time off.
This is not good in the eyes of the executive. President Lu says he will not pay as much to acquire the hotel.
This is quite upsetting to Manager Shen.
Gu Sheng Nan the Avenger?
The audience’s interest is perked when we see Gu Sheng Nan in a parking garage. She is on the phone with her friend who was supposed to meet her there at 10 AM.
Xu Zhaodi tells Shengnan She’ll meet up with her. She is currently at the police station getting a new ID card. The guy she was with at the disco stole her stuff last night.
Gu Sheng Nan tells her friend to hurry up since they are avenging her.
Clearly they will be vandalizing someone’s car.
Shengnan thinks about using a hammer to break the windshield of a car.
Then she thinks about the consequences. She realizes her friend will NOT help her if she gets in trouble.
Gu Sheng Nan uses a different method to vandalize the car—flour and uncooked noodles.
As she is finishing, Xu Zhaodi calls wondering where ShengNan is. It turns out that Gu Sheng Nan is in the wrong place.
Why is it him?
Unfortunately, Gu Sheng Nan gets caught by the owner.
She realizes it is the guy from the kitchen fire. He doesn’t recognize her.
This is one of my favorite parts of Episode 1 and actually the drama because we get to see Shengnan’s creativity and ability to think on her feet.
Gu Sheng Nan slides her arm down the side of the car, puts on a flirtatious look, and begins speaking in Korean.
Unfortunately President Lu speaks Korean too. He stops her and gets her to speak in Chinese again.
Then he makes her get back in the car so he can record her vandalization for evidence.
President Lu wants to call the police, but Shengnan’s survival skills kick in again and tries to convince him not to. “It really isn’t a big deal, look you can just wipe it off.”
She just keeps getting deeper and deeper into this mess when flour gets all over President Lu.
Since Gu Sheng Nan has said she will pay for damages and since President Lu has evidence, President Lu won’t call the police right away. President Lu tells ShengNan to call a number within 30 min.
How is he going to write the number down? He is looking for a piece of paper, but can’t find one. So Gu Sheng Nan offers her forehead for him to write it down. She gets pretty close to his face.
Romantic music starts playing again. You can see President Lu’s Adam’s apple quivering.
Did she do this on purpose to throw him off? Because he definitely seems a little distracted?
President Lu doesn’t stay off track for long. He tells Gu Sheng Nan to turn around and he writes the number down on her purse.
Then he gets in the car, reminds her to call him in 30 minutes, and drives away.
He gets another cloud of flour in his face.
Gu Sheng Nan goes to her friend, but Zhaodi is not willing to help at all.
This gives us a look into Zhaodi’s character. She does not seem like a person who takes responsibility for her life.
Zhaodi pushes things on to other people.
She enjoys living life up, playing pranks, going to discos. She doesn’t seem to take life super seriously.
Gu Sheng Nan tries to get help from another friend, Gao Quan An, but he is not willing to help.
This guy gives us a small look into Gu Sheng Nan’s past. Apparently she and Zhaodi have gotten into a lot of trouble and he does not feel like bailing them out again.
We find out the relationship between Gao Quan An and Gu Sheng Nan.
Even though she calls him uncle he is actually her mom’s cousin. So he doesn’t feel any familial obligation to help her.
He does admit to being besties with her though.
We learn Gao Quan An is a little goofy when he locks Gu Sheng Nan out of his shop and pretends to swallow the key.
Such a quirky tailor.
President Lu’s Mom
Next we see a wide shot with a character far off, standing by the window.
This kind of shot is a red flag letting you know this is the antagonist.
She is on the phone with her son President Lu telling him to hurry up and finish the hotel project.
At the end of the phone call President Lu asks, “Don’t you have anything else to say to me?”
But she doesn’t tell him what he wants.
President Lu gets a text message wishing him a happy birthday from Suhai Bank.
(Product placement maybe?)
President Lu makes himself instant noodles, lights candles –he is celebrating his birthday by himself.
I can’t believe his mom didn’t even wish him a happy birthday.
Also the Instant noodles seem strange because he was so picky about food previously. But the whole situation makes him seem quite pitiful.
President Lu’s assistant walks in to wish him a happy birthday. The assistant gives him a present, but he isn’t sure if it is a pumpkin or a Ruyi.
A Ruyi is a kind of scepter that means good fortune and also means, “As you wish.”
A pumpkin, in China, would mean prosperity, abundance, enchantment, etc. Of course in western culture a pumpkin is an allusion to the fairytale Cinderella. Whatever your interpretation, this gift is definitely some foreshadowing.
Yard Fry Diner
A senior man is cooking for customers. He chats with one and goes about his business.
I sure love all these food shots. They are so pretty and I can’t look away from them. I hope there are many, many more.
Gu Sheng Nan finds her grandpa and sits down to talk to him. We learn that grandpa didn’t want Gu Sheng Nan to become a chef.
Is it any wonder this crafty independent girl did exactly what her grandfather told her not to?
But we also learn that it is NanNan’s birthday?!? Grandpa gives her a red envelope.
Coincidence or Fate?
After Grandpa and NanNan talk, Grandpa goes to use the restroom. He warns Gu Sheng Nan, “Don’t touch my spatula.”
Gu Sheng Nan notices a customer ordering food, but her grandpa is not around. So, like the little pixie she is, she disobeys her grandfather and starts cooking for the customer.
I really like the parts where she is cooking (cue cute theme music). The cinematography on the food makes me so hungry and happy.
We can also tell that Gu Sheng Nan is super happy to be a Chef.
In the meantime, President Lu is dissatisfied with his instant noodles. He leaves the hotel to find something to eat.
Where does he go? Yard Fry Diner; Gu Sheng Nan’s, grandpa’s restaurant.
How in the world did Lu Zo decide to go there? Does it have good reviews on the internet? Did the boss at the hotel tell him that it is her family’s restaurant? Let me know what you think.
President Lu is served food made by Gu Sheng Nan.
When eating it, the same romantic music from before starts playing. He heads to the kitchen to find out who the chef is.
Cinderella Always Runs
When President Lu enters the kitchen he sees the back of Gu Sheng Nan. She twirls a spoon around her fingers and fastens it into her hair making a messy bun.
The Camera lingers on her head and neck sending a message to the audience that President Lu is enamored. He displays a pleasant half smile which completely contrasts with the cold executive we met previously.
When Grandpa comes back to the kitchen, Gu Sheng Nan runs away. In her flight the spoon falls out of her hair. President Lu picks it up.
Another Cinderella reference?
Grandpa asks Mr. Lu what he is doing in his kitchen. President Lu says he wants to meet the Chef who made his food.
Wondering who is whom? Check out this Character Page! (WIP)
Is it true? Do President Lu and Gu Sheng Nan have the same birthday?
Does this become a thing in the drama? What do you think?
And will this bring the two leads together (Like Well-Intended Love)?
Oh and the diner!
Will Lu Zo get to meet ShengNan at the diner? Or does NanNan escape this fated introduction again?
What do you think? If you had any thoughts about Dating In the Kitchen Episode 1, leave a comment below!