Phew okay, quite a bit to say about this one. I think this drama is really quite special. I haven’t seen anything like it in a very long time. Although the trailers might seem lighthearted and comical, there is nothing lighthearted about it. It is drenched with emotions and feels with a really great script. There is a lot of romance but the focus is more on the people finally moving on from them time seemed to stop three years ago. There is a great balance of emotional story, humor, and wits as well as darkness. Definitely a high budget drama with a cinematographer of great taste. There’s not much to say about the acting, all really good. I’m a big fan of Jiang Shu Ying and really like to see her versatility. The main characters all carry heavy stories. They have a lot of anger for the world but mostly at themselves and unspeakable sadness.
The drama starts off with Lu Yuan, a former Michelin chef who recently got out of jail in the states. He has turned into an alcoholic and while he is enjoying a ride with his only friend,Peng Hai, they get hit by a truck. Peng Hai passes, leaving him as the guardian of his daughter, Peng Jia He (Guan Xiao Tong). Lu Yuan is put in charge of Jia He’s inheritance until she turns eighteen. She holds a grudge against Lu Yuan, convinced that her father’s death was because of him. However, she doesn’t have much of a choice and they return to China together to find her mother.
Lu Yuan is a complicated person. He carries a lot of guilt for his past but always just smiles and acts like he’s okay. When he went to prison three years ago, he didn’t say a word to his girlfriend, Gan Jing (Che Xiao) and just left. Jiang Hao Kun (David Wang), his classmate and best friend, was the only person who knew of the truth and Lu Yuan made him keep it a secret. Hao Kun comes from a rich background and has always loved Gan Jing since their school days. However he held back because Lu Yuan and her were together. After Lu Yuan goes to jail, Hao Kun stays by Gan Jing’s side as a friend but seriously starts to court her. When Lu Yuan came out of jail, he was able to get a job at a restaurant. However that restaurant burned down in a fire and he consequently lost his sense of taste and smell, the biggest hit a chef can get.
Much to Hao Kun and Gan Jing’s shock, Lu Yuan comes back to China and is present when Hao Kun proposes to Gan Jing. She is unable to respond because Lu Yuan butts in. Of course Gan Jing is furious since she had been searching and waiting for him for three years. Lu Yuan acknowledges he hurt her in the past and that he has no power to take care of her. He (I guess?) gives his blessings to Gan Jing and Hao Kun but obviously Gan Jing isn’t just going to accept the proposal now that her former lover is back.
The other main character is Jiang Lai (Jiang Shu Ying), Hao Kun’s beloved little sister. Jiang Lai is a fierce woman and a terribly lonely one. Even more lonely than Lu Yuan. She grew up with everything served on a silver platter and developed a princess attitude. I think her lack of friends made her extremely attached to her despicable ex-boyfriend whom was forced into suicide from Hao Kun’s pressure. Jiang Lai is convinced that her ex was a great man and truly loved her. She blames Hao Kun for his death and wages a war on him. And man this woman is terrifying when she’s pissed and in despair. Although she asks very confident and cruel to her brother, you can tell she’s hurting a lot and seems to feel some guilt about the death.
Hao Kun’s methods to get her ex-boyfriend to leave her were underhanded and ultimately caused his death but I do feel some sympathy for him. In the end, he does everything out of love for his sister and Gan Jing. He’s definitely very conflicted. He wants to tell Gan Jing the truth about Lu Yuan’s disappearance three years ago but knows he must keep his promise. Although the show is really quite serious, there are some hilarious moments in there, especially between Hao Kun and Lu Yuan. Even though Hao Kun isn’t too happy that Lu Yuan is back, they’re still friends that bicker constantly. Gan Jing is really quite mature. She still has feelings for Lu Yuan but treats Hao Kun fairly and doesn’t just give in to Lu Yuan. She’s hurt and angry and has every right to be.
Coincidentally (obviously) Lu Yuan runs into Jiang Lai while she’s about to commit suicide. Since they’re both at a low point in their lives, they drink it out. He has no idea who she is and she has no idea who he is. In her fury, she takes Lu Yuan to her brother’s house and wrecks everything in there. Lu Yuan misunderstands and thinks Hao Kun was cheating on Gan Jing. Jiang Lai was so boss (and wasteful) in her bath of red wine afterwards. Lu Yuan decides he wants to win Gan Jing back, thinking Hao Kun is a cheater and not good enough for her.
Oh also for those of you EXO fans, Lay Zhang Yi Xing is in here as well!
I seriously love the dark humor in the drama. Lu Yuan acts like a jerk and an asshole to others in form of punishment for himself. He doesn’t think he deserves to have the kindness of his friends. But his witty mean remarks and responses are so funny and drive people like Jiang Hao Kun up the wall. Jiang Lai, however, who has been hanging with him, finds him and his personality amusing and learns to respond back just as brashly. Lu Yuan is clearly caring to the people around him but he just has a bad mouth. It was absolutely hilarious when Lu Yuan stalked Hao Kun 24/7 to see if he was cheating on Gan Jing. Although they’re in conflict with each other, you can tell their friendship had a really strong base for Hao Kun to continue to tolerate him. Jia He who holds a grudge for her father’s accident has warmed up to Lu Yuan a lot. They bicker like regular daughter and father.Her grandmother in China has Alzheimer’s and mistakes Lu Yuan as her son, Peng Hai, so he ends up staying there.
Lu Yuan in the mean time has began to pick himself up. He drives a head chef out of the best restaurant in Shanghai by cooking a dish better than the chef. He definitely holds up the title of a Michelin chef. He has lost his sense of taste as I mentioned before, so instead he makes his food by feeling and memory. Coincidentally, the restaurant happens to be owned by Hao Kun’s family, but he doesn’t know that. As Lu Yuan begins to to work, he sees Peng Hai’s ghost often. Of course he thinks it’s weird, but you can tell he is sort of glad to have a friend there even if it’s a spirit. On the days when Lu Yuan is alone in the kitchen, Peng Hai’s spirit comes and they talk together.
Xiao Cai (Lay Zhang Yi Xing), is an aspiring amateur cook who stalks Lu Yuan in admiration for him. Jia He catches him multiple times. He’s a bit meek which makes bullying him easy, but he persevere, wanting to have a spot in Lu Yuan’s kitchen. After a long game of chase, Lu Yuan allows him to work for him but he has to start at the bottom, preparing ingredients. Lu Yuan begins to see some of Xiao Cai’s qualities and uses him as a taster for his menu since he can’t taste anything.
Gan Jing is in constant turmoil with herself. She has no real intentions of getting back with Lu Yuan but is having a hard time moving on. Hao Kun for the most part is very understanding and patient with her. He has his own internal issues with himself as well. Jiang Lai is constantly sabotaging his place and bullying Gan Jing. She doesn’t hold anything personal to Gan Jing but bothers her as revenge to her brother for forcing her ex-boyfriend to suicide. Lu Yuan becomes Jiang Lai’s go-to friend when she’s bored. He often cooks for her when she visits him in the kitchen. She realized after the first time, her family owned the restaurant but she keeps mum.