...when the screen takes over...

Kang’s Kitchen, Second Episode (Part 2)

It’s another day and another challenge for Kang’s Kitchen. There is new menu on the table and new table to serve. Will they make it through the day still in harmony?

The morning has come. Some ‘Journey’ members are ready to go, some are still in dreamland. Soo-Geun tells the Kitchen team to go ahead but Ho-Dong insists they all go together. On the way to the restaurant, Ho-Dong and Soo-Geun give encouragement to the others. “Let’s survive!” They arrive at the restaurant earlier than yesterday, at 8 AM.

The Morning of First Breakfast

Ho-Dong pays extra attention on Min-Ho, asking if he’s okay. Min-Ho claims that he feels better than yesterday and goes out to redraw the menu board. At one corner, Ji-Won is squatting and watching him draw the menu. When Ji-Won approaches to appraise Min-Ho’s drawing, Min-Ho asks for input for he still needs to put a description. Ji-Won offers the line ‘get this donkatsu and be a Kang Ho-Dong’. Min-Ho writes it down and adds a black pig head stamp.

The Art of Writing Menu

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong and Jae-Hyeon make preparations. While at it, Ho-Dong helps himself to a bit of Jeju’s carrot, stuffs it to Soo-Geun’s mouth, and offers it to Jae-Hyeon. Jae-Hyeon thinks the carrot tastes sweet like persimmons. Ho-Dong keeps eating the carrot. He asks Soo-Geun, who is going to market, to get more Jeju’s carrots.

 

It’s Soo-Geun’s 12049th task: going to the city to shop. Today, he is accompanied by Min-Ho.

First off, they stop by a kitchenware store. Min-Ho looks for stainless steel bowl for sauce. Soo-Geun advises him to get the cheapest one and jokes around with the lady owner. Next, they go to the market to get meat, fashioned to the restaurant’s need, and strikes deal to put a regular order.

Shopping is fun indeed…

Soo-Geun’s morning routine is established. Day after day he goes to the kitchenware shop and the butcher’s. “Doesn’t it look like a rerun broadcast?” The difference are the clothes he wears, the company he keeps, and the conversation he has with the business owners.

It’s no wonder he knows what is where at the kitchenware shop that he finds stuff he needs by himself (‘I’ll see you tomorrow,’ he says to the lady owner, or ‘shouldn’t I come back in the evening?’). He navigates well in the market. He buys snacks or breakfast for the other ‘Journey’ members (like getting pretzels for Ji-Won because Ji-Won likes it).

Soo-Geun also cooks breakfast. Today, they can use ingredients and materials because they’ve got some left. He fries some eggs. Ji-Won protests why an employee cooks meal (shouldn’t the business owner provide it?). Ho-Dong, who’s enjoying his morning coffee in the Hall, laughs that he has become the evil business owner for starving his employees.

The First Breakfast

In the kitchen, Soo-Geun consults Jae-Hyeon if they can cook leftover eggs for dinner tonight. Jae-Hyeon supports the idea. After all fried eggs are done, Soo-Geun calls the others for breakfast. Min-Ho gets the steamed rice. They set a table for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Ji-Won is still cleaning the floor with the vacuum-cleaner. When he brings the vacuum-cleaner near the breakfast table, Ho-Dong scolds him. “We’re going to eat, why are you cleaning?”. Ji-Won laughs and fires back, “Well, why are you eating while I am cleaning?!” But he puts the cleaner away and joins the breakfast.

The Kang’s Kitchen’s employees’ breakfast table is set. Na PD remarks how employee warfare has improved. But Ji-Won states that he will only be working until today. A documentary-style skit on employee-owner dispute starts now. Eun Ji-Won (a real name of an unpaid worker) discloses that he has not received his wage. However, Boss Kang (an alias of the evil employer) claims that trainees don’t get paid. “Am I a trainee? I do this and that!” Ji-Won, who had left his trainee-days for 20 years, fires up. Since it’s time for breakfast, The documentary pauses here.

(Not-A-Trainee) unpaid Manager Eun vs. Boss Kang

Jae-Hyeon brings a steamed ketchup onion he made. In the kitchen, Soo-Geun is also cooking stir onion. There’s nothing else they can use but onion. But they still enjoy meal. Na PD comments how they look like they run a real restaurant business now that they have breakfast together. Jae-Hyeon notes that having meal like this is better than playing games for meal a la ‘New Journey To The West’ wake up/morning mission.

Na PD brings up the subject of employee welfare (does the documentary resume?). It is then declared that Kang’s Kitchen has no employee welfare policy. Ji-Won claims that Min-Ho’s and his aeroplane fares have not been reimbursed. Soo-Geun claims he got here by boat, a sad story that draws laughter from Ji-Won. “It took me two days!” and Ho-Dong joins the laugh. (But, employee welfare is no laughing matter, folks!)

To boost their morale, Boss Kang announces that they will go to the Karaoke on their final night if they manage to score surplus in the business. In an interview, Boss Kang promises that he will sing a song for the upcoming two hour Wednesday Night Karaoke session.

 

 

The countdown to opening hour has started. Today, they will run the business at full-scale.

An hour before opening business, the Hall starts preparing tables. Soo-Geun lights the outdoor fireplace. Jae-Hyeon prepares steamed rice, battered eggs and side-dishes. Beverage section’s Min-Ho washes the cups. Ji-Won puts hotpack into Min-Ho’s trousers’ pockets. Ji-Won cleans the tables, including the one table on the terrace that will be used for the first time today. In the kitchen, Soo-Geun washes dishes again (out of the cabbage hell into bottomless pit of dish-washing sinkhole) and still has a long to-do list.

Half an hour before opening, Ho-Dong notices overflowing water from the water purifier. Even the trustworthy Jae-Hyeon somehow has made mistake (‘His mind must have been elsewhere!’). In the Hall, Ji-Won is getting anxious. Soo-Geun finishes dish-washing after 30 minutes.

Finally, It’s opening time.

Kang’s Kitchen’s Second Day: Complexity Rises and Complication Arrives

The day’s first customers for the first table are a grandmother and a mother with a child. Min-Ho offers baby seat for the little girl although he can’t set it up properly without help from the girl’s mum. The second customers, a mother and her daughter, are seated at the third table, which is set for two.

Waiting for orders…

Ho-Dong hopes that their kid menu, the Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu, will be popular today. Indeed, there are many kids today and soon all tables in the Hall are occupied. The kitchen team get anxious. Ho-Dong reminds them not to worry about turnover rates, whatever happens he’ll treat them to meals as incentive. Soo-Geun looks at him as if he’s talking in foreign language and just wonders aloud why orders aren’t coming in. Ji-Won sticks the first table order on the board and the kitchen begins cooking.

A group of people come while the Hall is full so they take the table on the terrace. Min-Ho gives them the menu. He also tells them that they are the first to sit on these special seats. The terrace seats are special because of the scenery although it’s a bit cold today.

Outside, already there are people waiting.

The first Kang-Ho-Dong-Katsu for the day goes to the first table. As usual the size shocks the customers but they like the taste. The little girl on the baby seat repeatedly praises it.

The girl from the third table is unable to open the water bottle. Ji-Won notices her and comes to help. Then he takes large order from the fourth table, a group of four people.

The mother from the third table asks about the portion of a donkatsu. Ji-Won introduces Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu for the daughter but that would still leave them too much donkatsu to eat. She goes for one Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu and one omurice. The second table customers make their orders. The fifth table customers on the terrace also make their order.

Ji-Won realises they’ve got too much orders at the moment. The kitchen is under pressure. He also loses count of soup to serve the fourth table and it drives him crazy.

 

The Fourth Table’s Soup Problem

Originally, the soup serves as side dish to Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu. A serving of Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu gets a bowl of soup.

How many bowl of soup should be served?

There are four people, two of them are children, at the fourth table. They order one Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu, two Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu, one omurice, three buns of bread, and two drinks. How many bowls of soup should be served?

 

After some mental arithmatic gymnastics, our genius Ji-Won finally has an answer. He runs to the kitchen. “Three more soup, please…”

Ho-Dong asks about the mood in the Hall, which is fine. He also asks Ji-Won to calm dowm. “Don’t panic.”

The third table gets two soup, and the second table gets three. Jae-Hyeon checks the soup container and finds it depleted to almost none. Does everyone get soup? Apparently, Min-Ho and Ji-Won give soup to everyone at tables that have order for a Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu. They enter emergency mode for there is only one serving of soup remaining.

 

 

Meanwhile, Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu gets insteresting reactions. It makes people laugh, just like the man himself, for its shocking size relative to Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu’s. “It’s cute,” Ji-Won relays public opinion on Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu. The kitchen team stands proudly for this achievement, not knowing the trouble this donkatsu will stir.

Another trouble is brewing. Min-Ho notices that there are two orders for the second table. Ji-Won and Soo-Geun get into argument, trying to sort it out. Ho-Dong just watches them, holding himself from speaking.

And for us, audience, comes the shot of the day with a public service announcement: ‘Please wait a moment while your screen is adjusting for your peace of mind.’

Shot of the Day: Cosmic Intervention?

Ho-Dong reminds everyone to calm down. This is a happy kitchen even if it’s in crisis.

The fourth table calls for attention. They need more donkatsu souce. Food come out for the third table. During this hectic period, the fifth table on the terrace has been left out in peace. The first table also asks for more sauce. The fifth table customers finally get their food.

In the kitchen, the chefs prepare to cook more soup and get it done before new guests arrive. They have to make roux. Just then, the fourth table customers make additional order for take-away. Soo-Geun panics for they’ve never done take-aways before. Besides, the kitchen is busy preparing soup. Ho-Dong instructs Soo-Geun to calm down and do it step-by-step.

They all gather to prepare the take-away order. However, they neglect the roux-to-be that is being cooked — it is scorched. They have to start making roux all over again. Ji-Won drops one of the packed donkatsu that the sauce spills over. He cracks. He laughs while explaining which makes him sound unintelligible. He checks the other order and finds the omurice is missing an omelette.

Hilarious Kitchen

They also face another situation. Customers want their leftover packed to take away. And more take-away orders are on the way. Soo-Geun lets out some wear words, cursing take-away orders. Ho-Dong, once again, remind everyone not to get upset, to stay calm. For theirs is a happy kitchen.

A song from a sageuk plays along the end credits.

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