...when the screen takes over...

Youn’s Kitchen, Season 2 Episode 1 (Part 2)

As Youn’s Kitchen’s opening day draws near, fear and doubts attack. A menu evaluation results in failure. Adjustment and compromise are in order. Will their bibimbab win the hearts of people of Garachico?

Let’s go see the sea!

The sun is up. The Garachico residents start their day. Businesses prepare. People take morning walks. Seo-Jin suggests they take the road by the sea.

“The sky is beautiful,” Yu-Mi says while they are walking in leisure to the restaurant, strolling by the sea. The casts take a little detour to admire the landscape. Seo-Joon points at a spot that leads to the natural swimming pool, formed among rocks that trap seawater. Seo-Joon and Boss Youn enjoy the sight of the seafront from an embankment. Seo-Jin and Yu-Mi walk closer to the rocks and see the pool. She can’t stop saying “daebak!”

Going to work via the seafront

After a while, they continue walking towards Youn’s Kitchen. As they approach Youn’s Kitchen, Boss Youn remarks on the building. “It looks African with the rocks and red clay.” It is a different shade of red to clay they have in Korea.

They will start the simulation.

The Simulation Day

Boss Youn changes her shoes into her working shoes. Yu-Mi asks if she should start with rice. Boss Youn tells her to make the broth first. It’s the secret to the special Youn’s Kitchen’s rice and Yu-Mi is good at making it.

Yu-Mi starts boiling water with kelp and anchovies. Seo-Joon pops up through a window frame bringing apron and telling her to wear it. With his help, Yu-Mi puts on the apron.

“I’ll cut the vegetables,” Seo-Joon says. Yu-Mi reminds him to wash them first. Seo-Joon washes them silently.

Seo-Jin approaches Boss Youn who’s scooping rice into the cooking pot. He takes the pot and washes the rice. Once the broth is ready, Boss Youn takes a cup of it and put it into the rice along with enough water. The rice is ready to be steamed in the rice cooker. “The first rice to be cooked,” Yu-Mi says.

Boss Youn goes to the Hall. Seo-Joon gives her the freshly washed vegetables. The tedious process of julienning lots of vegetables begins.

Chef Lee Won-Il told them, Bibimbab is a difficult dish. “You fry this and that, prepare the sauce and rice, and then fry the egg right before serving.” That is why “a bibimbab restaurant only make bibimbab,” he said. “Are you sure you really want to do it?”

Boss Youn is experimenting with the cuts. She asks the others about it. She thinks long thin cuts look better. She gains speed and finesse as she goes along.

There are alot to prepare: spinach, paprika, korean zucchinis, lettuce, onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Except spinach, all need to be cut.

Before and After

Boss Youn asks Seo-Joon if he knows how to get the flesh out of zucchini. Seo-Joon tells her to use spoon, a technique he learned from his mother. Seo-Joon goes on with getting zucchini’s flesh out with spoon and keeping the shell. He then continues with paprika.

Yu-Mi helps with cutting carrots and eats the unwanted cuts. Seo-Joon joins the julliene party with cutting paprika. Boss Youn comments that cutting the vegetables reminds her of Han Seok-Bong’s mother. “She can even cut with her eyes closed (in the dark),” she says.

Then they hear loud thuds. “What are you doing?” Boss Youn asks Seo-Jin. “I’m cutting meat,” Director Lee says, who is in charge of meat. He uses a huge knife and a lot of force to cut that he sweats.

Boss Youn and Seo-Joon discuss onion slicing. Seo-Joon follows her instruction, slicing onions with the prefered thinness. Boss Youn checks on Yu-Mi cutting carrots. She approves the result. “Preparing vegetables can take up an entire day,” Boss Youn says. But after all the cutting and slicing, they get nice supply of neatly sliced veggies.

In the kitchen, Boss Youn stir-fries carrots with Yu-Mi seasoning them with salt. They notice that the thin cuts make them cooked faster. They continue stir-frying the rest of the vegetables.

a busy kitchen for the first time

Seo-Jin asks if they should season the meat. Seo-Joon prepares the bowl for the seasoning. The recipe says dark soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, crushed garlic, pear juice, blackpepper in the ratio  2 : 1 : 1 : ½ : 1 : x (x isn’t specified, perhaps for however much you fancy). For the spicy one, they would use gochujang and red pepper, as in gochujang, dark soy sauce, cooking wine, pear juice, sugar, crushed garlic, and red pepper in the ratio  4 : 1 : 1 : 2 : 2 : 1 : 1. Boss Youn makes changes as to reduce sugar. Seo-Joon goes on making the seasonings as specified and uses it to marinate the meat.

Boss Youn and Yu-Mi blanch the spinach, soaking it in boiling for fifteen seconds, taking it out and rinsing it with cold water. They season it with soy sauce, black pepper, crushed garlic, sesame oil, and sesame seed. Boss Youn takes a bite and thinks it’s okay.

Seo-Jin tells Seo-Joon that they need to prepare sauce for their Bibimbab variants. Seo-Joon cooks them, the basic with soy sauce and the spicy with gochujang. “I’m done!” Seo-Joon says with joy once the sauce is done.

Seo-Joon whispers that this is not easy. “Do you regret coming here?” Boss Youn’s voice is heard. “Eh?” Seo-Joon sounds taken aback.



Bibimbab Evalution

They try the bibimbab of different seasoning and sauce: bibimbab with meat and gochujang sauce, bulgogi bibimbab and soy sauce. Yu-Mi eats hers with gusto, obviously liking it. “You too didn’t put in a lot of soy sauce, right?” Seo-Jin asks her. Seo-Jin thinks that because the rice is seasoned well, the bibimbab doesn’t need a lot of sauce.

The customers can modify it to suit their taste. “We can say ‘if you think it’s too bland for you then you can put more sauce in it’,” Boss Youn says.

Bibimbab trial…

They all say it’s delicious. But what about the people of Garachico who are used to more savoury food with strong flavour? This part of the world even has dishes, like the deep-fried padron peppers, that use coarse sea salt.

With the help of an interpreter, a mother and daughter pair — the daughter is a restaurant manager currently on vacation — come to Youn’s Kitchen to try out their menu. This is going to be the definitive final mock test.

The customers are presented with the menu, written in three languages, and a notice in five languages informing them that this is being filmed and is to be broadcast and that this is ‘cash only’ operation. Seo-Joon takes their order. The daughter picks the bulgogi bibimbab with soy sauce. The mother picks the vegetarian version. The interpreter gets the spicy bulgogi with meat.

In the kitchen, Boss Yoon and Yu-Mi get ready. They wear disposable gloves and prepare pans to fry meat. Seo-Jin asks Boss Youn to add more meat. He prepares the rice on the serving bowls. Yu-Mi arranges the vegetables on top of the rice. Once the meat is cooked, it’s put into the bowls.

Seo-Joon and Seo-Jin serve the bibimbabs. Boss Youn goes out to meet them and explain how to eat bibimbab. “Put the sauce in it and mix it all together,” she says. The customers begin to eat the bibimbab.

Bibimbab Evaluation Result

After thirty minutes the mother and daughter pair haven’t finished their meal. Asked about the food, one of them says hers tasted like salad. “But it’s delicious,” she says. The daughter says that even if hers is less savoury, she still likes it. “It’s delicious,” she says.

The irrefutable evidence

Boss Youn watches them from the kitchen. She approaches the table to find out what is wrong with the food. She almost chokes when she sees the bibimbab bowls are still full. The customer says that they’ve had meal about two hours ago so they can’t finish the bibimbab. “But this is very delicious,” the daughter assures Boss Youn and Seo-Jin, “I like it.”

Yu-Mi observes them from the kitchen and Seo-Joon from behind the bar. This looks serious.

Boss Youn bows out of the Hall with a smile.

“We failed,” Boss Youn tells the crews in the kitchen some time later. The casts are gathering around her. Even though the customers say that they’ve had meals just a couple of hours ago, it’s just an excuse. “We’ve all been there before, haven’t we?” Boss Youn says, avoiding telling the truth about the bad food by giving such excuses. “We should read between the lines,” she says.

‘We failed!’


Before the night falls, Seo-Jin and Seo-Joon go shopping for vegetables and ingeredients.


In the restaurant, Boss Youn is visibly down. “Let’s go back to Gili. Let’s just do what we used to do,” she says. She crouches at the end of the bar table, huddling with Seo-Joon. She is sad because the food is tasteless, thinking about all that they’ve prepared. Boss Youn is sobbing.

They prepare vegetables again in a heavy atmosphere, which hangs over you when you know you’ve given the wrong answer in exams. “I am too sad I can’t do this,” Boss Youn says. “Running a bibimbab restaurant is not in my fate.” She laughs while crying. In the kitchen, Yu-Mi chuckles while cutting carrots. Boss Youn returns to cutting onions.

Seo-Jin suggest they pack the onions and bring them to Korea. “The onions here are stronger. They can help whenever we need to act crying,” he says.

“What if we get no customers tomorrow? We’re going bankrupt,” Boss Youns is worried.


“This has been a very long day,” Seo-Joon says on the way home. He had woken up at 7:30 today. “We were up even earlier,” Yu-Mi says.


“I’m so tired,” the Boss says during dinner at home. She thinks this is more difficult than Bali. Julliening vegetables is not an easy task. But she won’t give up. She plans to change the seasoning for meat and bulgogi. They will also cut the meat thicker.

Earlier that day, Boss Youn insisted that it was sweet enough. “I’m the boss, I’ll do it my way,” she had said. The result was bland. She will forgo her preference and go with stronger seasoning. They begin plotting. The carrots will need seasoning with salt for stir-frying them wasn’t enough. “Salt was once considered medicine,” Boss Youn says, “it’s like the ancient times’ MSG.”

“I can’t wait for tomorrow,” Seo-Joon says. The night is getting darker. Yu-Mi sounds concerned. Will they be all right tomorrow?



The Opening Day

Better be delicious this time!

It’s a new day, the D-Day. Garachico residents begin their day. The shots make the town and landscape look like miniatures and their activities a stop-motion animation.

Yu-Mi and Seo-Joon walk to the restaurant on a windy morning. They cross the town square. “We get here really fast,” Seo-Joon comments. They greet people they meet along the way. They open the door to an empty restaurant.

“Where is my apron?” Yu-Mi looks around the kitchen. Seo-Joon, already in an apron, gives her hers. He tells her the trick to wear it hassle-free.

Seo-Joon prepares seasonings, this time it should be sweeter and saltier. “I put more soy sauce and sugar,” he says. They stir-fry the vegetables. “It’s too hot here, I feel like I’m in a spa,” Seo-Joon says. Yu-Mi tells him to wear sleeveless shirts.

From outside, Seo-Jin and Boss Youn, who come later, can smell the aroma. “They’re frying already!”

Boss Youn, dressed in Gaonashi style, walks into the restaurant. She checks the kitchen and finds Seo-Jin working on the meat.

Yesterday’s failure looms large and prompts them to boost sweet and salty. Seo-Joon consults Seo-Jin and then the Boss about meat seasoning. They’ll follow the recipe without reducing anything. Boss Youn too adds more soy sauce and sugar.

Will this new formula work with the locals?

“Hola! We’re Open!”

But the alley is empty as Seo-Jin finds out. He checks with the kitchen. “We are ready,” Boss Youn says. “Let’s open.”

Boss Youn goes across the Hall and opens the door. Seo-Jin brings the menu stand outside. Noticing Seo-Joon changing into service apron, Yu-Mi tries to stop him. “You must help me in the kitchen,” she says. “I’ll pop in every now and then,” Seo-Joon tells her.

Outside, Boss Youn and Seo-Jin rearrange the menu stand and notice it’s raining a bit. “Just a little rain, it’ll stop soon,” Boss Youn says. Yu-Mi claps, marking their official opening at 12:20 PM.

We’re open!

One passerby stops, asking if they speak Spanish. Seo-Joon informs her their food is korean. She notices the Christmas-style table. She thinks it’s pretty and tells her company. “I’ll come by later to dine,” she says to the Hall team. “Thank you,” Seo-Jin and Seo-Joon say.

“You speak Spanish well,” Yu-Mi compliments Seo-Joon as she goes back inside. “It’s just words I’ve memorised,” Seo-Joon says humbly.

The Boss in the kitchen is nervous. She checks whether everything is in place. She asks for pans and plates for kimchijeon. In the Hall, Seo-Jin and Seo-Joon is still waiting for customers.

The First Customers

But still, no one comes. Some lurk around outside and read the menu, but no one steps inside.

“I look up when I hear voices,” Boss Youn says, “to see if they are customers.” Her confidence has diminished. Seo-Jin walks into the kitchen with ominous words, “is this the beginning of a very long wait?”

“Why do people go away when we come,” Seo-Jin wonders.

Outside, A couple stops by to read the menu. Inside, Yu-Mi sees them and notifies Seo-Jin. “They must be hungry,” she says.

“Hola!” Yu-Mi says in the kitchen. Boss Youn wonders if they can hear Yu-Mi’s greeting. “Our eyes have met,” she says. The couple step inside the restaurant and take the seats near the bar. “They’re here!” Yu-Mi says excitedly.

Finally, the first customers!

Everyone gets ready. Seo-Jin gives them the menu. The man notices microphone on the table. They decide on the menu. The man will order bibimbap and the lady wants kimchijeon. He observes the price and decides to withdraw more cash, “just in case.” He goes outside.

Seo-Joon takes their order of bulgogi bibimbab, kimchijeon and beers, and passes it on to the kitchen. They prepare the kimchijeon first. “Our first kimchijeon,” Yu-Mi says as Boss Youn flips the pancake on the pan.

Seo-Joon sets the table. The lady customer asks how long they will be filming. “Until next week,” he says. He serves the glasses and the beers. Once the kimchijeon is done, Seo-Jin brings it to the customers’ table. “Enjoy,” he says. The lady cuts a small bit of kimchijeon and gives it a try. Then she eats the rest, ocassionally reaches for the beer.

The kitchen prepares bulgogi bibimbab. Boss Youn is frying the meat. Yu-Mi is preparing the rice. “Make it pretty,” Boss Youn says tells her. Yu-Mi arranges the vegetables on the rice. Seo-Joon cracks open an egg on the egg pan. After putting everything together, the bulgogi bibimbab is ready.

The first kimchijeon and bibimbab


The man finally returns to the Hall. “It was too long a queue,” he says when his wife asks what took him so long. The man comments on the filming. He thinks this must be a trial to see if they can open a restaurant in a foreign country. “What do peple call it?” He searches for the right word. His wife wonders as well. They both go quiet, thinking. “That ‘something TV’,” he says. Finally, “‘Reality TV’!”

The lady offers her husband the kimchijeon. “It’s a bit spicy with peppers in it,” she says.

Boss Youn goes out to greet them. “I am the cook,” she says. She explains the kimchijeon. Meanwhile, Seo-Joon brings the cutlery and Seo-Jin brings the bibimbab to the man. Boss Yeon asks where the customers come from. “Denmark,” the lady says.

Boss Youn then explains the bibimbab and show them how to enjoy it. Seo-Joon watches her with awe for she gets on easily with the customers. She also explains the sauce. “Mix it all together,” she says, “and it’ll be yummy!”

Explaining the menu

The man eats the bibimbab and thinks it’s delicious. “Do you want to try it?” He asks his wife. He gives her a bit of the bulgogi. “Yummy!” the word is repeated over and over.

In the kitchen, Boss Youn wonders if they are enjoying it. “They say it’s ‘yummy’! No more words is needed,” Seo-Jin says. Boss Youn looks pleased.

The couple discuss the restaurant. They must be the first customers. The lady has observed that a lot of people have read the menu but they haven’t got the courage to step inside. Is it because of the filming notice? “I’ve asked them to come in but they just smiled and left,” the lady says.

Ten minutes before, the lady repeatedly invited people who came near to come in. Some are also looking at the menu. But they then leave. “These people must have no experience in advertising,” the lady comments for people are turned off by the filming notice. “But it’s better to be honest about it upfront,” the man says.

Another couple are lurking outside. The lady asks them to come in. “The food is delicious,” she says , more actively inviting than the two Hall team. Seo-Jin and Seo-Joon just put on a welcoming smile. The man thinks it’s too lonely with only them inside the Hall. “We should help!”

The lady uses chopstick to pick a bit of bibimbab. She thought she wouldn’t eat it but now she wants it. She picks another bit. “It’s delicious,” she says.

Seo-Joon observes the empty beer bottles and decides to collect them. Seo-Jin informs Boss Youn in the kitchen that the customers eat well. “They even use the chopstick,” he says. Boss Youn thinks they must have been well-travelled to know how to use chopstick.

The couple feel full now. “The chef must be the Gordon Ramsey of Korea,” the man says. The food is delicious and healthy — it’s low in fat. They like it. The lady scoops the last bit from the bowl, which is now empty.

Seo-Jin approaches them and asks if it’s okay to serve them dessert, the Heottok, since they are Youn’s Kitchen’s first customers. They welcome it. “We hope you get more customers,” the lady says. “We’ve been telling people to come in.” Seo-Jin thanks them.


Come on in!

Outside, another couple approaches Youn’s Kitchen. They’ve been around for some time. They study the menu. The lady customer asks them to come in. “The food is very delicious,” she tries to convince them.

After hesitating for a while, the couple finally come inside and take the table by the window. Youn’s Kitchen gets the second customers. But they look unusual for they take a lot of pictures. They will asks for Boss Youn to sit with them for an interview? What’s going on?


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