The past incident of Han Jie causing the cooking accident that saw Fang Xiao Rou resenting Han Jie and caused the major rift between them for the nine episodes of the series is truly in the past and completely resolved. It is only the misunderstanding Fang Xiao Rou has about Han Jie’s feelings as having risen from the promise he made to her father that is the remaining link to the incident.
The misunderstanding that Fang Xiao Rou has towards Han Jie’s feelings brings Fang Xiao Rou to think about improving herself. In Episode 8, Fang Xiao Rou had told that she had given up the opportunity to study bartending overseas because she voluntarily chose to remain behind to accompany her father through difficult times following the cooking accident. Now, Fang Xiao Rou seems to be making up for that decision she made in the past of giving up on being something more with the decision to head overseas and study baking.
Her decision whether to head overseas to study baking or remain in Taiwan apparently rides on two things: Han Jie’s reason for liking her and her ability to successfully bake a soufflé. Han Jie had moved her one step closer to deciding to head overseas when we saw him failing to provide her a reason to why he liked her in the previous episode when he told her he didn’t know why he liked her.
It is now only the soufflé left to make up her mind in which decision she will make. The significance of baking a successful batch of soufflé is explained to be due to an Audrey Hepburn movie that Fang Xiao Rou says her father had always asked her to watch with him. There, Audrey Hepburns’ character made soufflé. The character’s soufflé always failed because she was troubled by love. This has Fang Xiao Rou see the success or failure of her ability to produce a batch of soufflé today as an indicator to how she’ll do in the future in love and life.
Fang Xiao Rou had gone to her father’s place after seeing Han Jie and began making soufflé. And the result is not positive. We see Fang Xiao Rou holding trays of failed batches of soufflé. This sees Fang Xiao Rou taking one last look around her surroundings before she takes her suitcase in hand and head into a taxi bound for the airport.
Fang Xiao Rou’s plan had initially been to resign and leave Si Ping High School to pursue studies overseas. We find this information out through a conversation between Han Jie and his father that takes place in the faculty office after Han Jie returns back from a day’s waiting for Fang Xiao Rou’s appearance. Han Jie’s father doesn’t accept Fang Xiao Rou’s resignation, however. Bringing out the best that his powers of a principal afforded him, Han Jie’s father generously offers Fang Xiao Rou unpaid leave for as long as she needed. And so, Fang Xiao Rou leaves Si Ping High School, but only temporarily.
We jump a year forward. Fang Xiao Rou has completed her studies in France at an elite culinary school and returns back with not only a new look and feel about her, but also extraordinary baking skills with an award under her belt, obtained through surpassing three hundred other participants in a competition that she is told to have competed in.
Fang Xiao Rou is seen putting her skills into practise the moment she arrives back at Si Ping as Han Jie’s students had been left without a teacher when their new female teacher—one who was very far into her pregnancy—goes into labour right after introducing herself to the class as their new Western-style pastry teacher and Han Jie had to take her to the hospital. In a white chef’s uniform, Fang Xiao Rou enters into the kitchen classroom and demonstrates to her students how to make the difficult French pastry, macarons. The final product is impressive and sees her students fighting over to have the last two shells.
Fang Xiao Rou’s decision to leave Si Ping High School had come about from a misunderstanding with Han Jie. When Fang Xiao Rou returns, her reluctance to be around Han Jie is, yet again, the cause of a misunderstanding.
Seemingly having just come from the airport, Fang Xiao Rou’s is seen without the correct currency to pay the taxi driver for her ride to Si Ping High School. With the time that it takes her to realise she has no money to give to the taxi driver and asking the taxi driver to take her to the bank, it’s enough time for her to be forced into the next seat over and make way for the new teacher going into labour with Han Jie accompanying her. Fang Xiao Rou gets forced to head to the hospital listening to Han Jie and the new teacher appear like husband and wife with a child on the way.
There are a couple moments where Fang Xiao Rou could have been informed she has mistaken Han Jie as having a wife and father to a child. There is a chance in the hospital for things to be cleared up when the doctor assumes Han Jie is the husband and seeks him to fill in forms. But the doctor gives no time for Han Jie to interject and correct. Han Jie gets ushered to fill and sign papers. Then at the faculty office, when a call from Han Jie comes into Su Ying Jun’s phone telling him that the baby has been born, colleagues didn’t seem to feel it necessary to fill Fang Xiao Rou in on the situation. Su Ying Jun only passes on the news and says a celebration is in order to celebrate both the birth of the baby and Fang Xiao Rou’s return. We expect at least Jiang Pei Ying—a good friend and gossip at heart—to fill Fang Xiao Rou in. But, Fang Xiao Rou is left alone to misunderstand and forced to put on a cheerful face that slowly turns into a dejected expression as Jiang Pei Ying claps animatedly in celebration of the wonderful news.
This misunderstanding has Fang Xiao Rou act like the times when she had resented Han Jie—uncomfortable, squirmy and not wanting to do anything with Han Jie. We see this familiar attitude of Fang Xiao Rou’s return during the dinner gathering celebrating Fang Xiao Rou’s return to Si Ping High School. After Jiang Pei Ying expresses her desire to invest in a dessert restaurant during a round of toasting to Fang Xiao Rou, Wen Zhen Yu expresses the idea of working together. This discussion has Fang Xiao Rou excited and interested. When Jiang Pei Ying suggests for Han Jie to have a discussion with Fang Xiao Rou to provide suggestions and opinions after he expresses how opening a restaurant can’t be done in haste, and Han Jie is more than willing to have that discussion with Fang Xiao Rou, Fang Xiao Rou loses interest in discussing this idea that she suddenly agrees as being difficult and risky.
Fang Xiao Rou’s evasive attitude towards Han Jie changes when finally both the misunderstanding that started a year ago and the recent misunderstanding that began earlier in the day in the taxi gets corrected after the dinner party when Han Jie takes Fang Xiao Rou home. The initiating conversation that sees the misunderstandings start to be set right is when Han Jie asks how Fang Xiao Rou has been for the past year. Fang Xiao Rou responds with saying she has been well before a mention of how she’s been posting her baking experience online on her social profile to which she notices one of her colleagues hadn’t bothered to like any one of her posts (Han Jie). Han Jie questions this, bringing Fang Xiao Rou to go on her phone to check if he had or hadn’t liked any of her posts. When Fang Xiao Rou opens her phone, we see a photo of that day Han Jie waited a whole day for Fang Xiao Rou to appear. Han Jie sees this and it begins a slow undoing of the year-long misunderstanding.
Han Jie asks Fang Xiao Rou why she hadn’t gone to him when she had been there. Fang Xiao Rou only goes on her own agenda and asks if he had decided to not to wait for her—that he decided to forget her and went to marry someone else and have a child with them. Han Jie not making an immediate move to reply to this has Fang Xiao Rou make up her own explanations to why he might have decided to move on—love needs no justification; it was love at first sight; she was the one. The conversation moves onto the streets after Fang Xiao Rou expresses disappointment in Han Jie for not considering her feelings and not allowing her the chance to prepare for what is the now. Han Jie asks Fang Xiao Rou to be allowed to prove his innocence, but Fang Xiao Rou sees him guilty by way of the conversation he had with her father a year ago at her father’s workplace. When Fang Xiao Rou reveals her understanding of his feelings for her, Han Jie finally realises that it had been a misunderstanding that had been between them. This misunderstanding is the reason for Fang Xiao Rou being this way with him.
Armed with this enlightening knowledge, Han Jie goes and asks Fang Xiao Rou if she knew of his intentions that day: "Well then, are you aware that even though I don’t dare to freely like you before fulfilling your dad’s dream, I went to find your dad that day to make known of my intentions and hoped that he could support me in taking you along and fulfill his dream together because I didn’t want to let you slip by me again?"
Fang Xiao Rou is surprised by what she hears. She’s also confused. She doesn’t know what to do with the information in the current circumstances. Han Jie, however, seems to believe he’s set everything right, forgetting about the second misunderstanding that he still needs to correct: he goes to playfully ask Fang Xiao Rou how she was going to compensate him for misunderstanding him for an entire year. Fang Xiao Rou is seen not knowing how to respond. She just continues to look confused. Han Jie doesn’t realise she’s confused because of the second misunderstanding that he doesn’t think to correct and he goes to grab her hand, seemingly already knowing a way of how she was going to compensate him. However, his hand gets left hanging as Fang Xiao Rou jerks her hand away from his.
This reaction from Fang Xiao Rou doesn’t offend Han Jie. He isn’t offended when Fang Xiao Rou asks for more proof of his innocence, either. And he even continues to be patient when she accuses him of being someone irresponsible for getting a girl pregnant before marrying after proving he was still single with his identification card. But Han Jie finally snaps and gets offended when Fang Xiao Rou’s firey attitude comes at him with saying that he can’t blame her for misunderstanding in such a big way after Han Jie goes to make it crisp clear to her that he isn’t married and the baby is not his.
‘A person with poor moral sense and integrity’ is what Han Jie hears from Fang Xiao Rou’s words— ‘a person who goes to find a random person to date, marry and have a child after being stood up’. At a wit’s end with Fang Xiao Rou’s ill-opinion of him, Han Jie tells Fang Xiao Rou he’s disappointed in her and tells her she doesn’t have to like this person that he seems to be.
Han Jie is angry. He doesn’t want to continue having Fang Xiao Rou in his presence. Han Jie doesn’t walk away and leave Fang Xiao Rou to be without a way to get home, though. Demonstrating that he is indeed a person with moral sense and integrity, he flags down a taxi, grabs Fang Xiao Rou’s hand, brings her to the taxi, opens the door, places her inside the taxi, tells her to head home herself because he needs to have some time to calm down and face the fact that he’s such an inferior guy, shuts the door with a forceful hand and has her get home in a taxi before he leaves to his car to calm down alone.
The table of the one pursuing and the one being pursued turns. Fang Xiao Rou becomes the one who wishes to spend time with Han Jie and Han Jie is the one being aloof. Han Jie’s aloof attitude isn’t because he’s fed up with Fang Xiao Rou, though. Han Jie wishes Fang Xiao Rou to get to know him and for him to get to know the new Fang Xiao Rou. In a conversation between Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s father at his workplace which seemed to have taken place on the same day he and Fang Xiao Rou had the fall out, Han Jie reveals that he will keep a distance from Fang Xiao Rou so he can get to know her again. Fang Xiao Rou’s father had agreed with his method and even provides Han Jie with his daughter’s weaknesses to help Han Jie in this way of handling Fang Xiao Rou.
Fang Xiao Rou experiences this new attitude of Han Jie’s the next day. We see Fang Xiao Rou at a walkway pergola inviting him out for stinky tofu through a message, but his reply is a decline: he doesn’t like stinky tofu. Trailing him inconspicuously from behind after he suddenly appears in the vicinity, Fang Xiao Rou sends another message asking if he’d like to go for coffee in the afternoon. Before Fang Xiao Rou gets a reply, she gets discovered by Han Jie after hearing her name when passing students greet her. Han Jie doesn’t make it known to Fang Xiao Rou that he has spotted her hiding herself behind timber beams that didn’t at all do well in concealing her. Han Jie’s reply is yet another decline: his doctor tells him he shouldn’t drink coffee with not being able to sleep recently. With this reply, Fang Xiao Rou wonders why it’s so difficult. But she doesn’t give up. She asks herself aloud if going out for shaved ice is better. She doesn’t end up sending a message to ask Han Jie out for shaved ice, though. She has lost sight of Han Jie and it has her running to find him. But the person who gets found is Fang Xiao Rou: Han Jie appears before her, asking her if she was looking for him.
We don’t think we’ve come across a series that has one of the lead characters actually leave and come back with a new look and role. And it’s the one we didn’t even expect or suspect to leave! Everything was pointing to Han Jie as having the most probability of leaving. The bet that was built in such an early episode as Episode 3 made it so. Not to mention, Han Jie has a place to leave to and return to with his restaurant waiting for him back in Europe.
Fang Xiao Rou, though, there wasn’t anything to suggest she would be the one leaving. It’s only until the previous episode that we even began thinking that she might have the possibility of leaving. Still, we didn’t really think it would go through. But it did!—and she left with the same reason that Han Jie had as well! Han Jie had said he needed to be stronger and more capable after losing the Universiade and he said heading out into the world allowed him to do that as well as help him figure out the type of a teacher he can become. Fang Xiao Rou’s reason was also to be more capable. She wanted to be someone with skills that people wanted to learn from.
Episode 10 actually feels like a reboot. Actually, it might even be where the real story begins! It feels like the last nine episodes had been the prologue that developed the backstory for the real story that is looking to be coming in in Episode 10. It sure feels like this is where Love Cuisine is supposed to start: the defeat that Si Ping experienced has Si Ping back to square one. Han Jie’s goal continues to be to fulfill his promise to his old cooking teacher to lead Si Ping to a victory, but he’s got the added goal of redeeming himself for losing the first one that he led. And what really makes it feel like Episode 10 is where the real story begins is Fang Xiao Rou changing from a teacher who simply stands on the side cheering on her students to a teacher with skills that can be used in a cooking competition.
The opening of Episode 10 actually resembles Episode 1. After the one-year time jump, Ma Chong Sheng is again chased by his teacher. It’s not Fang Xiao Rou this time, though. It’s Han Jie! It’s also not in the water. It’s around town. Han Jie is also successful in catching the runaway student unlike Fang Xiao Rou who had lost him because Han Jie got in the way. A new teacher enters—that new teacher being Fang Xiao Rou. She is a returning teacher coming back to her position, but it’s sort of like a new teacher since Fang Xiao Rou has some rather major character profile changes.
Personality-wise, she hasn’t changed one bit. But look-wise, Fang Xiao Rou definitely doesn’t look like her old self. She’s not plain and sinking in the background anymore. She really stands out. Fashionable sunglasses, black wide-brimmed hat, short cherry-red dress, a bowl haircut, shimmery eye-shadow, heavier eyeliner and mascara and hot-pink lipstick—this is what we see Fang Xiao Rou wear when she first appears after the one-year time jump. She looks very metropolitan and she has a very stereotypical Parisien look. It sort of feels like it has a modernised look of Audrey Hepburn, maybe even trying to emulate the look of Audrey Hepburn’s character in that movie that Fang Xiao Rou was talking about with her father when she was making soufflé—Sabrina. We were taken aback by this loud and attention-grabbing look at first; but, after a while, we found that the look actually looks quite okay when she keeps the wide-brimmed hat on. It feels like Fang Xiao Rou is going to continue a look similar to this opening look of hers. Her second outfit consists of a khaki safari jacket, shorts and black leather boots.
Not only does Fang Xiao Rou have a new look, her title and role changes. We’re assuming the new western-style pastry teacher that went into labour isn’t going to be working at Si Ping anymore and Fang Xiao Rou is her replacement. With Fang Xiao Rou’s new set of skills, Fang Xiao Rou seems to be the school’s new western-style pastry teacher. It also seems like Fang Xiao Rou has taken on a western name just like Han Jie: on her chef’s uniform, sewn on the left side is Allison! Haha. It’s the same as the actress’ English name. So, Fang Xiao Rou is Allison Fang! :oP :oP.
We’re glad that even though Fang Xiao Rou has a new look and skills, she doesn’t have a huge change of attitude. She’s still the same Fang Xiao Rou even having gone out into the world and come back with new knowledge. We like that she doesn’t have a change of attitude to match how worldly she is now. She’s still modest and is still the silly girl with an overactive imagination that we’ve been used to and like.
We find it so interesting thinking that Fang Xiao Rou and Han Jie had missed out on a year of being together all because of a misunderstanding. But this misunderstanding allowed Fang Xiao Rou to become so skillful and match Han Jie even more! We’re finding it very exciting to see that there will be two chefs in the kitchen classroom now: one is a cuisine chef and the other a pastry chef. It’s going to be exciting to see how these two work together now that it’s two talented people in the kitchen classroom.
The part where Han Jie tells Fang Xiao Rou off for seeing him as someone who had no moral sense and integrity, we see Han Jie is right to be annoyed. We’re sure that if Wen Zhen Yu had done something wrong, Fang Xiao Rou wouldn’t hesitate at all to give Wen Zhen Yu the benefit of the doubt. But we also can see where Fang Xiao Rou is coming from. Unlike Wen Zhen Yu who has a track record of being sensible, calm and considerate, Han Jie has a track record of being playful with a habit of letting misunderstandings be. We can’t help remembering Cindy Yao and her saying that Han Jie always let the misunderstanding of her being his fiancée stand until the woman finds out themselves. Han Jie held out the misunderstanding with the wife and the baby thing for a bit. He had the chance to clear it up in the car when Fang Xiao Rou wondered if he should be back by his wife’s side after giving birth. But all Han Jie did was continue to let Fang Xiao Rou misunderstand. He chose to tease Fang Xiao Rou with asking if she wanted to see a picture of the baby. Fang Xiao Rou should have asked Han Jie straight out if the woman she saw was his wife and if the baby was theirs as well; but, Han Jie could have also cleared it up straight away when Fang Xiao Rou started showing signs of misunderstanding.
We like that Han Jie is deciding to keep a distance from Fang Xiao Rou. Not only is it rather entertaining seeing Fang Xiao Rou work to get Han Jie’s attention instead of being showered by it and finding it suffocating and annoying, we think that if Han Jie continued to pay attention to Fang Xiao Rou, the cycle of him being misunderstood by her will just keep going. Just like her father says, she needs to be cured from her overactive imagination. She does need to have the chance to have a different and better opinion of Han Jie and realise what Han Jie means to her. But then again, isn’t this the reason why Han Jie likes Fang Xiao Rou?—her reaction is amusing?? Han Jie also needs to stop encouraging Fang Xiao Rou’s wild imagination with nipping the misunderstanding at the bud!
We really love the direction Love Cuisine has taken. We love the time jump that has Fang Xiao Rou change from being just a regular teacher to a pastry teacher. We can’t wait to see what this development will bring in the cooking competition and in Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s relationship. We look forward to seeing Fang Xiao Rou trying hard to get Han Jie to spend time with her. It’s all very cool and exciting!