Episode 22 Recap
Having caught Wang Mai Zhi and Wei Qi Zhen together the previous night on his walk home from work, Li Zhi Chao becomes strict on dating, He separates all boy-girl pairs and groups he comes across.
Li Zhi Chao separates Ma Chong Sheng from Liu Xuan when he sees them sitting outside having breakfast together. He moves Ma Chong Sheng to the seat opposite him and Liu Xuan and begins eating the omelette panini he takes from Liu Xuan. Li Zhi Chao orders Ma Chong Sheng to return back to his seat when Ma Chong Sheng heads back over to offer his omelette panini to Liu Xuan when Liu Xuan timidly indicates the omelette Li Zhi Chao is eating was hers.
Li Zhi Chao calls Wang Mai Zhi the bad guy and sticks a reflector sticker on his forehead when he finds Wang Mai Zhi placing reflector stickers on Wei Qi Zhen’s bicycle so bad people on the street won’t get near her. He then escorts Wei Qi Zhen to class on her bicycle, leaving Wang Mai Zhi to run after them.
Li Zhi Chao is also there to separate Tang Hao and Chen Meng Chen—a developing pair. He’s also there to separate Amy Fan and Kong Meng Zhe—a pair who do not have any like towards each other. Li Zhi Chao’s strictness on dating brings him to disrupt the students from beginning their training for the final round of the national cooking competition when separates the guys from the girls and warns them to not flirt with the girls during practise. Fang Xiao Rou manages to get rid of Li Zhi Chao with her clever trick of a call from Jiang Pei Ying asking for help and Li Zhi Chao quickly stops Han Jie who goes to help so he could go help.
Tang Hao is sick. He was seen sneezing before class and his complexion is pale and struggles to stay focused in class. When Han Jie instructs to resume training after Li Zhi Chao leaves, Tang Hao raises his hand and expresses he’s not feeling well before collapsing to the ground. He is brought to the sick bay with his classmates looking on concerned.
Tang Hao getting sick is revealed to have been done on purpose. His like and attention towards Chen Meng Chen had him purposely soaked in a cold bath for half an hour the previous night so she can get back into the team.
Chen Meng Chen secretly hears this when he admits to Han Jie that he had done it on purpose. This gesture of Tang Hao’s softens Chen Meng Chen’s usually uncaring person. She is seen heading out of class and paying him a visit at the sick bay. She expresses care and the possibility of being in her future when she rhetorically asks him if doing what he had done was that he simply wanted to be in her memories and not in her future.
Si Ping High School goes up against Yong Sheng High School in the finals. It takes place at the food markets and has the theme of budgeting where they are required to come up with a main and a dessert dish on a fixed budget.
A rule of exchanging supervising teachers has Si Ping High School losing Han Jie and gaining a creative chef, but unwilling to assist and supervise. Yong Sheng High School’s supervising teacher steps back and allows the Si Ping team to make their dishes on their own, being not familiar with the menu they’ve come up with.
Si Ping High School, therefore, only have their western style desserts teacher, Fang Xiao Rou, as their supervising teacher. They also have their skillful student, Chen Meng Chen, who is able to work with Fang Xiao Rou in supervising the team—something that Fang Xiao Rou does ask of Chen Meng Chen. Yong Sheng High School does have the most skillful chef, however—Han Jie. Yong Sheng, of course, utilises him well when they ask Han Jie to cook their main dish for them.
Fortunately, the judges were paying attention and notices that Yong Sheng High School’s main dish was not made by the Yong Sheng students and the main dish from both teams are not judged. Only the desserts from each team are judged. The result: Si Ping High School made the better dessert. Si Ping High School is the winner of the national cooking competition. The wins sees Fang Xiao Rou fulfill her dream of leading their team to a win.
Han Jie’s father has been in the UK for a while. He has not been informed of Han Jie’s relationship with Fang Xiao Rou. Not informed and concerned about his son’s single status, Han Jie’s father brings back a potential partner for Han Jie to meet. Introduced to everyone before the competition, this girl is Maggie. She is a pretty and smart girl from their sister school in the UK, in Taiwan to meet Han Jie as well as for an education exchange.
Han Jie informs his father of his relationship with Fang Xiao Rou in private. Han Jie’s father is surprised and asks why he hadn’t told him earlier. It’s because of the public advertisement looking for a girlfriend for him that he placed on his social network profile, Han Jie explained. Han Jie told his father he’d left it till his father’s return because of this reason. Han Jie’s father is concerned about not being able to explain to Maggie of her trip to Taiwan that ended up in vain. Han Jie’s father disregards the fact of Han Jie being with Fang Xiao Rou and tells him he must go on a date with Maggie or he will not accept his relationship with Fang Xiao Rou.
This date Han Jie must go on with Maggie takes place after the competition and during the celebration party held for winning the national cooking competition. Fang Xiao Rou comes to know of the date Han Jie has with Maggie when Jiang Pei Ying takes her from the celebration party to the place where Han Jie and Maggie is having a coffee together at. Fang Xiao Rou finds nothing unusual or surprising about it, but of course there is when Han Jie is the son of the principal and Maggie is the girl the principal brought back to meet Han Jie. Jiang Pei Ying had found this fact out about Han Jie when she overheard the private conversation that occurred between Han Jie and Han Jie’s father after Maggie’s introduction. She slowly steps Fang Xiao Rou through to understanding that Han Jie is on a date with Maggie and he’s the principal’s son.
Fang Xiao Rou runs away when Han Jie catches her reflection on a reflective surface and when she made eye contact with him. It brings Han Jie to leave his date with Maggie to run after Fang Xiao Rou to explain that, during the date, he told Maggie he had a girlfriend and apologised for the misunderstanding. Fang Xiao Rou is fine with his date with Maggie. She only ran away because she was nervous. She’s only concerned about his father, the principal, being not happy when he finds out that Han Jie ruined the date. Han Jie has a solution: "Xiao Rou, let’s elope."
Han Jie takes Fang Xiao Rou to the seaside—the place where Han Jie had saved Fang Xiao Rou from drowning. They appear to have spent a night there sitting at the back of Han Jie’s car as it is light and Han Jie calls to Fang Xiao Rou to wake up. He then provides Fang Xiao Rou something to eat: a bun from Qi Zhen bakery. "Eat it slowly. Or else, you might choke," Han Jie tells Fang Xiao Rou. There’s a reason Han Jie gave this warning to Fang Xiao Rou. She finds out when she bites into the bun and spits the item out. "Why is there a ring?" Fang Xiao Rou asks after spitting it out onto her hand.
Han Jie takes the ring and asks Fang Xiao Rou, "Are you willing to put on this ring? This is my wish. You said you will help me realise it. Therefore, this isn’t a request. It’s a notification. I will not allow you to reject me." Han Jie takes Fang Xiao Rou’s hand and slips the ring onto her finger. Wedding photos are taken on the spot upon Han Jie’s wish. It’s photos where Han Jie is in a suit and Fang Xiao Rou in the mermaid suit she wore when they first met; and it’s one where his colleagues and students join in for the happy occasion.
Wang Mai Zhi talking about winning the national cooking competition as a perfect gift for Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s wedding gift during their training class brings him to reveal how he sees dating as leading to marriage. It began with Ma Chong Sheng surprised and asking Wang Mai Zhi if their teachers were getting married. "Dating is to get married. If not, then what else?" Wang Mai Zhi responded. This brings Ma Chong Sheng to be surprised again and ask Wang Mai Zhi is he and Wei Qi Zhen were getting married. Wei Qi Zhen waved it off in embarrassment. Wang Mai Zhi corrected Wei Qi Zhen. "Right now, we’re not. In the future, we will."
Wang Mai Zhi and Wei Qi Zhen aren’t getting married yet, but they do go on their first date that apparently will ultimately lead to them being husband and wife. Their first date is at the movies and Wang Mai Zhi styles himself up to look like Wei Qi Zhen, wearing a curly hair wig and black thick-rimmed and round glasses —’Weirdo Mai’, he calls himself. Meanwhile, Wei Qi Zhen rids of her curly hair and glasses. Wang Mai Zhi tells her she will be ‘The hottest on Earth’ for the day.
Ma Chong Sheng wishes to work at a place like the restaurant Fang Xiao Rou’s father works at and open one up like it in the future. Liu Xuan thinks running a business will be a lot of work. However, she would like to be the boss’ wife who works at the cashier. Both make a promise to each other to do this. They pinky swear on it.
Chen Meng Chen is going to France to take up a culinary course to become a Michelin star chef like Han Jie. Tang Hao wishes to follow her there to be her guardian angel.
Fang Xiao Rou and Han Jie is told to have announced their engagement online. This has Han Jie’s father unimpressed and find Han Jie unsuitable to be the next principal of the school. Fang Xiao Rou feels it to be punishment towards Han Jie—one that is unfair. She tries to reason with him: you should make decisions according to what’s best for the school’s students. Han Jie asks the principal to include him in the punishment he’s giving. "Her punishment has nothing to do with you," the principal tells Han Jie. The principal then informs who will be the next principal, "Fang Xiao Rou, listen carefully. The next principal will be you. You’re the best person for it."
The final episode went the way we thought it would with some unbelievable situations and conveniences. We don’t get why the writers of this series have to be so different and so ‘creative’ that they must choose to handle things so unbelievably and unrealistically.
The supervising teachers swapping to supervise the other team is unrealistic; and so is the school that Si Ping High School goes up against. Yong Sheng High School is a school who manages to get to the finals through—what the Si Ping students believe to have been—dirty tricks. It seems so when we see the Yong Sheng students lack cooking skills when they show themselves to be less than confident with cooking their own main dish that they go and ask Han Jie to cook it for them. How a school like that can get to the finals is unbelievable.
There was something realistic in this whole swapping supervising teachers, though: Yong Sheng’s supervising teacher stepping back and not assisting Si Ping High School was realistic. It makes no logical sense for the opposition team’s supervising teacher to help the other team to a win. Without the workings of the writers pulling the strings in Si Ping’s favour by writing the judges to be realistic with not counting a dish that was said to have been cooked better and had much better flavour, Si Ping High School would have lost miserably when Si Ping High School’s dessert was only better than Yong Sheng High School’s dessert because of better presentation.
Yong Sheng High School should have won the competition in our opinion. We feel that they should not have disregarded Yong Sheng’s main dish that was made by Han Jie. If there is such an unrealistic event as exchanging supervising teachers between the teams where the supervising teachers are forced to cooperate and help their competition to a win, then continue to be unrealistic where the judges don’t care about being correct by recognising their supervising teacher had pretty much made the entire main dish. As long as it’s made, it should be counted. Yong Sheng’s main dish that was created by a three Michelin star chef should have been counted and should have seen Yong Sheng High School win the national cooking competition.
Maybe swapping the supervising teachers is just a way to get Han Jie out of the way so Fang Xiao Rou can win the national cooking competition on her own and not have Han Jie help her make her dream come true like he said he wanted to. Maybe the writers wanted Fang Xiao Rou to have some leadership moments instead of always being a person on the side to Han Jie so they wrote it in this unbelievable way—possibly?
Fang Xiao Rou keeps being portrayed as just a cheerleader and a morale booster, though. When she gets the chance to take control of her team in the way that Han Jie does and make her deserve that chef uniform, we don’t see it. We just hear more of Fang Xiao Rou making sure her students aren’t discouraged, but not cooking. We get to see Han Jie cooking though—and pretty cool cooking at that when he’s got flames coming out of his pan as he deglazed! Fang Xiao Rou didn’t look like a competent supervising teacher, either, when Fang Xiao Rou didn’t even seem to know her own students’ strengths. We saw her orders get cut short by Chen Meng Chen because Chen Meng Chen did have the knowledge of each of her classmates’ strengths and she gave orders based on that. Fang Xiao Rou even looked extremely excited to hear that Chen Meng Chen had a method on how to divide up the work—”Really? Quickly tell me your method!” Fang Xiao Rou said with excitement. This was probably to give another bit of character development for Chen Meng Chen. But, by doing that, the writers made Fang Xiao Rou look nothing more than a good cheerleader and a morale booster and nothing like a leader who has the confidence or skill to lead a team in a cooking competition.
Maggie—the girl who came in to give a final problem for Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s relationship and maybe also to have the purpose of getting the secret out about Han Jie being the principal’s son: we may have cared about Maggie’s entrance and may have been interested in this problem entering into Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s relationship if she had come in when things are developing in a believable and logical way (like during the first nine episodes); but, she entered when everything is silly, unrealistic and can be resolved just like that. We ignored Maggie. She didn’t feature much or say much anyway. Two lines, Maggie had said: "Hello everyone" and "Hello, Teacher Han." She then appeared in the spectator area watching the competition and then one final time at the date with Han Jie which we saw from the point of view of Fang Xiao Rou. She was just another background character who came in and then went out.
Han Jie said the advertisement for a girlfriend that his father posted on his social network profile made him have no means/way (or maybe it’s guts) to tell his father about his relationship with Fang Xiao Rou. This made him decide to wait until his father returned to tell him in person. We didn’t understand why Han Jie couldn’t. There’s no problem on the father end of things. His father likes Fang Xiao Rou. So, telling his father through a message or a call that he is with Fang Xiao Rou would’ve stopped his father from making the mistake of bringing a girl all the way from the UK to meet him. Han Jie would then not have had to go on a date with Maggie which he had to ditch partway to make sure Fang Xiao Rou didn’t misunderstand. If it’s Han Jie not wanting to make his father look bad for posting an ad that is hard to retract, then simply make Fang Xiao Rou be the girl who answered the ad. We don’t see any problems with announcing it publicly, either. He’s not an idol star who’s image is linked to his job. We found the reason the writer gave for Han Jie not informing his father of his relationship with Fang Xiao Rou very weak.
The kiss that was supposed to be the best part to a final episode of a romance-comedy wasn’t the best part. The kiss between Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou lost us. It came in during a group photo that looked like a cast photo than a group photo the characters were taking. Also, being overloaded with silly writing, by the end of the episode we just tolerated whatever was left of the episode.
We were not happy with this final scene of the series. They made it very suspenseful by getting Fang Xiao Rou believe she was going to receive punishment for posting picture of her engagement to Han Jie. The big surprise of Fang Xiao Rou being the next principal was not worth the suspense. It wasn’t funny and we didn’t care for it. That’s because we don’t see Fang Xiao Rou deserving of being the next principal. Fang Xiao Rou is supportive and a great cheerleader, but she doesn’t show she can run an entire school. Fang Xiao Rou is written to react awkwardly to things she’s not comfortable with and she’s someone with a wild imagination who runs and hides from problems. She did that many times when Han Jie was a problem for her and she did that in this episode when she saw Han Jie discovering her standing outside looking at him and Maggie chatting with each other and having coffee because she was nervous and didn’t know how to react. That final scene was incredibly disappointing.
So, Love Cuisine didn’t end well. The first nine episodes were the most interesting and very promising for an interesting story. Secret identities, hate-hate relationship and a problem that will cause problems between the lead characters—it’s exciting drama. The Fang Xiao Rou and Han Jie parts during the time up to the Universiade part of the series were awesome when they were so fun and sweet together. Some relatively more serious drama came in when Fang Xiao Rou found out Han Jie was the person she hated the most. It was nice seeing Han Jie’s playfulness taking a break and watching him tread lightly around Fang Xiao Rou’s emotions. That was good to see.
The middle section looked promising for some awesome things to come when the series jumped a year ahead and Fang Xiao Rou had a new look and feel about her. She also gained a set of western-style dessert making skills. The interesting thing about this was seeing Fang Xiao Rou gradually becoming an equal to Han Jie and seeing them work well together as a team to lead their students in their next competition. But, episodes go by and the dessert making skills that Fang Xiao Rou’s character gained didn’t get utilised. She had the title and the chef uniform, but was still just the cheerleader on the side who didn’t do much cooking or baking. The focus was on Han Jie trying to get Fang Xiao Rou to agree to be with him. When we saw that, we were losing hope of seeing Fang Xiao Rou being someone more than before she was turned into someone who looked like she had the extra baking skills and started thinking how Fang Xiao Rou should have just remained as someone who was good at making cocktails. That way, at least we can see why we’re not seeing her cook or bake. We also wouldn’t be thinking of Fang Xiao Rou as not deserving of the white chef uniform she was wearing.
Love Cuisine started to go down in excitement and became tedious when the series continued to focus on Fang Xiao Rou being unwilling to accept Han Jie. Four episodes of Fang Xiao Rou being timid and backing away from Han Jie got really old. And then they brought in Chen Meng Chen after Fang Xiao Rou and Han Jie became a couple as a sort of a love rival. That didn’t work at all to make the pair exciting when she wasn’t a threat. Chris then entered and we thought his entrance was another pseudo problem in the Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou relationship until he was told to have lost his taste. We thought we’d get some interesting things happening from this point of the series to the final episode; but, it was disappointing. The character exited in a way that made us feel like he was only there to fill in some episodes.
Thankfully, the writers introduced Wei Qi Zhen to have her become an admirer of Wang Mai Zhi. The small amounts of each episode focusing on these two was enough to keep us chugging along to make it to the end of the series. Unlike Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s relationship, they had real problems: Wang Mai Zhi liked Liu Xuan. He didn’t see Wei Qi Zhen because she wasn’t pretty or the best of the best. She was just an odd girl with odd hair. It’s Wang Mai Zhi being too concerned about image to accept Wei Qi Zhen. It’s a geek and chic pairing that we always find fun to watch.
There was a lot wrong with Love Cuisine after initially starting out seeing it as quite a good drama. We had liked it for being a simple, but fun and entertaining one. But now, it’s full of things that wasn’t entertaining. We don’t like how there were so many characters thrown to the side or into the background even before they started to develop.
Wen Zhen Yu was a second male lead character who didn’t get much development before being cut. It was like the writers had made the mistake of adding this character in because he really just popped in and out in a handful of episodes. The biggest scene for Wen Zhen Yu was in Episode 3, where he was there to go up against Han Jie to determine who was going to be the teacher to lead Si Ping High School in the Universiade. He had a bigger role in the episodes between 14 and 17 when he became part of a love triangle with Jiang Pei Ying and Li Zhi Chao, but we won’t include his bigger parts in those last episodes because it seems like what was written for the character was just to get rid of this second male character that they couldn’t write for anymore when he became a character in the world of the odd supporting characters—well, that’s how we saw it. We’ve not seen a main character have so little screen time and development before. We’ve never seen a second male lead character change to something like a light relief character, either. It’s a first. The little amount of time he was seen on the show and the little purpose he had, this character definitely should’ve never been part of the story.
It’s not only Wen Zhen Yu who we thought had very little part in the story. Liu Xuan and Ma Chong Sheng didn’t, either. Liu Xuan was just the popular and pretty girl that Wang Mai Zhi wanted to win over. Ma Chong Sheng, he was Wang Mai Zhi’s rival in love and the one Wang Mai Zhi looked down on because he was poor. That’s as much development that was there for Liu Xuan and Ma Chong Sheng. After Wei Qi Zhen entered, they were just the perfect couple in the background. Wei Qi Zhen took the spotlight and became something like the female lead character in the students part of the story of Love Cuisine. Without Wang Mai Zhi in Liu Xuan and Ma Chong Sheng’s story, they were just there to fill in the episodes like Amy Fan.
Wang Mai Zhi and Wei Qi Zhen are definitely the only part of the series we can say we liked from when they first started to develop to the end episode. We lost appreciation for how great Fang Xiao Rou and Han Jie were at the beginning when they became so tedious in the middle section and pseudo problems came in for the pair from that point on. Wang Mai Zhi and Wei Qi Zhen are our favourite couple in the series and they are our favourite characters in the series.
Chen Meng Chen was a pretty cool character as well. Where the series seem to say that men are the only ones who cook, Chen Meng Chen goes against that. She is the only female cook in the series who is skilled and commands the kitchen. We like that about this character.
Love Cuisine wasn’t good drama. We feel Love Cuisine tried to be too different. They felt like they were creating a dish: throw a bit of this and a bit of that and come out with a dish. But it didn’t come together and be a tasty dish. It uses tricks to purposely throw us off and making everything not what it seems. It’s like an unsuspecting whoppie cushion on the seat. The writers also picks and chooses what they want to be correct, logical or realistic with and what they don’t care to be correct, logical or realistic with. Not using what they have developed is what we found Love Cuisine did all the time. It’s developing something that appears important then brush it aside or put it into the background when they can’t use it anymore or care to conclude gracefully and bring in something new to spice things up is the attitude.
There is an Episode 23, it seems. The 23rd episode has the label, ‘After-school general review’. That’s what we found on Chinese wikipedia. It fits with the whole school thing, but we’ve never seen a series like this where there is an episode for ‘review’. This 23rd episode sounds like it’s just going over past scenes. So, this is possibly our final recap for Love Cuisine. Thank you for reading our recaps and thoughts for Love Cuisine! :o) :o).
Update 09 Jan 16: ‘Episode 23’ is simply called ‘After-school General Review’. It is a review of the 22 episodes, containing Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou-related moments throughout the series with small amounts of Ma Chong Sheng and Liu Xuan up to Han Jie and Fang Xiao Rou’s first kiss in Episode 13. It then moves onto the end credits that covers the other pairings: Wang Mai Zhi and Wei Qi Zhen, Chen Meng Chen and Tang Hao, and more Ma Chong Sheng and Liu Xuan. Apart from the usual BTS (for Episode 22) at the end of this final ‘episode’, there is no new scenes/material.
Update 16 Jan 16: There was an Episode 24 following Episode 23. It was a recap of the student side of the story in the series.