“Dating in the Kitchen” is a 2020 Chinese rom-com drama starring Zhao Lu Si and Lin Yu Shen. The drama’s been adapted from a novel, “Finally I get you”. It’s mostly known for the wide age gap between the couples and the sweet romance.
The drama has received various kinds of feedback, both positive and negative. Personally, I think it’s a drama, which’s like or dislike, that depends on one’s preferences more than anything. As such, I thought it’d be better to write about the noteworthy scenes in the drama rather than a review.
But first, the introduction-
Gu Shengan is a chef working in a hotel named “Bauhinia Hotel” in Suhai. Lu Jin is a businessman who’s there to buy the hotel. Lu Jin is strict and uncompromising. He’s got only one weakness, and that’s food. He’s a hardcore foodie and Gu Shengan’s cooking style and foods are just to his taste. The two bond over food and gradually becomes closer than just a mere employee and employer.
- Airport scene: (Episode 8):
This scene was particularly sweet, more so because Lu Jin and Gu Shengan had an argument just before it. Just previously, Lu Jin decided to leave for work and ended things with Shengan altogether. At that time, they were still in an ambiguous phase and the way things ended was particularly bad.
So when Lu Jin returned for her shortly after, they were still awkward and Shengan was still mad and hesitant. But soon she decides to forgive Lu Jin and convey her feelings properly.
As one is a foodie and the other is a chef, Lu Jinn and Gu Shengan have a way of communicating through food. So, Gu Shengan decides to make Witcher’s Brew, a soup made one’s lover’s favorite ingredients and simmered in red wine. It’s supposed to be a flavor cipher between lovers. She runs off to the airport as Lu Jin was leaving again that day and after an adventurous journey, finally reaches him. They make up, the Witcher’s Brew playing a key role in it.
It felt like they’d finally define their relationship and pass this ambiguous stage- that is until all’s ruined with yet another misunderstanding.
- Meeting the parents: (Episode 11):
One of the classic scenes in soap-operas is the rich boyfriend’s mother humiliating the poor girlfriend by throwing a cheque to her face and telling her to break up her son. I thought it was a scene that was no longer “in production” because of how cliché it was. But I guess I was wrong. In this scene Gu Shengan meets Lu Jin’s mother and is asked about her financial circumstances. The topic eventually leads to Lu Jin’s mother offering Gu Shengan a cheque-though done subtly-following the classic storyline. When I first watched the scene, my initial reaction was “I can’t believe this is actually happening”. It felt so out of the blue. However, this scene delivered one of the best lines in the drama.
When Gu Shengan is asked about whether she is in need of money, her answer was really smooth and sophisticated. One other unique thing that happened in this scene the reaction Gu Shengan showed after being offered a cheque.
- Hotel scandal: (Episode 13):
After Gu Shengan gets promoted to the positon of the chief chef, the rest of her colleagues feel dissatisfied and even start spreading rumors that she has backing and how she got this position only because of it. The situation gets worse and eventually she’s conspired against. Her dish gets swapped during an important dinner arranged for Lu Jin’s mother. The presented dish itself was unpleasant. But when Li Man interprets the meaning behind the dish, Lu Jin’s mother gets angered to the point of leaving the table.
Though the matter gets cleared up and Shengan’s innocence is proven later, Lu Jin’s mother just humiliates her further. The worst thing was Lu Jin’s stance in this whole situation. It was okay for him to overlook what his mother did, but he should’ve at least stopped Li Man from aggravating the incident.
- Engagement: (Episode19):
From the heading, it can be guessed that in this scene Lu Jin and Gu Shengan gets engaged and this is the highlight of the whole episode. I must say, throughout the whole drama, I think this is where Zhao Lusi looked the best. While this scene is a highlight because of how it takes the couple’s relationship to the next level, I don’t particularly like it. But it’s an important one, considering how the whole story was brought together at this part and indicated the soon-to-be-coming conclusion.
- Hotpot bouquet: (Episode20):
So a bit of back story. Xu Zhao Di is Gu Shengan’s best friend while Meng Xin Jie is Lu Jin’s friend. They met thanks to the main couple and went back and forth for a long time. After much, they finally got a stable footing and their relationship got better too. Meng Xin Jie obviously has liked Xu Zhao Di for quite some time, while the latter started to develop better feelings towards the former.
Meng Xin Jie heard a story of how Xu Zhao Di about her childhood struggles from her and decided to propose to her. So he went ahead and bought an engagement ring, even got a bouquet made of beef rolls and made a grand proposal in front of her office.
Now, I found this scene to be very contradicting. The proposal and the thought behind it was touching. But the thing is, they weren’t even dating and were barely getting along. On top of that, Meng Xin Jie shared some intimate details of the story Xu Zhao Di had told and this quite disturbed me. Xu Zhao Di was bound to get upset at the situation and of course rejected Meng Xin Jie.
Personally, I think this drama took marriage very lightly, both in Meng Xin Jie-Xu Zhao Di and Lu Jin-Gu Shengan’s case.
- Episode 18:
Yes, the whole of episode 18 is a highlight and maybe the antepenultimate before the conclusion. In short, a lot of things happened and the side stories reached a conclusion as well. The side characters who were interested in Gu Shengan and Lu Jin respectively confessed and obviously were rejected. Lu Jin finally got Gu Shengan’s grandfather’s approval. Lu Jin and Gu Shengan earned a mutual understanding as well.
- The conclusion: (Episode 24):
The ending is obviously a happy one. The matter Lu Jin was struggling with was solved and the couple’s fight reconciled too. Xu Zhao Di accepted Meng Xin Jie’s proposal and decided to get married. Gu Shengan got Lu Jin’s mother’s approval and moved in to Lu Jin’s place. Everyone came together for a celebration and Lu Jin properly asked Gu Shengan for her hand in marriage.
The thing I found funny was that the side characters that were deeply in love with the ML and FL suddenly came together and were in an ambiguous phase. Other than that, it was quite sweet.