I am going to admit right off the bat: I saw this drama in fast forward.
It wasn’t because I was bored with the quality of the drama or anything. Honestly, it was because of time and because of the circumstances surrounding my watching it (yes, I will leave it at that and remain mysterious…).
Nevertheless, it does not mean I half-assed watching it. I still paid quite a lot of attention as I fast-forwarded through, and I have to say, overall – I liked it.
Let’s start with the acting. Lee Seon Kyun was A-MA-ZING. Why? Because he made a hate-able character very likable. I do not want a guy who’s so mean to me at work (even if he’s trying to hide our relationship from others) or who’s so demanding and harsh, and pretends to be completely obtuse to my wants and feelings and yet still knows I’m flirting with him or like him. Yes, I totally hated Chef!!, but his smooth voice won me over and made me like him more than Alex. He also had a very commanding presence – though his comments were caustic, they were rooted in intense training and perfectionism. I hated how Team Korea-chefs were all so against him – Hyun Wook has a point. There’s a reason why he’s the chef and not just any cook.
Now since I mentioned Alex, I’ll just talk about him now. Kim San is the wonderful, quintessential second-lead/male third-wheel. He is giving and sweet (cactus pictures on her closet door for everyday for three years?) and yet can’t make a forward move. I mean, for a guy who teases Yoo Kyung relentlessly, I can’t be surprised that she doesn’t take him seriously when he tells her he likes her. Thank goodness that Yoo Kyung tells him right off that she doesn’t like him back. At least she has enough sense for that.
Gong Hyo Jin was pretty good with portraying her character – it’s just so unfortunate that her character is so annoying. I mean really, how dim-witted can you be? With the cactus – can’t you do process of elimination with the people who have access to the locker room? And ok, you asked San and he denied giving them to you, but I would keep my suspicions on him especially since he’s showered so much attention on you before and after he revealed himself as the owner of the restaurant. And she’s very simple-minded with her emotions in the sense that she admits she likes Chef Hyun Wook over everything in the world. While I don’t necessarily believe that she should have given up a future in Italy for Hyun Wook, I can completely understand her waffling every day. I would do it too! It’s just also annoying that Hyun Wook makes the decision for her.
Gong manages to make her really cute despite this impossible personality, and her chemistry with Lee is amazing! (I keep using that word…must find thesaurus..) It felt very real and natural. As Lee mentioned in his interview, their eyelid-kissing scene at the end of Episode 12 was mainly the result of the director not yelling “Cut!”. I love it when the director just lets the actors do their own thing and doesn’t yell “Cut” too soon – the actors tend to give you more as they find their groove into the scene. It results in a lot of cute scenes that give me the feeling of, “What am I doing without this kind of first love feeling in my life!?”
Now as for Honey Lee – she wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t good either. The beginning was particularly painful for me to watch even at fast-forward (prompting me to fast forward even more) because she acted like Hilary Duff – what I mean is, she says a line and has this weird smile/smirk on her face that’s not necessarily appropriate to the scene. It’s as though she’s controlling her face to make it look more serious…but then the smile just comes off as a grimace… Good thing it improved as the series went on, and it wasn’t so annoying to watch her anymore. I felt that once she was in the kitchen she found her groove and started acting a little better.
San’s sister was funny though – forever trying to pair the two of them up.
As for the supporting cast – Team Italy was eye-candy, and Team Korea was just whiny (until the last episode). The female-Team Korea chefs were just plain annoying and useless – I could have done fine without knowing about their story. In fact – I fast forwarded all of their scenes and didn’t bother with their character development. Manager Seol was definitely a good “villain” so to speak, because he was such a failure. Aside from outing Hyun Wook’s relationship, he was pretty funny because you knew he wasn’t going to win in the end. But he changed his character personality kind of suddenly in the end – I guess it’s because he gave up? I wish his character was a little nicer before the last two episodes though.
Surprisingly, the drama moved faster than I expected. It’s not as though a lot of things were happening – it was mostly a question of when Hyun Wook and Yoo Kyung were going to get together, when everyone was going to find out, and what is going to happen at the New Chef competition (which for me only took up the last two-three episodes; even though Team Korea was practicing a lot earlier in the series, it wasn’t such a great presence in the story. Well placed, but not strong until the end). So for all that, it was still a pretty mellow drama. Kudos to the writer of this drama for giving it a Coffee Prince feel, and yet not really…
I say “not really” because the supporting cast wasn’t given enough attention. I felt that the draw of Pasta was Gong Hyo Jin and Lee Seon Kyun – their characters were what made it interesting. In Coffee Prince I didn’t just want to watch Yoon Eun Hye or Gong Yoo – I wanted to know about the other characters too because they were equally hilarious. Not so in Pasta.
And though I don’t mind it, every obstacle had to be overcome by a cook-off. I honestly felt like I was watching another Bambino! or something…
So my overall rating is: 6/10.