I can’t tell you how excited for this drama I am! My favourite ball of sunshine (aka, Jasper Liu) is finally back on screen, and it looks like he and Puff are going to have good chemistry ❤ (Also, the drama was promoted as Love Myself or You, but it’s official name now is Pleasantly Surprised. Hence, all the recaps will be under Pleasantly Surprised, and not Love Myself or You. Sorry for any confusion!)
You can watch Pleasantly Surprised on Dramafever here:
The opening sequence is simple and sweet, we see both of our leads wake up, stretch, and go biking on the beach. At one point Puff puts a glass girl charm on her phone, and ties the boy’s version to Jasper’s bike. D’awww….I wonder if we’ll see these later.
We open to see a chef majestically preparing his ingredients for the day. Yes, majestically. As he whips up each dish, we see our main female lead trying them. This is Du Kai Qi (Puff Guo), who appears more and more thrilled after every course. (Beware, I took a screenshots of every dish. So much good looking food….)
They threw in some spiffy shots of him cooking as she names each ingredient, which gives the drama a really cool effect.
drool…. The last dish is dessert, and the head chef signed it “Louis”. Kai Qi takes a photo of it, and uploads it to her SNS. She asks the waitress if she can meet the chef, and wonders to herself what type of person he must be.
“Louis” gets ready in the kitchen, and we get our first good look at our male lead – Fu Zi Jie (Jasper/Max Liu). His character also goes by Ah Jie, and I will refer to him as that throughout my recaps!
Unfortunately, Kai Qi gets a phone call that her mom is in trouble, and hurries out of the restaurant after paying her bill. As she runs out of the restaurant, she gets hit by a bike and injures her elbow. Shaking it off, Kai Qi jumps into a taxi and heads to her mom’s restaurant. It turns out Kai Qi’s deadbeat dad showed up again and caused a mess, threatening and hitting Kai Qi’s mom for money. Kai Qi wants to report him to the police, but her mom doesn’t want to and Kai Qi tells her mom to stop working, since tomorrow she’s being tested for a promotion to become sous chef. Once her salary doubles, her mom won’t have to work at all.
Ah Jie prepares dinner for his family, and his parents broach the topic of him taking over the family business of running a french restaurant now that he’s back from France. Amour et Patisserie reference? Ah Jie isn’t keen on business, and says that his older brother should do it. His parents manage to convince him to intern for a month though, as a chef.
Simultaneously, Kai Qi tries to bandage her injury and worries about the competition tomorrow. She looks at the photo she took of the dessert plate and wishes that “Louis” will pass on some of his wisdom and inspiration to her.
We meet our two second leads the next day. The first is Kai Qi’s workplace rival – Cheng Le Xuan. She seems sweet on the surface, but slightly bitchy underneath. Our other second lead is the restaurant executive chief – Cheng Hao Wei. He pulls up in front of Kai Qi and asks her if she’s ready for the competition. He tells her that he’s worked hard to become executive chief, and since she likes to live alone, she’ll have difficulty marrying….of course, he’s of childbearing age, so they should get married. He’ll throw the competition for her too. What. A. Jerk.
Kai Qi retorts that he should wake a sleeping tiger, and huffs off. Hao Wei wonders why he had to like her of all people, and why it’s not working. Maybe because you’re a jerk?
We meet the rest of the cast in one swoop. These are the assistant chefs, and they include: headphones girl, maid girl, two guys who have nothing to distinguish themselves yet, and a gangster guy who seems to be the only one loyal to Kai Qi. The staff take bets on who will win the competition, and everyone seem overwhelmingly in favour of Le Xuan.
At the start of the competition, Hao Wei announces that they have to make a steak dish in one hour.
It’s clear from the start how different Kai Qi and Le Xuan’s cooking styles and temperaments are. Kai Qi is curt with directions, tries to handle everything herself (she doesn’t trust her assistants except for Gangster), and uses feel to cook. Le Xuan on the other hand is sweet, divides the work up well, and cooks by the book, testing everything with thermometers and timers.
Meanwhile, Ah Jie drives up to the restaurant (called Figaro), and introduces himself….to no one. HA. The poor kid tries introduction after introduction, before finally deciding to wing it. As he walks in, he flashes back to when he and his nanny’s daughter played at the restaurant. Lo and behold, it was Kai Qi. At the restaurant, Ah Jie digs into the sofa and pulls out a pack of candy, just like his father used to hide when he was younger. aw…
As Ah Jie is the only one who is unbiased, Hao Wei makes him the judge of the competition. He nervously sits down, and compliments Le Xuan on her presentation (she sprinkled gold flakes on top). When he turns to look at Kai Qi’s dish however, Ah Jie’s surprised that it looks a lot like his. He tests the sauce first of each dish, and then takes a bit of each steak. It’s immediately apparent that Kai Qi’s steak tasted terrible, and Ah Jie ends up spitting it into a napkin.
Kai Qi is furious, and demands to know who he is to judge her food and ruin her dream. When she takes a bite of the steak for herself, she immediately looks at Hao Wei in accusation. Ah Jie sees this, but it’s unclear what the executive chief chef did just yet.
When Le Xuan tries to rub it in that she’s the new sous chef, Kai Qi just says “hua pin”. Hua Pin literally means flower vase, but is also slang for “just a pretty face”. When Le Xuan shrieks at Kai Qi not to call her that, Kai Qi just mouths it again. Heh 😛 Ah Jie makes the connection from Kai Qi’s name to his old playmate, and wonders if they really are one and the same.
Kai Qi is a pretty no-nonsense gal, as we see from two separate instances when she just shrugs as goes with it. In the locker room, she starts changing out of her uniform before realizing that she left her shirt on the table. She asks her friend to hand it to her, but the friend left the room and it’s Ah Jie she’s talking to. Once Kai Qi realizes the mistake, she shrugs and walks out to retrieve her shirt, while Ah Jie uncomfortably runs the the corner and turns his back to her. In another instance, her bandaid keeps falling off her arm, and she just rips it off rather that deal with it. I like her 😀
Kai Qi meets up with her friend for drinks at a small restaurant, and she tipsily tells the friend that of all the dishes she could have messed up on…it had to be steak. Flashback to when she and her mom had been at Figaro for new year’s dinner with Ah Jie and his father, and they had eaten dinner together before her mom had resigned. Kai Qi muses that she felt that if she could learn french cooking, she could make her mom happy and stop her mom from working so hard. Ah Jie, who had followed her in the hopes of figuring out whether or not she was the girl from his childhood, gulped nervously when Kai Qi said that thanks to the cheating exec chief and the intern, she lost.
As the night goes on Kai Qi gets drunker and drunker on her own (her friend had to dip to feed the dog), and so Ah Jie is left to catch her when she falls and take her home.
As he piggybacks a drunk Kai Qi home, Ah Jie grows more and more concerned as they near his own apartment. Whaddaya know, they both live on the 14th floor of the same building. Thankfully she lives to the right and he lives to the left, but before he can take her to her door, a little boy runs up and grabs her leg, crying for his mom. Ah Jie is beyond surprised at this point, and wonders if that’s why she denounced men when she was drunk. Kai Qi sobers up a bit at that point, and jumps off his back to push him back in the elevator and tell him to “leave, stupid intern”.
The next morning, Kai Qi wakes up to find that her milk is gone, and that her mom is hogging the bathroom. When she turns around, she sees the little boy. Angrily, Kai Qi calls her mom to demand to know why he’s staying with them. It turns out he’s her nephew, the son of her deceased sister who left the family after high school and never came back. Kai Qi demands that her mom get his out of the house by the time she returns from work.
Annnnnnd when she gets to work, she opens the change room to find Ah Jie half dressed in an ill-fitting uniform. 😉
How cute is
this little ball of sunshine his smile??? I’m very excited to watch the next episode of this drama, because it looks like Ah Jie is already stepping up his game, and there were so many clips of foooooooood. Now if only he could cook those foods for me… 😛
In all seriousness, this episode was a pretty good pilot. We met all/most of the characters, and have a pretty good feel already for our two lead’s personalities. I’m impressed with how Puff has played her character so far (very different from in Just You!), and while Jasper’s character is very similar to his character from Amour et Patisserie (sweet and cheerful), I absolutely adored him there and am not complaining! Their chemistry looks promising too, so keep your fingers crossed!