This episode is probably the most enjoyable episode of the show so far. It’s full of good feelings, confessions, and collaboration, and free of all the petty drama that we’ve seen bits and pieces of before!
Ting En asks Qing if she’ll sleep on the bed with him. He’ll sleep better if she does. She responds with an “oh” but stands up and lies down next to him. He holds out his hand, saying he would sleep even better if they held hands again while sleeping. Another “oh” and they interlace fingers. Cuuuuute!
The next morning, Ting En takes Qing to an organic farm and introduces her to the proprietor. He tells her that he plans on taking her around to more of the suppliers that La Mure and Yanisi source their ingredients from so she can compare them and decide which ones she likes best. He has her future in mind: if she wants to open a restaurant, she’ll need to source her ingredients from high quality places. He tells her that he wants to see her succeed. Awwwww.
Ting En also shows a bit of his petty side, sending Ah Wei a video of him and Qing with the same cutesy filter that Ah Wei used in his video before. Ah Wei receives the text in the middle of a coffee chat with his sister, and embarrasses himself by standing up angrily.
Xiao Bin calls Ting En, interrupting his date with Qing, and asks him to come in to La Mure immediately. The Department of Health received a customer complaint about their restaurant and is coming in for an inspection. He’s freaking out and finds it weird that so many misfortunes have fallen upon them recently: the embassy dinner, Grandma’s 80th birthday celebration, and now this.
Qing’s ears perk up at the mention of Grandma’s birthday. What happened and why doesn’t she know about it?
Flashback to yesterday. Ah Wei wasn’t the only one to overhear Jack scheming on the phone; Ting En and Ru Xi were also there. The three of them, combined with Xiao Bin and Brian, formed an unlikely alliance to make sure Grandma’s birthday went smoothly. A secret team of love rivals and love interests joining forces to support Qing? I love it! Ru Xi even says that she admires Qing.
The argument between Ting En and Ah Wei over whose lobsters Qing should use was entirely staged, and Ru Xi was planted in the kitchen to distract Jack. Brian and Xiao Bin purposely orchestrated the box switching to confuse Jack and ended up switching to the right lobsters after Jack inspected Brian’s box. To make sure Jack couldn’t tamper with the dishes themselves, Xiao Bin would swap his dishes with ones that Ting En and Ah Wei assembled on a food truck parked outside.
When Jack received a phone call from his co-conspirator reporting that the lobster was fine, Brian, Ting En, and Xiao Bin were able to eavesdrop and find out who it was: Yu Qing.
Qing asks why they haven’t outed Yu Qing and Jack. Ting En is perceptive enough to recognize that Tian Zhi is most likely innocent and would be the first to get hurt if they found out that Yu Qing tried to tamper with Grandma’s birthday. Moreover, Yu Qing is likely not even the real culprit. She probably is only involved because Mei Li told her to be. And when things involve Mei Li, they also involve his mom. In the end, everyone would be fighting and Grandma would be sad.
Qing is of the opinion that Jack should be fired before he can do more to sabotage the restaurant. But Ting En is more patient and subtle. Much like in cooking, he’s allowing things to simmer for now and will take action when the time is right.
While Ting En explains the complicated family politics, Xiao Bin parodizes each family member in the background. That man gives this show life!
Ting En reintroduces Qing to the kitchen staff, telling them that they should continue to treat her like an apprentice in the kitchen. But maybe a bit nicer, like no more calling her mean nicknames. When they run into a situation with a guest who keeps sending salads back, Qing offers to handle the situation. She recognizes that the guest, a child, doesn’t like the taste of vegetables, so she decides to hide the taste of vegetables in her own way.
But Jack doesn’t like that Qing is going her own way once again and feels like she’s degrading the La Mure kitchen. Ah Wei shows up at this point and wants to intervene, but Ting En holds him back. Qing holds her own and responds that there’s no place for classism in food. Moreover, she fires back at him, saying that he doesn’t seem happy in the kitchen and seems to have lost his way as a chef.
I love that Qing can fight her own battles, not just physically, but also civilly with powerful words. She doesn’t need a man to save her!
Jack tries to find backup among his peers, but it backfires because none of them speak up to support him. In fact, Brian speaks up against him, saying that respect isn’t based on age or seniority, but ability. Jack then appeals to Ting En, hoping that the years they’ve worked together will mean something. Ting En tries to act impartial, saying it’s tough for him to choose between his head chef and his future wife. But ultimately, he chooses Qing.
Jack is offended, but he really doesn’t have a right to speak, because Ting En starts bringing up all the suspicious incidents that have happened lately. Starting from the Tang dinner in episode one, to the food poisoning incident, to Grandma’s birthday. Brian even snitches that Jack broke the Lingzhi eggs. Ting En hopes that Jack will leave voluntarily, but the man is stubborn. Ting En then puts it to a vote — and all the staff vote for Jack to leave — then finally lets the staff take matters into their own hands. They wield their pots, pans, and food and physically chase him out.
With Jack gone, the kitchen returns to normal. Qing mixes a ton of vegetables into a curry meat patty, which she gives the kid who doesn’t like vegetables. She explains to the parents that their son is most likely a supertaster like her, and sensitive to the taste of vegetables because of that. She hid the taste of the vegetables using a method that her father once used to get her to eat vegetables.
Ting En, Xiao Bin, Ru Xi, and Ah Wei all watch her with smiles. Ting En explains to Ah Wei that he didn’t intervene with Qing because she doesn’t need his help. She likes to do things her own way, and he’ll be there to support her and catch her if she does need help, but allowing her to make her own choices and respecting that is his way of loving her. Mic drop. He walks out. Ru Xi is also there to hear it, and both siblings just look at each other.
Qing tries to sneak up on Ting En outside, but he turns at the last minute to scare her instead. They enjoy the stars together for a bit, before she turns to stare at his profile and comments again on how good it looks. He makes her stare at his face full-on, saying that his face is also quite good-looking and she just has to look at him long enough to get used to it.
She smiles and asks if that means he’ll also find her pretty if he stares at her for long enough. That sets him up perfectly for this cheesy but sizzling line, “I don’t need to look at you for a long time. I’ve always thought you were pretty.” And he leans in for the kiss!
But Qing seems to get scared and at the last minute shoves his face away with a hand, asking if Ru Xi went home. She keeps his face at an arm’s length (literally) while they go back and forth on Ru Xi’s whereabouts. She says that he should find Ru Xi and give her a ride home. He’s rightfully confused by why she’s asking him about another woman’s whereabouts and telling him to send another woman home. She says that he’s the one who has always been all about acting responsibly toward women.
She brings up all the instances that he’s done nice things for her in the past without needing to. Like offering to piggyback her down the mountain, or calling himself her boyfriend and saying he’d take responsibility when he thought she was pregnant at the gynecologist’s office. She realizes that he’s actually been quite good to her in the time they’ve known each other.
He nods and agrees. Shouldn’t she do something to show that she appreciates it? He angles his cheek toward her, implying that she should kiss him. But she says that she’ll make him curry as a show of thanks.
Ah Wei plays basketball and acts like a sadboi again. But this time, he’s reflecting on Ting En’s words and realizing that maybe his approach is the right one. Qing looks happy when she’s with him. Does that mean he should just let her be with him?
Qing has a somewhat sweet reason for wanting to make curry for Ting En, even though that’s not what he wants right now. She says that not only does he represent curry, he is curry. To her, he is as important as curry. He makes her want to be better and pursue her own dreams. She hopes that one day, in the future, she can be by his side and help him. Key words! Ting En asks if that means she’s agreeing to date him.
She nods and then admits that before she never believed in herself and never believed that he could actually like her. But somewhere along the way she started liking him.
He goes in for the back hug and tells her to just drop everything and go home with him. If this were a different genre of drama they would totally be getting frisky right now! But instead, he says that he has a gift for her.
Ting En gives Qing the Huo family’s secret recipe book. At first, she thinks it’s too precious for her to have, but he reminds her that she may one day be a member of the Huo family, and it’ll be her right to have it.
Qing asks Ting En why he picked her to be his fiancee that day. He says that it’s because he knew she would help him no matter what. At first, she pretends she’s offended that he just treated her like a human shield. But eventually he works his way up to saying that he picked her because he liked her. And that somewhere along the way he realized that she’s someone he’s willing to give everything to.
They’re both just full of adorable confessions today, aren’t they! I love it.
Ting En tells Qing that she’ll probably find the recipe book more helpful than he did. For him, as a member of the Huo family, he only has one option in his future: to continue overseeing Yanisi’s business interests. But for her, her options are wide open. She can do whatever she wants, and he’ll support her regardless of where their relationship goes. Qing opens the recipe book, and is surprised to find laminated pages from her father’s notebook. They’re the missing pages she had been looking for.
I loved this episode! After a mix of good and bad things happening to our protagonists, it is so refreshing to see Qing and Ting En have win after win. They both finally confronted their true feelings for each other and accepted them, and while their admissions were kind of cheesy, I also love seeing open communication and trust!
Ting En’s last words, while meant to be casual, were also very telling. He’s spoken before about never really having thought of the future, because for him the future has always been set. As long as he is a Huo, he will have to do things for the sake of the family and not for himself. So perhaps it wouldn’t be so terrible for him if he were taken out of the top spot like Mei Li wants, though I’m sure that if he were kicked out it would not be pleasant for anyone…