K-Dramas and Food: Highlights From Jinny’s Kitchen

K-drama fans and overall foodies unite under one (restaurant) roof in Jinny’s Kitchen, a new Korean reality show available on Amazon Prime!

The premise of the show is simple, really: a small group of famous Korean celebrities fly to Bacalar, Mexico to run their own Korean restaurant for a little over a week.

Between the 5 of them, they have to run the register, wait on tables, develop the menu, cook all the dishes, clean the front and back of the house, prep ingredients, and both open and close shop – the whole shebang!

Jinny’s Kitchen is a rebranded spin-off of Youn’s Kitchen and Youn’s Stay, both of which had a similar premise: running a restaurant and running a hanok guesthouse, respectively.

In this spin-off, most of the cast from Youn’s Stay returned: Lee Seojin, Jung Yumi, Choi Wooshik, and Park Seojoon, all of whom have decorated careers as actors.

In the place of Youn Yuhjung, who was their “boss” in the original shows, Seojin took the role and hence, the show was renamed to Jinny’s Kitchen.

Another (really exciting) casting change was made as well: to fill in the last spot on the team, they brought on Kim Taehyung – also known by his stage name V, who is one of the members of the global K-pop superstar group, BTS!

Over 10 hilarious episodes, the cast of Jinny’s Kitchen won over the hearts – and stomachs! – of tourists and locals alike.

Here are some of the best highlights from every episode!

Episode 1

One of the most endearing things about Jinny’s Kitchen is the playful team dynamic; they’re always teasing and bickering with each other, but you can see how clearly they all get along.

Their close relationship was evident almost immediately as they began assigning roles based on “experience”. Seojin and Yumi, as the cast members who’d been around since the beginning, took on the executive roles while Seojoon was assigned as Head Chef.

Meanwhile, Wooshik, who was only in Youn’s Stay and would be arriving in Bacalar a day later than everyone else due to a previous filming schedule, and Taehyung, the real newbie, were jokingly assigned as the interns.

This, of course, was met with much resistance from the two youngest cast members, but to no avail.

Episode 2

It’s well-known in the Korean celebrity world that Taehyung, Wooshik, and Seojoon are close friends outside of the show (alongside fellow actor Park Hyungsik and rapper Peakboy, they’re fondly referred to as the Wooga Squad).

That might explain the pure, unadulterated joy on Taehyung’s (and everyone’s, honestly) face when Wooshik finally pulled up to the restaurant at the tail-end of their first day on the job.

Of course, that joy may have been less because of seeing a friend and more because they desperately needed the extra pair of hands in the kitchen!

They were exhausted from their first day; Taehyung even asked “Is there a place I can complain anonymously?” – which becomes somewhat of a running joke throughout the show.

Episode 3

One thing a lot of viewers and fans were waiting for was if any of the customers would recognize the cast!

After all, K-dramas are popular all around the world and, well, BTS is self-explanatory.

We all got a little of that in episode 3 when a young ARMY (the collective name for BTS’ fandom) left a small note before leaving that said “I love (you) so much Kim Taehyung” – Taehyung’s smile after seeing it was so precious!

Taehyung and Wooshik’s cheekiness continued too, as Taehyung immediately set about bossing Wooshik around as soon as he stepped into the back kitchen.

That changed, however, as they giggled over plotting to revolt and open their own food truck just so they could have their boss, Seojin, do the dishes for them instead.

Episode 4

Wooshik was arguably the star of episode 4, not least because of the hilarious little screen time stunt he pulled!

He was helping to cook some of their fried chicken while subtly shifting his arms and flexing for the camera – you’re not subtle, Wooshik!

That cheek and bravery all but disappeared when a group of tourists began whispering amongst themselves when they got a closer look at him as he served them their food and drink orders.

One of them had recognized him as the main actor from Parasite, which made waves in the movie industry and won the Academy Award for Best Picture!

When they asked Wooshik if he was, indeed, that actor, he just shyly confirmed and walked off to hide in the back kitchen! Adorable.

Episode 5

This episode once again features the friendship between Wooshik and Taehyung; the two ‘interns’ were tasked with going to the market to buy ingredients but while there, they also decided to go on a little side trip to a clothing store nearby to buy loudly-printed t-shirts for the entire cast.

When boss Seojin found out he immediately blamed Wooshik, saying “I can’t let him out of my sight”.

He tried to get the two troublemakers to confess, but they teamed up to act completely clueless.

If they had known that Seojin was doing staff evaluations right before that workday, they might have been on their best behavior instead!

Taehyung continued the fun by orchestrating a prank on Wooshik with the rest of the cast in on it as well.

He had promised to help Wooshik with prep for their chicken dish but he had convinced the other cast members to call him over to help them instead every time he got close to actually helping Wooshik out!

They never actually needed Taehyung’s help with anything, but hearing Wooshik’s tired “Okay!” sent them all into constant giggles.

Episode 6

Seojin once again tries to get Wooshik and Taehyung to confess about the clothing store by suddenly bringing it up during their end-of-day conversation about sales, but Taehyung continues to deny it while Wooshik ever so subtly creeps away and walks out of the kitchen.

He makes up for it the next day, however, as he visits the local pier to get more customers.

He uses his status as a famous actor to his advantage, asking people if they had watched Parasite.

One group said yes and he jumped at the chance, saying “Oh I’m in Parasite, I’m the son! Come visit our restaurant.” What a smart strategy.

Episode 7

Episode 7 features one of the busier days in Jinny’s Kitchen, so a lot of it shows the staff scrambling to work seamlessly together to get their orders out quickly and smoothly – and their teamwork is great!

Taehyung and Seojoon have a little back-and-forth discussion about being a fast and irreplaceable worker so that Intern Taehyung can become Sous Chef Taehyung, even though Seojoon teases that he’s not quite there yet.

To reward them for their hard work, Seojin grants them a half-day off to have fun in the water, which they all make full use of with their jet skis!

Episode 8

At this point, Jinny’s Kitchen had built up quite a reputation and customers were starting to pile in (although often during the dinner rush while the lunch hours would be relatively relaxed).

They even had customers waiting for them when they arrived, already lining up to make a reservation for the evening!

They’re so busy at one point that Wooshik steps in to help Yumi in preparing the rice meals, though he doesn’t waste the chance to tease her for needing a foot stool just to be able to reach the stoves properly.

When service ends that day, Taehyung is seen counting his tips – including a 500 peso (roughly 28 USD) tip that Seojin insists Taehyung had taken himself from the register.

Episode 9

This cash register argument continues between Taehyung and Seojin when the former is caught actually opening the register, giving the excuse that he was “just checking” it.

Seojin didn’t believe him for a second, but they were all too endeared to actually care whether he had taken anything or not.

The final day of operations in Jinny’s Kitchen is upon them, and the cast are bantering amongst themselves about what their sales goal should be.

They’d had some good days where they hit over 10,000 pesos (around 569 USD) but also some slower days; ultimately Seojin decided that they wouldn’t be going home until they hit 12,000 pesos (683 USD).

They pulled out all the stops during their last two days, even borrowing the Dalgona game from Netflix’s Squid Game to keep their customers entertained while waiting for their orders.

Episode 10

Their final day is wrapping up, and ARMYs are blessed with another adorable interaction with Taehyung.

A girl from a big group of friends suddenly recognized him when he stepped out of the back kitchen; her younger sister was a fan and she wanted to confirm it was really him.

She stepped up to the counter to ask, “You’re V from BTS, right?” and he just gave her a shy thumbs up before speeding back inside.

His shy smile was caught in 4k, surely sending everyone cooing at their TV screens.

The cast of Jinny’s Kitchen hit their sales goal and ended their 8-day restaurant service on a very high and happy note.

Episode 11

The final episode starts with short cast interviews about what they liked and disliked, which is sure to pull a few laughs as Yumi complains about their boss’ moodiness, Seojoon compares it to his time enlisted in the military, Wooshik laments having his friends as bosses, Taehyung admits he was mistaken it thinking it would be easy, and Seojin smiles proudly about reaching their sales goals.

4 months later, the cast reunited in Seoul for a day of eating and answering viewers’ questions.

Thanks to that, we were privy to some behind-the-scenes things that didn’t make the original cut.

This includes insight into their inside joke about Taehyung and Yuki’s love for (and playful argument over) ramyeon, Wooshik’s feelings about being an introvert forced to distribute flyers, and what roles they’d like to take for future seasons!

They ended with a game of Yut Nori, a traditional Korean board game, with the added rule of no English!

It all ends with interviews with their customers, who were really impressed with the taste.

To top it off, fans of Taehyung had waited outside the restaurant on the last day, and he thanked them by preparing some food to give out to them.

It’s a bittersweet ending, but we’re all hoping to see them all again for another season! Ádios, Jinny’s Kitchen!

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