Workplace (or public services)? You mean, the police, hospitals, restaurants, and shopping malls, right? Well... Sort of. You see, I struggled to find a way to define all these great dramas and bring them together in one connecting issue, but then I noticed a theme - a central part of the story is based around a service to the public - which is more common than not in a KDrama. Perfect! But because of this, I have far too many to choose from, hence a rather long list to write. So, instead of covering all public services, I'll write about a few at a time. This, ladies and very few gentlemen, is the restaurant issue!
For the sake of not repeating myself and mentioning a drama twice, I'll exclude medical dramas in the public services drama issue series.
There are numerous services you can find in a K-Drama, from hotelier, to restaurant, to police, to TV broadcasting. So many to choose from, so little places on this list. Just to make my life easier, I'll list these in no particular order coming.
Let us begin;
1. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop
This drama came about as part of the Flower Boy series by tvN which includes numerous other dramas for another time. Airing as the first in the series in 2011, it starred Lee Chung Ah and Jung Il Woo. This drama is based around teacher Yang Eun Bi. In the beginning, she's in her mid-20's and just graduating university. She encounters Cha Chi Soo by chance after he returns from NYC, having been kicked out of high school. He's the heir to Koreas biggest food conglomerate. Eun Bi isn't aware of his age and like most females is drawn to his alluring charm. Certain events after lead her to becoming a student-teacher at the same school as Cha Chi Soo... and it's the same school that his rich family actually own. To add petrol to the fire, she's even taking his homeroom class. After conflict, Eun Bi is removed from her job around the same time her father dies - leaving his Ramyun shop as inheritance, but not to his daughter, to a male family friend whom her father wanted her to marry. She begins working in the shop close to the school, and soon takes in students in predicaments. Cha Chi Soo follows and a love triangle develops between Eun Bi, Cha Chi Soo, and Cha Chi Soo's half brother. This of course leads to more conflict and there's a lot of feelings and emotion in this heart-felt but comedic drama.
Pasta aired in 2010 on MBC. Compared to the drama before (aimed at younger audiences), this one was aimed at the more mature - not because of the content but the story line generally isn't one teenagers would enjoy but as a teenger watching at the time... I loved it! It stars Gong Hyo Jin and Lee Sun Hyun - both veteran actors in Korea with a long history in entertainment.
The drama begins showing us Seo Yoo Kyung - a kitchen assistant of three years with the dream of becoming a chef. She's worked at La Sfera non-stop for all of those, never once taking a break in hope of some day fulfilling her dream. Through events she can't control, on the day she is promoted to assistant chef, the head chef if fired meaning they'll have new orders to listen to. In comes Choi Hyun Wook - a Korean chef, trained in Italy who coincidentally met Seo Yoo Kyung a few days previously in the street. He had appeared nice at the time, but without blinking, the head chef has fired all the females from his kitchen under the words that women can't cook. Despite being a sexist jerk in work, he still wants to date Seo Yoo Kyung, even though it was him who fired her and her friends directly.
Seo Yoo Kyung sets out to prove herself through the conflicting emotions telling her to do one thing but people telling her to do another. In the end it's a question of who you will choose, who you will trust, and will you be able to do it? This is an inspiring but heart warming drama about following your dreams and fulfilling a few checks on the bucket list along the way - including finding the man of your dreams.
3. Warm & Cozy
This drama stars Kang So Ra and Yoo Yeon Seok, airing in early - mid 2015. It ran for 16 episodes and was met with relative success. It was hyped as it was wrote by 'The Hong Sisters' - a famous screenwriting duo who plot the years hit dramas. This drama was based around the fable of 'The Ant & The Grasshopper' - telling a life lesson of how you must plan ahead. Admittedly, I never got far with this drama (unlike every drama listed in this magazine so far - all of which I've watched and finished). Wasn't my thing.
Lee Jung Joo as a teenager was hunting down her long-lost family, leading her to Jeju island and meeting a character who she believes to be her brother - Baek Gun Woo - a wealthy son to a chaebol family. It turns out this was a false lead, and she continues on her way in searching for her family not thinking much of the man she met. Fast forward multiple years, and Jung Joo has just been fired from her job just as she breaks up with her boyfriend and is kicked out her flat. She decides to return to Jeju island as her last chance at having a good life. She has plans to scour the beaches and make money off the land, however upon arrival finds she can only afford a small beach front shack falling to pieces. The citizens in her small Jeju island village shun her for being an outsider.
Baek Gun Woo and her meet once again coincidentally as he's been messing around for a few years in becoming an able chef and operating an under-performing restaurant in middle of no-where Jeju. Due to the lack of tourists, his business is failing, but that's no concern to him as he lives off the money his older brother earns as the heir to his families company. Around the same time they meet, Gun Woo receives news his funds are being cut off and as a way to scrounge even the slightest of funds, he sells the restaurant and everything inside to Jung Joo after a drunken night pouring over their feelings.
The tables are turned and Gun Woo bow works for Jung Joo - who owns fancy restaurant in Jeju which soon begins to make a turn over. She even gets to show off to her ex- colleagues while they're on a business trip. Of course, a romance develops but not without fight. There is also the family issues on either side of the pairing to deal with and each of their personal demons.
Special mentions to Coffee Prince - which would have been mentioned here if it hadn't been mentioned before. Also, these are dramas that feature a café/restaurant but are perhaps not central to the story. Check these out -
Marriage, Not Dating
SUPPLEMENT #1 - DRAMA FEATURE REVIEW - OUT ON 25/11/15, AND ISSUE #5 - PUBLIC SERVICES, BROADCASTER AND BEAUTY, OUT ON 29/11/15