King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu Episode 15

One last recap on New Year’s Eve. See you next year!

episode 15 recaps

Since it’s completely rude to turn your back on someone who is talking to you, Tak Gu bends down to clean up the spilled flour. Il Jung approaches and tries to help. He asks if Tak Gu is an apprentice. Tak Gu says yes.

Il Jung reminisces about how he used to burn bread all the time when he was starting out. Either the bread was burned, or cooked at the wrong temperature, resulting in a bread that collapses out of the oven. Tak Gu listens intently, and asks if Il Jung ever had problems with bread that is too dry and flaky.

Il Jung says that the solution is to add back the moisture that was lost in the baking process. Exactly how to do that he will leave Tak Gu to figure out, because you only keep what you discovered on your own.

Il Jung hands Tak Gu his handkerchief and tells him to clean up his face. And then the inevitable question comes: what is your name? Tak Gu struggles for a second, and tells Il Jung that his last name is Kim. Il Jung looks Tak Gu in the eye, and tells him that he likes his gaze. He wonders what kind of bread Tak Gu will eventually make. Il Jung turns to leave.

Tak Gu is speechless for a while, but just before Il Jung disappears, he manages to shout out “What you taught me today, I’ll never forget. You’ll be blessed, Mr President.” Il Jung smiles. Did anyone just notice that Tak Gu called him Mr. President?

Head Baker enters at this moment to greet Il Jung, and they head down. Once Il Jung is out of the kitchen, Tak Gu lets his tears fall freely.

Downstairs, Ma Jun paces anxiously. Head Baker and Il Jung make it down, and Head Baker introduces Ma Jun as Seo Tae Jo. Il Jung tells Head Baker that he heard about the competition happening tomorrow, and shouldn’t get in their way. He turns to Ma Jun and asks whether he’s taking part in the competition. Ma Jun says yes.

Il Jung stretches out his hand to hold Ma Jun’s shoulder, and wishes him the best. It’s a small gesture, but it is a big deal to Ma Jun who savors the touch even after Il Jung leaves. On his way out, Il Jung wonders why apprentice Kim knew to call him President.

Both guys prepare for bed that night, the happy afterglow of meeting Il Jung still shining. Ma Jun asks Tak Gu what he talked about with the president of Geo Seung Foods. Tak Gu said that they didn’t say very much; he burned his bread and was a bumbling mess. This reassures Ma Jun.

Tak Gu offers his view of Il Jung: he is a great man, warm and caring, words probably alien to Ma Jun’s description of his dad. Tak Gu adds that whoever has such a man for a father is really lucky.

Ma Jun asks Tak Gu whether he has a father, and Tak Gu says yes. However, they were separated years ago. Why didn’t Tak Gu look for him? Tak Gu says he will one day when he makes something of himself. His father’s last words to him were that he was a special son, but look at Tak Gu now.

By now, Ma Jun’s mood is completely changed. Tak Gu tries to ask Ma Jun about his father, and Ma Jun says he wants to sleep. They have a competition tomorrow.

It is the night before the exam, and Head Baker is concerned about Tak Gu’s ability to perform. Windmill man says that he believes in Tak Gu. Isn’t Head Baker curious about what Tak Gu can achieve? Head Baker realizes that Windmill man and Grandpa share the same views on Tak Gu.

When Ma Jun wakes up the next morning, Tak Gu is already gone. Tak Gu is in the kitchen, trying to bake batch after batch of dough with no success.

In the morning, everyone assembles in the kitchen. Grandpa tells whoever wants to participate in the certificate exam to step forward. Ma Jun steps forward, and so does Curly. Is that all?

Mi Sun steps forward too. She wants to be recognized as a patissier even though they are at a bakery. If she passes, she wants to the right to sell her cakes in the store. Head baker doesn’t look happy at the proposal, but Grandpa allows Mi Sun to go on. He likes her spunk.

Everyone looks expectantly at Tak Gu who is having second thoughts about participating. He thinks about how Axe Eyes, Curly, Head Baker, even Mi Sun, have told him that he’s not ready to bake bread. Grandpa gets ready to close the call for participants. Tak Gu remembers the words of encouragement from Grandpa and Il Jung, and gingerly steps forward just as Grandpa says that this is the final lineup.

Immediately, the ever socially-inept Axe Eyes declares that it’s preposterous that Tak Gu is joining the competition when he can’t bake. Tak Gu takes the criticism in his stride — if he can’t do it, he will just be eliminated in the first round like Grandpa said.

Head Baker gets the okay to reveal the first part of the exam: the most filling bread in the world. They will have 15 days to come up with their submission.

In Sook appears unannounced at the Geo Seung office. Ja Kyung happens to see her and asks her if she has an appointment with Il Jung. In Sook tells her it’s something else and tells her to run along. She heads up to the secretariat office, where Miss Yoon informs her that Il Jung is currently away. It’s no matter to In Sook, who asks Yu Kyung to serve her coffee inside Il Jung’s office.

Yu Kyung sets a cup of coffee down for In Sook. In Sook complains that Yu Kyung set the cup down too noisily. Yu Kyung apologizes and tries to leave, but In Sook tells her to sit.

In Sook asks how Yu Kyung made it to the secretariat office. Is she secretly seeing Ma Jun? Yu Kyung tells her that it’s through her own efforts that she obtained her current position. But that doesn’t explain why Geo Seung Foods of all places. Yu Kyung says that she needed to be in Geo Seung to show In Sook what kind of person she is.

Done with her piece, Yu Kyung stands up to leave. In Sook stops her, and tells her that she’s rude. Yu Kyung says she has work to do, which earns her a slap in the face with a pile of papers from In Sook. She tells Yu Kyung to stay away from Ma Jun. In Sook opens the door to leave, revealing Il Jung. It looks like he was probably listening in to everything.

In Sook leaves in a huff, and heads to Manager Han’s office. Manager Han happens to be away, and In Sook waits for him at his desk. She knocks over some files, revealing the same blackmail letter that she recently received. She looks at it in shock, and hearing noises outside the door, quickly stuffs it away in her bag. That’s not so smooth.

Manager Han asks her why she dropped by, but In Sook says she had no actual business. She hurries away home to brood over the letter. Manager Han notices the missing piece of paper.

Tak Gu is having troubles understanding what the most filling bread is. Is it the biggest bread? Mi Sun doesn’t help him: he’s supposed to think it through on his own.

The participants are given additional information about the competition. They will be given money to purchase materials. Mi Sun asks whether they can supplement the allowance with their own money, and is turned down. If they attempt to take materials from the bakery’s kitchen, they will be disqualified.

Head Baker issues a final statement — they have to carry out their full work duties during the 15 days of round one. If they slack off to work on their submission, they will also be disqualified.

The participants gather outside the bakery. Tak Gu is the only person looking upbeat. The other three complain about the limited amount of money, and the fact that they don’t get the full 15 days to work on their submission. No wonder few people have ever passed the exam. Curly asks if Axe Eyes has a certificate, and it’s a negative.

Tak Gu thinks it’s all good: he has a chance to surpass Axe Eyes now. Ma Jun leaves to prepare dough. Curly leaves to purchase materials. Tak Gu stops Mi Sun as she is leaving. He has questions: like how much flour does he need for 15 days? And how much materials can one get for 50,000 won? In 1990, 50,000 won converted to about USD70.

Mi Sun sighs that Tak Gu has a long way to go.

Clueless, Tak Gu tries to hoover around discreetly as the other participants get their purchases checked in. He pretends to practice along with the other three, but he ends up making dough with funny shapes. Mi Sun shakes her head at him.

Tak Gu has no inspiration for his bread, and goes to bed early. Mi Sun and Curly take it easy, and chill with the rest after dinner. Ma Jun is hard at work till late. Mi Sun’s mom notices that Tak Gu hasn’t been working as hard on his bread, and wonders if he’ll make it.

Il Jung gets Yu Kyung to escort him down for a change. In the elevator, he asks Yu Kyung whether she is Ma Jun’s friend. Yu Kyung denies it. She hasn’t seen him since college. Il Jung tells Yu Kyung not to take his wife’s words to heart, which is probably the closest thing to an apology. He tells her that his wife treats their son very specially.

Manager Han witnesses the entire exchange. We see a flashback: it turns out that Manager Han had a talk with Yu Kyung, probably after In Sook threw her public tantrum (it’s the same green tie). He deduces that she was the one he saved from jail. He tells her that if her goal is Ma Jun, it’s not happening. Yu Kyung says it’s not her goal. Manager Han offers to compensate her if she resigns, and Yu Kyung declines. Manager Han gives her a month to reconsider.

Ja Kyung catches a glimpse of Yu Kyung walking with Il Jung, and decides to have a talk with Ja Rim. She tells Ja Rim that In Sook threw a fuss in the office earlier that day over Yu Kyung. She asks whether Ja Rim has been in touch with Yu Kyung. Ja Rim says no. Ja Kyung finds it suspicious that Yu Kyung suddenly showed up. She warns Ja Rim to keep quiet about Yu Kyung to Ma Jun. I wonder if that will work.

When Ma Jun wakes up the next morning, Tak Gu is already out of the room. Ma Jun feels uneasy not knowing what his competition is doing, and goes to look for him.

Someone is adding baking soda to the participants’ flour. Tak Gu enters the kitchen right at this moment, causing the culprit to panick. Hearing noises, Tak Gu goes to check the backroom where the flour is stored but sees no one. In the meantime, the culprit has escaped.

Tak Gu notices the bag of baking soda and picks it up. This is how Ma Jun finds him a second later. Ma Jun asks Tak Gu what he’s up to, and Tak Gu replies that he heard a noise and found this half-empty bag of baking soda. They don’t know what to make of it for now.

However later that day, Curly discovers that his latest batch of dough has failed to rise. He is not the only affected person — Ma Jun’s and Mi Sun’s doughs failed to rise too. They bring it up to Head Baker, who tries to diagnose the problem.

Axe Eyes tastes the flour, and comments that the contaminant is odorless and tasteless, so it could only be one thing: baking soda. It was common practice for disgruntled apprentices who have been fired to spike the flour to cause the firing bakeries problems.

Grandpa hears about the spiked flour, but he decides not to give additional money to buy replacement flour, which means that everyone, except Tak Gu, can’t participate. Infuriated, Ma Jun rushes upstairs to confront Tak Gu.

He accuses Tak Gu of contaminating the flour. Sure, he once said use whatever means, but he didn’t realize that Tak Gu would go that far. Tak Gu has no idea what Ma Jun is talking about. Ma Jun is furious because he’s wasted two years waiting for a competition that is now impossible. He calls Tak Gu names, which angers Tak Gu and they get into a fight.

Hearing the commotion upstairs, the others in the house gather. Windmill man rushes upstairs in time to see Ma Jun on top of Tak Gu and punching him. He restrains Ma Jun to stop him from throwing further punches.

The two guys are brought before Grandpa. It takes two to fight, so Grandpa will ban them both from working in the bakery for a week. Although the evidence against Tak Gu are circumstantial, the flour contaminant also means that there is no way for the other three participants to go on in the competition. Grandpa suggests that Tak Gu use his allowance to buy flour for the other three.

Tak Gu protests that he will be almost broke, but it’s the only way forward for everyone.

In the meantime, Windmill man goes to the bakery to do his own investigation. He finds the bag of baking soda, and notices that it costs 150 won. This matches the amount on the receipt that Curly dropped.

Manager Han notices that he hasn’t been able to contact In Sook since that day in the office, and decides to check on her. In Sook asks him how he dealt with Shin Yu Kyung. She is not satisfied that Manager Han only had a talk with Yu Kyung, and brings up how he previously allowed trouble (Tak Gu) to happen because he tried to be sympathetic.

But this isn’t really what he came for. Manager Han asks In Sook if she took a letter from his desk that day. In Sook denies it. She insinuates her suspicions about him: was there a letter she was not supposed to see? And why can’t he solve the mystery of the blackmail letter — because he doesn’t want to? If he wanted to scare her, it’s not working. She hopes that it’s not him.

Manager Han notices the housekeeper observing them, and gets suspicious.

In Sook has other matters on her plate as well. President Na, who is a front person for Dr. Yun and Kim Mi Sun, tells In Sook that he needs to collect the money she used for purchasing Geo Seung shares two years ago. She protests that she was not given warning, and tries to remind President Na that she had already informed him that she has no intention of repaying in two years.

President Na says he needs the money for business. If she can’t give him cash, he’d be willing to accept shares.

Against Ja Kyung’s warning, Ja Rim looks Ma Jun up. She asks him if he’s been in touch with Yu Kyung, and he says no. He hasn’t even thought of her. Curious, he asks her what she has to tell. Without any pressure, Ja Rim confides that Yu Kyung is now working at Geo Seung. Ma Jun hears this news with surprise, and goes to Geo Seung to check things out for himself.

He happens to enter the building just as Yu Kyung and her colleagues are walking to the elevator. Yu Kyung notices him, but walks on. Troubled, Ma Jun waits in the lobby.

Armed with evidence, Windmill man goes to confront Curly. He surprises Curly in his room, and Curly quickly tries to hide something under the cupboard. Windmill man tosses him aside to check what he was hiding, and finds a bank book. He looks inside and finds that large amounts of money have been transfered to Curly. Case solved, Windmill man drags Curly out.

He tells Tak Gu that he’s caught the perpertrator behind the gas explosion and the flour spiking. It’s Curly, and he was acting under orders from Manager Han. He hands Tak Gu the bank book as evidence. Windmill man tells Tak Gu to do whatever he wants to Curly. They can kill him or hand him over to the Pal Bong family.

Tak Gu is enraged by the revelation. How could Curly have done all these and almost blinded him? Curly begs for forgiveness, and says that he was blinded by the money.

Tak Gu drags Curly, Windmill man in tow, and heads for the Geo Seung building. His plan? Probably to confront Manager Han.

Yu Kyung goes about her work, but feels disturbed. She heads downstairs to check and surely enough, Ma Jun is there.

With Tak Gu heading towards the building, it’ll be an interesting meet up.


Finally more real progress: they solve the mystery of the gas leak, and Tak Gu gets to confront Manager Han.

For some reason, I started out being very excited about the baking parts, but I’m now more interested in the other parts of the plot. While they still try to throw in the occassional baking scene, it doesn’t matter so much to me now.

With In Sook suspicious of Manager Han, the shares transferring to Kim Mi Sun, and Tak Gu’s barging into Geo Seung, it feels as though we’re preparing for the end. Many loose ends, but we have more than enough time to clear things up. Too much time actually. I wonder what other party tricks they are going to have to pull out to make this work.

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