Fisticuffs? Well, that's a dramatic way to start the story but, I doubt we'll be having any knock out brawls. Expect cooking instead, as we take a look back at Teo's past, at least so it seems from the opening scene…
What They Say
Italy, Rome. When she was a child, Nicoletta was taken in by her grandmother so that her mother could remarry. Now grown up, she leaves everything in the countryside behind to visit her mother and her mother's second husband, a restaurant owner. To her surprise, her stepfather did not know his wife had a daughter!
A restaurant she had previously visited, Casetta dell'orso is hosted by a cast of dreamy, cool gentlemen who all happen to wear glasses. This curious restaurant's staff include cameriere (waiters) Claudio, Luciano, and Vito, GiGi the sommelier, and chefs Furio and Teo. Because women find the staff so enchanting, business is bustling and reservations are extremely hard to come by at this little Roman treasure.
Amongst all this, Nicoletta decides, on a whim, to work at the restaurant. Gradually, she begins to become interested in one of the gentlemen...
Delicious food and dreamy gentlemen await at the Ristorante Casetta dell'orso. For everyone who works there, a tender connection to the hearts of each visitor is spun, and the curtain raises on a story about these first-rate Italian gentlemen in spectacles.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Episode 9: Day Off from the Ristorante
With the boiler not working, the restaurant is closed for the day. Taking the occasion to work on the new menu for spring, Furio, Teo and Nicoletta head off to the market to see what's in season, and then head back to the restaurant to make some new dishes. Several rounds of experimentation and tasting follow, with Nicoletta coming off poorly the first two times. Her presentation is good, but the food itself lacks flavor.
At the same time, Teo, seeing how harshly he is criticizing Nicoletta, begins to recall his own treatment at the hands of Vanna, the former head chef at Casetta dell'orso. That does not make him let up any on Nicoletta, but it does remind him that he, too, was once the young apprentice being harshly criticized.
In the end, Nicoletta finally makes a dish that the two professional chefs admit tastes good, but it's a very simple home cook's dish, one that, had it been made just by someone at their own house, could be called excellent, but not of the standard that one would come to expect at a restaurant, let alone one with high standards such as Casetta dell'orso. Nicoletta learns an important lesson about what it takes to be a real chef, and so we end this little look inside the restaurant for today.
While promising a look back at Teo's past, instead we get further insight into the inner workings of the restaurant. We also see how far Nicoletta has come, and how much further she has to go, before she can reach her goal of trying to become a professional chef, one who could make food worthy of being served at a high-end restaurant. There are few shows that come as slice-of-life as this one, so if you are a fan of slower-paced shows with lots of character interaction (and quirky characters at that), then this show is definitely one for you. If you prefer lots of fast-paced action and explosions, you would be well advised to try something else.
Japanese 2.0 Language; English subtitles.
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard.