Kitchen Scholar Ep 1
Posted on October 30, 2012
Panyachon Kon Krua opens with a hustle and bustle. The collective students at the University are preparing to put on a show at the auditorium. The worst nightmare for any student is to wake up late for this special event. But such is the case for our leading lady, Amika, who rouses from a deep sleep at 8am, when she should have been at the school, preparing for her performance.
Amika is great at thinking on her feet though, which is a resourceful skill to have, so she quickly hails a cab, changes in the back seat into her costume and when traffic deems impossible to get there in time for her show, she hops on the motor taxi and bypasses the gridlock. She makes it to the stage right on queue as they perform a rendition of “Tick Tock” by Palmy.
The group celebrates their job well done back stage but we know that her time at school is not without conflict. Her nemesis, Apichat, storms in front of her face and spats that her performance was a bore and corny, and that his performance on the other hand was passionate. To break up the argument, their Professor announces a challenge for the whole class to partake: a scriptwriting contest. The winner will earn a fellowship to study in New York and they have two and a half months to compile such a masterpiece.
It would be a dream come true for Amika. Clearly money is not an issue, but getting accepted base on a competition is priceless. Apichat fuels her fire when he challenges her and tells her that she could not possibly write anything poignant or compelling due to her easy life. This begs the concept of “writing what you know.” But if you have not experienced it before, how are you able to write something meaningful and true?
So this commences Amika’s determination to find something worthy to write. She may not have the necessary experience, but she certainly have the gumption to learn.
Meanwhile in the mountainous terrain, two men hike their way to the top. The Secretary to the Minister tells the smaller man that he is currently looking for projects to recommend to the committee. The smaller man mentions that the Secretary always thinks about work (even while they’re hiking.)
The Secretary, by the nickname of Tum, receives a reminder phone call from his mother that he is to attend the charity event this evening.
Apparently Tum’s mother is chummy with Amika’s mother. They are acquainted due to their spouses’ involvement in politics: Amika’s father is a governor of Chiang Mai. And well- Tum is the Secretary to the Minister. Amika’s father likes to tease his wife that she should open a matchmaking consultancy, since she is so adamant about trying to find Amika a husband. His wife thinks that there are only bad men left in this world (gay and philanderers) so when a good man like Tum is within sight, one has to at least try to get them to meet.
There is an air of mysteriousness in their first encounter. They are at a masquerade ball, which I find bemusing since the mothers are trying to get the two to notice each other, but they picked a place where they can’t see each other’s real faces. Somewhat counterproductive, I say? Fortunately, this works to their advantage, as the pair does not realize they are being match made. And instead, upon seeing each other through their masks, they are instantly mesmerized. Tum especially, finds the lady in white quite intriguing.
After going for the same cocktail glass, Tum offers her the stem. Amika smiles at his chivalry and makes her way back to her parents while Tum keeps his eyes on her retreating back. She immediately feels a stir of discomfort in her stomach but her mom forces her on the dance floor. Amika finds herself in the middle, surrounding by couples dancing. Looking around uncomfortably, a lonely hand soon reaches out to her. It was him, Tum, who had offered her the drink a moment ago. She smiles and takes his hand and they dance. Their rhythm is in sync, their eyes on each other. After he spins her however, her stomachache returns full force and she stumbles on his toes a few times, losing her wit. When she cannot handle any longer, she flees the dance floor telling him that she must go.
Tum follows her down the hall, but around the corner he loses sight of her and only a pair of shoes remain behind. Smiling, he teases the mysterious lady for acting like Cinderella and yet, he sentimentally reserves her shoes for souvenir.
The following morning, Amika’s parents return to Chiang Mai, where her father is stationed. She remains in Bangkok with her housekeeper. Prior to going to the masquerade ball the night before; she had posted a question requesting ideas for her scriptwriting contest. She receives many responses and decides to try her hand with being a “coyote,” a bar dancer. Supposedly not the most safest nor respected profession, as she soon learns.
Her close friends along with Amika, tells the bar owner that they are “Korean” dancers (as if that is believable) and dresses up as scantily clad dancers with a wig to boot. That very night, they dance to the arrangement. Sitting in front of the stage is Tum, in his casual attire, watching the entourage before him. The cutest one trips and falls on his lap and he is momentarily mesmerized. She soon rights herself and he watches the group clumsily dance to the tune. The scene turns rowdy when one of the patrons could not retain his excitement and goes in for the manlier of the dancers (he really is a man lol.) The dancer strikes him and all hell breaks lose. The patron fires his gun and the crowd disperses.
Amika runs for her life but two men chase her. They got hold of her arm and proceed to drag her away. Luckily, Tum, the stranger she had fallen on, pulls his car to a stop. He tells them to let her go, but they wanted to pick a fight with him, so he humored them. With ease, Tum beats them to a pulp, and Amika watches on with amazement.
They soon climb into his car and Tum drives away from the scene, both unharmed. But things don’t always end that way and Tum is determined to remind her that she needed to rethink her profession. It is reckless and endangers anyone who decides to help her. Amika is appalled as she listens to his lectures. When he finishes- and she tells him to drop her off in the corner- he dismisses her (twice) from his car.
Amika stands at the side of the road watching his car steer away. She mutters to herself that if she were to have a boyfriend like him, she would be bored to death. But his words did not fall on deaf ears, when she sees her friends shortly afterward; she apologizes for endangering them- and thus becomes determined to do things on her own.
Testing out the waters, Amika attempts different jobs but fails miserably. Fed up, she complains to her housekeeper. Upon listening to her housekeeper’s trials and tribulations about her career, Amika is suddenly inspired. She knows what she will write about: a socialite impersonating a maid and revealing a bird’s eye view of what it is truly like to be a maid.
Everyone is against this, even her professor. But soon her friends support her decision and they help her sign up with a maid agency. The agency assigns her to Khun Cheun’s household, where she is introduced to the eclectic maids and a slew of family members residing within the mansion’s proximity.
Nark, a lesbian, is immediately attracted to “Cha-aim’s” good looks, and she becomes her roommate. There is the housekeeper (Sompit), BanJong and Jut (the gardener.) Cha-aim is thrown into chaos.
Nark introduces her to Khun Cheun, the boss who loves to karaoke but doesn’t realize how horrible she sounds. Khun Cheun interviews her about how long she has worked as a maid. Cha-aim says without thinking that it has been three years. She immediately regrets it. Before the boss could ask her any further question, a riot of shrilly voices enters the living room. It is Aoey and Aon, fighting over a tube of lipstick. The two are half sisters, Aon with a previous husband and Aoey with the current, and the two does not get a long for a minute. Cha-aim and Nark retreats away from the fight, and Nark shows her around the premises.
The first house they discuss is Khun Pae, who is Khun Cheun’s gay brother. He only hires male maids and refuses to have anything to do with women outside of his relatives. Second house is Khun Orathai and hubby who hires only old lady maids due to the hubby’s philandering ways. The third house adjacent to the mansion is Khun Cheun’s parents’ home. Grandma has Alzheimer’s and grandpa has a hearing problem.
But the world is so small. It turns out, Khun Cheun’s husband is Tum’s uncle, who is helping him research a few projects for the PM. After the tour, Cha-aim notices the white BMW that splashes by her as she was walking to the mansion. Little did she know that someone is in the car, collecting his papers. Cha-aim meanders towards the car and mischievously writes on his car window- inscribing that the owner is ill mannered. Tum sees her scribbling on his car and walks out to confront her, he asks what she is writing. Without skipping a beat, Cha-aim tells him. But as she turns around to face him, she gets a flashback of the man she had fallen on at the club.
She tries to run away, but he apprehends her. He takes a closer look at her face- she wishes fervently that he doesn’t recognize her- but he scrunches his eyebrows, thinking that she looks familiar. Before he could say anything though, she tries to distract him by making kissing faces at him. He is taken aback and pulls away. Aon witnesses this and shrieks. Cha-aim re-introduces herself to the misses and excuses herself, all the while walking away, hoping that he doesn’t remember her.
Cha-aim is assigned to help set the table with Nark and Banjong. Nark is friendly to her but Banjong likes to bully her. Khun Aon wants them to serve lunch foreigner’s style but the duo Nark and Banjong has no idea how to set the table properly. Cha-aim deftly put the dishes and utensils in their places- impressing Nark and making Banjong feel threatened.
However, Cha-aim grows restless and nervous when Tum joins the family for a meal. Her hands shook when she is pouring the water. Banjong takes the opportunity to bump into her, causing Cha-aim to pour the entire content of the pitcher on top of Khun Aon’s head- whom of course shrieked.
All of the maids said Cha-aim would have been severely reprimanded and possibly fired if Tum was not around (and Khun Aon didn’t need to impress him with her pretense calm.)
Tum excuses himself from the table- telling everyone that he needs to use the restroom- but he follows Cha-aim into the kitchen instead. He stands by the door watching her attempt to do the dishes. She jumps in shock when she sees him and drops the dish to the floor, where it breaks into pieces. He thinks she is up to no good because she is so antsy around him. She ignores his comment and tries to pick up the broken pieces but ends up cutting her finger. She mutters to herself that every time she runs into him, she always gets bad luck. He squats down to face her and recalls the face of the coyote girl who fell on his lap. Before he could say anything further, Aunt Sompit storms into the kitchen, exclaiming at the broken dish. Tum takes the brunt of the blame and tells the housekeeper that it was his fault.
Cha-aim stares at him with confusion. Why is he helping her? No matter, she is glad for the aid. She follows him to his car and thanks him for the help. He doesn’t return the friendliness. He tells her that the only reason why he helped her a moment ago is because she heeded his advice about choosing a different profession. Cha-aim becomes speechless because her fear became a reality, he did remember her! With him around, her research as a maid is going to become so much more difficult. He leans in closer to her and tells her to be a good maid, otherwise he would reveal who she is to the family.
Cha-aim dislikes the fact that Tum is treating her like she is some thief.
As Tum steers the car out of the driveway, he notices a man by the fence who is calling for Cha-aim. Suspicious, he watches them hold hands. Cha-aim manages to make her boyfriend, Pong, leave. Tum tells his friend to investigate Cha-aim’s background for him. He will not rest unless he figures out this mysterious puzzle that don’t quite fit together.
Back at the mansion, Khun Aon returns the punishment on Cha-aim, pouring water over her head. Already, there will be challenges before Cha-aim: she’s already butting heads with Banjong and now Khun Aon.
Cha-aim calls her best friend and confides about her day’s event: especially that she met the man who knew about her coyote “past.” She also mentions to her friend to keep Pong out of the picture because he would surely ruin her plans.
During the servant’s dinner, Cha-aim learns that everyone is indebted to Nark, who is smitten by her and defends her. Since they share a room, Cha-aim asks how Nark has so much money and how she feels about being a maid. Nark replies that she didn’t have to pay rent or buy food, she is able to save up a lot of money. Besides being a maid, she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Nark is very proud to be a maid, her masters could not survive without her. Nark changes the subject and hits on Cha-aim, asking her if she wanted to go take a shower with her lol. Cha-aim is able to avoid her advances.
For the first day on the job, things are already getting interesting.
The following morning, Cha-aim is disoriented when she wakes up, thinking that she is sleeping in her own room. The maids are setting up breakfast when Aunt Sompit passes gas and they tell her to take care of her business in the rest room. Hilarity ensues: Jud walks by the restroom thinking that Cha-aim is taking a shower. He peers through the bathroom window and intends to spy-but sees Aunt Sompit on the toilet pooping instead. Lol. Banjong punishes him for being a pervert.
Cha-aim and Nark are assigned to serve grandma and grandpa breakfast. Cha-aim experiences first hand this funny duo. Grandma could only retain information for 3 seconds and always asks Cha-aim who she is. Cha-aim catches on quickly and tells grandma her name before grandma could ask. Grandpa is hard at hearing and mistaken what he hears, causing funny misnomers.
Amika’s best friend warns Pong not to bother Aim. But she made the mistake of telling Pong what Aim is planning on doing. This freaks him out and he disappears before she could warn him further.
Meanwhile Cha-aim’s task is to clean the windows. As she steps on the tall ladder, Tum pulls into the driveway. He notices her standing on the ladder, cleaning the window. As he walks closer to the window, the ladder teeters and she slowly topples over. Running to her aid, Tum catches her in time before she hits the floor.
I cannot deny this charismatic duo. Moving forward, I will be recapping Panyachon Kon Krua. I am somewhat behind though, as we are at the middle of our series, so I beg for your patience.
*pics taken from YT- Kisskeepintouch channel