25-year old Momoe Fujiwara (Miho Nakayama) is a “young lady from a reputable family.” Her father, who owns a medium-sized enterprise, is also an avid food lover - his mantra is “to eat well is to live well”- Momoe herself has been accustomed to eating good food from an early age. Her tongue has now super-first class expertise in taste. Not only can she judge the good from the bad, but she can specify such things as the secret ingredient mixed in a sauce or the restaurant on whose menu a dish was based on and other culinary knowledge that comes from having a tongue which can identify the most delicate of tastes and rich experience. She is a professional eater. However, her affluent upbringing meant that when it comes to cooking, Momoe is an absolute beginner. In this drama, by a curious turn of fate, this “professional eater/ culinary novice” comes to train as a chef - and on top of that, falls in love with her maestro.
Springtime, five years earlier. 20-year old Momoe was at a high market French restaurant with her father Haruhiko, celebrating her graduation from junior college and her first job. Her gourmet father presented her with a silver napkin ring engraved with her name. They toasted with champagne and amuse-bouche, and were about to start their soup when they heard a most terrifying noise in the kitchen at the back.
The cause of the noise was that the restaurant’s sous-chef, Keiji Oda (Toshiaki Karasawa) had changed the taste of the soup without permission and had angered the owner/chef.
Oda was an ingenious chef with super-first class expertise, the one every one talked about, and who had trained at a celebrated Michelin-starred restaurant in France. A genius he may be, but his arrogant and confident attitude brought about dispute with human relations wherever he went. He was a troublemaker and moved from one restaurant to another, unable to stay in one place for long. Here he was at it again, and after arbitrarily using sherry as the secret ingredient in a consomme soup, he was fired from the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Momoe, who tasted the consomme soup, was being taken by surprise. “I have never tasted consomme soup with such good smell! It’s been flavored with… sherry!” However, the moment she tried to ask her father for approval, Haruhiko fell to the floor.
The ambulance arrived; Momoe hurriedly got inside to accompany Haruhiko. That moment, Momoe’s napkin ring fell out of Haruhiko’s hand onto the ground. Haruhiko had impulsively got hold of it when he fell. Oda, who had just been fired from the restaurant, picked up the napkin ring and handed it to Momoe. Momoe rushed to the hospital without so much as saying thank you; little did they know that this was the moment of their fatal encounter.
Five years later, Haruhiko died from years of hard labor and his rich diet. Their house was seized to pay off company debts, Momoe was demoted to a warehouse behind Haneda Airport, and Momoe’s fiance, a highly ambitious social climber who had been seeing her because she was the daughter of a company director, left her. On her way back from the funeral, Momoe was reminded of her father’s words that “Good food is good for the heart. Hunger will get you up to no good. When you feel depressed, go out and eat good food” and absent-mindedly walked into a small restaurant that sent out a delicious smell. The restaurant was “Petit Lapin,” and there she was to have a fated reunion with that Keiji Oda.
One spoonful of consomme soup at “Petit Lapin” surprised her, and she instantly recognized it as the taste she had experienced at the French restaurant. The rice omelette was wonderfully delicious too. Memories of happier times with her late father came back and she shed some tears. Overwhelmed, Momoe pursued Oda and asked him to let her work at the restaurant, to whom he coldly replied, “We do not take women on board.” Momoe did not give up and ended up having to make a dish on the spot as an employment exam. Of course, she was unable to make a decent dish and fails the test. However Momoe still does not give in; and re-visits “Petit Lapin” with her homemade cooking and a tableware set. “I want to be able to cook food that inspires people, just like Oda-san!” Oda is moved by Momoe’s enthusiasm and the silver napkin ring engraved “Momoe.” Finally, Momoe was accepted to work at “Petit Lapin.”
However, becoming a professional chef is no mean achievement. Even being allowed to go into the kitchen is not easy. Every single day Oda shouted at her, but Momoe worked hard. No matter how foul-mouthed he was, no matter that he did not treat her as a human being let alone a woman, Oda was her most revered chef. It did not take long for those feelings to turn romantic.