Ha Ji-won talked about her preparations for her role as a chef in a new TV series on cable channel JTBC at a press event in Seoul on Nov. 28, 2019.
"Chocolate" is a melodrama involving a cold-hearted neurosurgeon, played by Yoon Kye-sang, and a warm-hearted chef played by Ha, who are reunited in a hospice ward without knowing that they crossed paths when they were children.
Ha plays a highly competent chef who has won a prestigious competition in Italy. She is full of life and positive energy, and loses her temper only when faced with injustice.
'초콜릿' 하지원, "몰래 주방보조로 일해, 스태프에 음식도 대접"
For the role, she learned some cooking herself. "I started learning baking and Italian cuisine in March, and I also learned Korean cookery from my mother," said Ha. "I became curious about what working as a chef is like, so I volunteered to work as an assistant in a restaurant kitchen. I've learned that the kitchen staff were like an orchestra working together rhythmically at a fast tempo in front of a fire. I have huge respect for chefs now."
While working in the restaurant for about 10 days, she also sometimes helped the dining room staff, and took orders from customers. "I tried to make myself invisible, but some people recognized me. Everything I learned from that experience helped me immensely to prepare for the role. I had never cooked before, but now I can confidently make you a pasta dish."
The first episode of "Chocolate" will air on Nov. 29, 2019.