Jackson’s Birthday Wishes (aka the donkey farm and the Crazy Chef)
(celebrating Jackson Wang’s March 28, 1994 birthday a little early)
Happy birthday, Jackson! Youngji remembered it was his birthday (Jackson knew her’s too – August 30). I don’t think I have ever heard a more off-the-wall birthday wish list than Jackson’s, but when you’re 22 and the world is your oyster, nothing seems impossible. But raising a donkey? Other wishes included putting his head in a tiger’s mouth, sky diving with Kim Heung Guk (last week’s guest), swimming with the dolphins, and for the twelve roommates to go to an island together. Perhaps tba, SBS?
Okay, so raising a donkey actually ended up sounding do-able after hearing his other wishes. Seho and Dong Wook arranged for a trip to the donkey farm. Big brother Dong Wook set out with youngsters Jackson and Youngji for the 7-hour round trip drive to the donkey farm. The owner was such a calm guy, and loved being called brother by Jackson. Donkeys come in all shapes and sizes and what Jackson had in mind was a very small donkey that he wouldn’t be scared of (more like Donkey in Shrek).
Miniature Cross Donkeys, Regal and Young Dal, were just the right size for Jackson’s liking. Turns out those cute little miniature donkeys bring a pretty penny at 22 million won. (According to the owner, there are only 8 miniature donkeys living in S. Korea – a rare commodity.) Dong Wook, Mr. Voice of Reason, was not very successful in reining in Jackson and Youngji all day long. Jackson begged to take one home to which Dong Wook scoffed, “That’s total nonsense, how can we live with a donkey in Seoul?” and “How were you planning on getting the donkey back, exactly?” Youngji answered, “Put it on top of the car.” I lost count of how many times Dong Wook was rendered speechless on the donkey excursion by Jackson’s and Youngji’s pitiful, childlike pleading. He even tried to convince Jackson to just play with the donkeys and then go home, but Jackson whined that his birthday wish was to raise a donkey. It totally worked. Poor Dong Wook, always the responsible older brother who was never a kid himself.
Youngji and Jackson danced for their supper and the owner offered to let them take Regal home for two days to decide if they wanted buy it. For the transportation costs, Jackson and Youngji agreed to clean the stalls. The owner offered a 10% discount. Jackson said he would sell his soul for 20 million won. “I can walk him in JYP building like this.” C’mon, Park Jin Young, buy this little pet for your rapper star. They set out for Seoul with Regal in tow. Jackson’s first wish came true.
They arrived home safely and made a soft hay bed and tied Regal to the tree in the yard. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Cucumber bark before, but she was yanking at her leash to meet the new, um… intruder. Regal wasn’t fazed a bit. Jackson paraded Regal around the living room to show her off, then it was back outside. Regal certainly was calm; perhaps donkeys have a gentle nature (or he takes after his owner). Jackson blindfolded Gook Ju and Joon Hyung for a surprise meeting with Regal. Poor Gook Ju was shocked to the core by the unexpected critter. Jackson said he wanted to change Regal’s name to Michael (Michael Jackson). Not today. Devoted Jackson planned to sleep outside with Regal.
“Crazy Chef” (aka wish #2 – Jackson wants to learn how to cook)
Seho and Ryohei greeted today’s guest,Choi Hyun Seok, chef extraordinaire (see article link below). They were the pupils of the master chef and assisted him from start to finish. Like a boss, Chef Choi checked out the kitchen within minutes of his arrival. Wow! He was impressed the roommates had the same knives he uses. Next, a grocery run. Chef Choi spontaneously picked fresh everything for the theme of the cooking class: dishes that impress women. (If you like someone, you must serve four courses at least.) I learned something new – bulging eggplants and cucumbers mean more seeds and more bitterness, so look for straight ones. Ryohei and Seho immediately lost focus when they spotted free samples! (Reminded me of Stars Falling from the Sky when the mother announced they were eating dinner out, meaning hitting the supermarket for free samples. The oldest daughter was mortified, but the younger siblings loved it.) Chef, who cannot be seen sampling, devised a method with his daughters to sneak him samples as he stands aloof at a distance. Ryohei played master sampler swindler and slyly slid them Chef’s way. Well done! Veggies, lime, abalone, one whole halibut, chocolate, and the shopping was completed.
Time to cook: It was like a scene from Pasta when Chef Choi unrolled his knives and utensils, and put on a crisp, black apron. Pupils Seho and Ryohei obediently answered, “Yes, chef!”
Chef Choi demonstrated cooking with bravado in front of your girlfriend to change the level of your relationship. He was very impressive, even salting raw fish with a flair could qualify for a relationship changer the way he did it. I’m looking at food in a whole other light after watching Chef Choi prepare an incredible meal experience. The roommates trickled in and gathered at the table.
And….dinner is served: seafood salad, pork stew simmered in grape juice with blueberries, shrimp capellini, tiramisu – what could be lovelier? They toasted to Ryohei and Seho and their newly acquired gourmet cooking skills to impress future girlfriends. Or something like that.
Dong Wook is looking healthier these days, don’t you agree? Jong Ok gave him such a hard time about the circles under his eyes and his lack of energy at the end of last year with his demanding drama shoot schedule.
Article on Crazy Chef: http://www.10mag.com/chef-elbon-the-table-itaewon-seoul/