Massively popular South Korean actor Park Seo-joon and his friend Kim Tae-hyung (aka V) of BTS are each fabulously wealthy global superstars in their respective fields, with millions of adoring fans and also — especially in the case of V — paparazzi and a universe of blogs that track and attempt to capture their every move. In their Prime Video reality series Jinny’s Kitchen, however, there’s not a trace of any of that to be found. This hidden gem on Amazon’s streamer is a serene, wanderlust-inducing series set in Bacalar — one of the most beautiful locales in Mexico, near the Mexico-Belize border. And I cannot get enough of it.
When it debuted on Prime Video a few months ago, Jinny’s Kitchen marked the streamer’s first presentation of a Korean variety show. The gist of it is simple and straightforward: The “Jinny” in the title refers to Lee Seo-jin, an actor who is nominally put in charge of running a Korean street food restaurant in Bacalar. Working for him are Korean celebrities, including V (who will be starting his mandatory Korean military service soon) and Park Seo-joon (who’s headed to the big screen later this year, thanks to his confirmed appearance in The Marvels).
From Prime Video’s summary of Jinny’s Kitchen:
In a small beautiful town in Mexico, Bacalar, Jinny’s Kitchen opens, introducing Korean street food to their passionate customers! Meet Seo Jin, the boss who is serious about the business, Yu Mi, the new executive, Seo Jun, the new head of kitchen, Woo Shik, our good old intern, and Tae Hyung, the ambitious new intern! Come and enjoy their specialties made with love.
The super-cozy Jinny’s Kitchen is designed as an open-air restaurant, set along a quiet street, and offers staples like gimbap and tteokbokki. Joining Park Seo-joon and V as employees are actress Jung Yu-mi and actor Choi Woo-shik. All of them are huge celebrities, but they divide up tasks among them and decide who will be an intern, who will cook what, and who will have a more supervisory role. It’s especially cute watching these big-time celebrities peeking out from the kitchen, spying on ordinary customers to see whether they like the taste of what the employees have just prepared.
“The cast members of our show cooked food by themselves and worked very hard during the filming,” the Jinny’s Kitchen production team told reporters. “Please look forward to seeing the five stars, who will strive to satisfy the taste buds of customers in an unfamiliar place. We hope we can bring laughter to viewers at home and aboard.” Indeed, there’s a refreshing, pleasant quality about watching patrons from around the world in this cosmopolitan-yet-small Mexican town walk up the steps to the restaurant, peruse the menu, and take their seats in anticipation. Jinny’s Kitchen is the perfect show to de-stress and unwind to.