As “Youn’s Stay” gears up for its premiere, director Kim Se Hee shared some insights into what fans can expect!

A spin-off of “Youn’s Kitchen,” the upcoming reality program is set in a hanok (traditional Korean home) in South Jeolla Province and stars Youn Yuh Jung with Choi Woo Shik, Jung Yu Mi, Lee Seo Jin, and Park Seo Joon. It features the cast welcoming guests who are in Korea on business or for their studies but have not been able to fully experience the food and culture due to COVID-19 restrictions. Na Young Suk and Kim Se Hee lead the show as producing directors (PDs), and a teaser for the show was shared on January 6.

“While we were preparing a new season of ‘Youn’s Kitchen,’ the COVID-19 situation gradually became worse,” shared PD Kim Se Hee in an interview. “As we thought about what to do, we learned that there were many foreigners who had had to come to Korea for school or work but couldn’t properly experience Korean culture because of COVID-19. These people could have had many different experiences if they had arrived in Korea in a time that was a bit better, and we ended up planning a program that aimed to properly teach them about Korea’s beauty and charm. We made safety our first priority and thoroughly followed disease prevention guidelines as we completed filming, so I hope you will watch and show support.”

When asked about the difference between “Youn’s Stay” and “Youn’s Kitchen,” PD Kim Se Hee shared, “The biggest difference is that it’s a hotel and not a restaurant. Also, I think its scale has become enormous. That’s because compared to the ‘Youn’s Kitchen’ series where they just had to take care of one meal for the guest, in ‘Youn’s Stay’ they have a lot to pay attention to, from the guest’s check in to maintaining the condition of their room and preparing their breakfast and dinner.” The director shared that this meant that the cast was always busy running around.

While “Youn’s Kitchen” focused on one main dish, PD Kim Se Hee described how the kitchen for “Youn’s Stay” become much busier as they upgraded their menu to include appetizers, main entrees, rice dishes, soup, and desserts. “In addition, since they had to prepare breakfast for the guests, Youn Yuh Jung, Lee Seo Jin, Jung Yu Mi, Park Seo Joon, and Choi Woo Shik got up every day at 6 a.m. to start their day.”

The director said that Jung Yu Mi was promoted to chef and Park Seo Joon to sous-chef, and their great teamwork allowed them to pull off even complex royal court cuisine. Meanwhile, “Youn’s Stay” ran well under the management of Lee Seo Jin.

“Youn Yuh Jung is very skilled at English, and she was always basically hosting a mini talk show, to the point that she earned the nickname ‘Oprah Yoon-frey,'” shared PD Kim Se Hee. “Choi Woo Shik was the busiest, as he was the kitchen assistant, bellboy, and pick-up man, and in charge of serving. The thing I heard the most on set was people saying ‘Woo Shik!’, but despite the difficulties, he kept the mood up on set and was adored by everyone as the youngest member.”

When asked about the guests’ reactions, PD Kim Se Hee stated, “Many people said they enjoyed it because they’d had a meaningful and interesting experience during this time when it’s difficult to go out because of COVID-19, and they particularly said that spending the night sleeping on the warm hanok floor was a memorable part. We also received good responses about Korea’s beautiful and interesting culture, such as the silk bedding, the hanok‘s wooden latticework, and the traditional games, as well as the professional service from the ‘Youn’s Stay’ cast who they didn’t know were celebrities. Another memorable time was when a Nepalese baby who was born in Korea came to ‘Youn’s Stay’ as a guest and heard the sound of birds for the first time.”

Finally, the director shared the hope that people who are going through a hard time right now will enjoy seeing Korea’s nature and the beauty of the hanok and hearing everyone’s stories.

“Youn’s Stay” will premiere on tvN on January 8.

Watch “Youn’s Kitchen” below!

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