Cookin': Now That's Entertainment

Terrence Williams (1) of the Louisville Cardinals goes up for a shot against Brook Lopez (11) of the Stanford Cardinal during the first round of the 2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament March 15, 2007 in Lexington, Ky. Louisville crushed Stanford 78-58.
Getty Images/Andy Lyons

Most cooks don't go to all this trouble to go to the kitchen but these are actors! And they're preparing to take the stage in a popular new show called Cookin'. Correspondent Bill Geist reports.

Food preparation has somehow become entertainment. Today millions of people regularly watch other people cook.

One theory is that as America ages, we're dropping the Playboy Channel and picking up the Food Network, where chefs like Emeril Lagasee are stars.

One Japanese program pits a challenger against the Iron Chef in a kitchen stadium with play-by-play commentators.

Now produce is taking center stage in Cookin', a Korean production that chops, slices and dices into the hearts and palates of theater-goers worldwide.

"Over 400,000 audience all over the world have watched our show so far (in) more than 15 countries," says show manager B.I. Kim.

It is a veritable vegamatic of the stage, which just finished a monthlong stop at Disney World in Orlando.

Is there a plot in this culinary cacophony?

Within one hour, four crazed chefs have to prepare a wedding banquet meal but in the meantime they have fun. They naturally tend to enjoy the fighting and to make fun of each other, and there's a love triangle plot so it has everything.

Sung Min Lee plays the head chef, constantly aggravated by his cooks, who might seem a little unprofessional to some observers.

So he studied to be an actor. Did he ever think his first job would be slicing onions? Never. He dreamed of becoming Hamlet actually.

Kim also studied to be a serious dramatic actor. Did she think she was going to slicing cucumbers on stage?

She is pursued by Ho Yeoul Sul, who plays a carrot-topped carrot chopper.

And she's also the love interest of Sang Jin Hong, who plays a stumblebum cook, the restaurant manager's nephew.

They do four shows a day and in their time off unwind at the Magic Kingdom.

On the way to their own personal fantasyland, they go to a kitchenware store such as they have never seen before.

The store has never seen anything like them, either.

It's easy to get caught up in the infectious rhythms.

The Disney World show is a 20-minute abridged highlight version of the full 80-minute show. Here they only make soup and salad - a tossed salad.

Rarely do we see such enthusiasm brought to meal preparation.

You know what they say: Presentation is everything.