It has been expressed a few times that the ending of Replacing Chef Chico Season 1 was very unsatisfying. Ella had made a lot of progress in terms of her capabilities, her ambitions, and even her self-confidence. That is why it felt like a step back when she decided to stay back at Hain. For a second, let us entertain the possibility that Ella indeed stayed back for the love of the place. It is understandable to an extent because Hain came up with the unique concept of customizing food according to people’s lives, and that required a touch of empathy that Ella was quite good at. However, that is something that is compulsory when you are in a position of leadership.
On the other hand, Ella may not have wanted to go because of the relationships she developed with her co-workers at her workplace. That is an undeniable attraction of any job, especially since we live in times where we spend more time at work than at home. But none of it makes up for the fact that Ella has severely limited herself with this choice. Her colleagues do not share her love for Hain. While they enjoy the work, they clearly see that it is a job for them, which is why they were willing to leave (but only stayed back because of salary) when Ella was temporarily fired. It means that if the opportunity presents itself, they will want to seek greener pastures. Ella has come back to the restaurant for the love of it, but how long would that last if the staff changed? It must also be remembered that Chico may have stepped back, but the restaurant still belongs to his parents and, by extension, to him. How long before he decides to come back, maybe not as a head chef but in some position of influence at least? Despite all these questions, we feel that Ella was never able to outgrow her self-doubts and the resultant comfort zone, which is what motivated her choice. But how sustainable is such a choice?
The fact is that we were never convinced that Chico was a good person. He was a man with a terrible temper who never valued his employees or even his personal relationships. That had to be why he was willing to cheat on his fiancé with Ella while lying to them both. Pressure for success from his parents is not a justification for his behavior, especially when you consider how he hurled abuses at Ella when her name was in the review. Chico may have problems, but we are sure that he is a bad person anyway. Right now, he wants Ella to be back because she has managed to get them a mention on the esteemed list, which was a goal. However, what is to say that he won’t manipulate the situation further? Chico may try to take credit for her achievements or try to push her out after she puts the restaurant on the map. Maybe he will come back as her sous chef and slowly turn the tide. We must remember that the show is named Replacing Chef Chico. It is impossible that he will just disappear in the second season. There will certainly be situations where he would need to be replaced, and another accident seems unlikely, so his becoming the villain is the best possibility.
On a different note, the show seemed to focus a lot on women’s stories. The primary theme in season 1 was women deciding, after a lifetime of living for others, that they now wanted to do things they liked. In Replacing Chef Chico season 2, it would be nice if the writers addressed how women can live for themselves at any age. It was never acceptable that Ella had to patiently tolerate the staff’s insults in the initial stages. It is one thing to have doubts and quite another to throw abuses. Ella would need a sou chef in Season 2, and if that is not Chico, it may be Carlon. He has come to respect and accept Ella’s leadership, but maybe his head will turn again if he gains some power. The man is far more ambitious than Ella, and unlike her, he is not one to be held back by doubts. If we may say it, he is even prone to overestimating himself quite often. That means that he will create some friction in the coming season if there is one.
Moving on, Ella breaking up with Raymond was the second saddest part of Replacing Chef Chico season 1. He was nice, and he understood and believed in her when no one else would. Perhaps he will come back from Singapore in season 2. If he doesn’t, he and Ella may attempt a long-distance relationship. If even that doesn’t happen, it would be too unfair to give Ella another romantic interest in Replacing Chef Chico season 2. But it wouldn’t be wrong to address the feelings between Ella and Chico. They said that they loved each other, and then magically, one day, the feelings disappeared, and both appeared to have moved on.
For Ella’s part, she discovered he was cheating, and she also found Raymond. But what about Chico? Was he just trying to have an affair, and that is why he is not upset? Because there are no consequences for it? That would make sense if he is actually a terrible person, like we are guessing, but in case he is misunderstood, maybe he still has feelings for her, and they will resurface sometime. Probably, his marriage won’t work out because of them, and that will lead to some tension between him, his fiancé, and Ella. That means that there may also be a subplot around his wedding in season 2. A personal opinion: it would be nice if his bride ditched him then (we seriously don’t like this character and wouldn’t wish him on anyone). There is a lot to be explored when it comes to Replacing Chef Chico season 2, and of them all, Ella finding her voice and independence outside her comfort zone is the most important part of it.