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5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s Viu Series "Secret Ingredient"

Savor the flavor of great food and great storytelling at the same time with this Viu Original series

It’s sizzling hot these days and expect temperatures to rise with a brand new, hot project featuring Filipina actress Julia Barretto, South Korean actor Lee Sang Heon and Indonesian actor Nicholas Saputra.

Viu recently launched Secret Ingredient, the first Viu Original regional drama series to feature an ensemble Asian cast.

5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"
From left: Sang Heon Lee, Nicholas Saputra, and Julia Barretto | Viu

Secret Ingredient follows the story of Ha-Joon, played by Lee Sang Heon, a Korean man who seems to have it all–a top executive at a global 500 company hailing from one of the most distinguished families in South Korea and is consistently regarded as one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors. He decides to leave behind the luxurious life he is accustomed to in South Korea to find some answers and hopefully, rekindle the past.

His journey for answers leads him to meet Maya, played by Julia Barretto, and Chef Arif, played by Nicholas Saputra, who offer him a fresh perspective on life and teach him forgiveness, understanding and acceptance.

5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"

This unique production done in collaboration with Unilever Nutrition SEA and Indonesia, features household favorites such as Knorr, Lady’s Choice, Bango, Royco, Sariwangi, and Buavita, promises an experience that goes beyond entertainment.

Both Viu and Unilever Nutrition SEA and Indonesia expressed their confidence in its potential to connect with audiences. "With its rich storylines, mouthwatering food shots, and undeniable chemistry between our lead actors, we're confident viewers will be captivated by this series," says Corinna Vistan, Showrunner and Executive Producer of Secret Ingredient.

Echoing this sentiment, Macce Samarista, Unilever Nutrition SEA and Indonesia Lead for Digital Marketing, Media, and Commerce, highlighted the show's unique exploration of food and love.

5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"

“The unwavering love for K-Drama and food gave us a platform to create a digital series that integrates love, drama, and food starred by a powerhouse cast from Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. All made possible with the creative magic of producers with Hollywood experience that bring Asian stories to life and a Korean director to ensure we have the K-Drama magic viewers are looking for,” Samarista states.

The Secret Ingredient grand launch was held with a mall show at Market! Market! where guests were treated to immersive experiences at various booths related to the series, amazing performances by P-Pop groups Paradigm and Alamat, Q&A and games with event host and Unilever endorser Dimples Romana and Secret Ingredient lead star Julia Barretto. This was followed by a media conference and a private screening of the first two episodes of Secret Ingredient.

Asked how she felt about the project, Julia expressed her thoughts about the series. “It was so important [to get everything right]. I mean, this being my first global series."

This being a collaboration with Unilever whom I’ve been with this year for a decade now and Viu who I’m working with for the first time, [showrunner] Corrinna and the family that we built on set and the friendships that were born out of it…these really made my year. I’m so proud to be a part of this and so proud to have worked with both Lee Sang Heon and Nicholas Saputra. This project means so much to me and while shooting, genuinely everyday hindi ko alam parang ‘how did I get to be so lucky?’ to be a part of a project as special as this is. Masaya ako,” the actress beams.

5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"
Julia Barretto | Viu

Lee Sang Heon, who wasn’t able to fly to the Philippines for the launch due to commitments, gave a special video message for the viewers during the launch and shared his experience during the shoot.

“I had a ton of fun spending time in the Philippines. The people there are so warm and friendly. The food was delicious. I remember trying chicken adobo. I’ve tried it a few times with gising gising, it was amazing. And there was another popular dish called sisig, I love that!” Lee Sang Heon shares as he thanks the creators, the staff and the people for the support.

Metro.Style was invited to the private screening of Viu Original series Secret Ingredient and with those two episodes in, we can confidently list down exciting reasons to watch this one-of-a-kind series.

5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"
5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"

Enjoy a cross-country, cross-cultural series. Globalization and representation are getting attention in the entertainment scene these days making the world smaller and making cross-country, cross-cultural production possible. It is truly an exciting development as Secret Ingredient was able to bring together the exciting stars of Philippines (Julia), South Korea (Sang Heon) and Indonesia (Nicholas) in this regional project. Watch different cultures come together in one big culinary adventure with this show.

Have a taste of the lead stars’ onscreen chemistry. With Julia Barretto’s sweet countenance and acting prowess as Maya, Lee Sang Heon’s playful but mysterious charm as Ha-Joon and Nicholas Saputra’s manly and aloof portrayal of Chef Arif, expect a chemistry so new and so enthralling, you will most certainly be drawn to the series. It doesn’t hurt that they all look good doing their best jobs at acting.

5 Reasons to Watch Julia Barretto-Lee Sang Heon’s VIU Series "Secret Ingredient"

Mouthwatering food takes the spotlight. Apart from the lead stars, the real celebrity of the show is the food features. Given that it’s a series that revolves around the culinary industry, it’s going to be a feast for the eyes as the production treats us to the best food shots and scenes. Sumptuous and well-plated dishes are paraded in just two episodes and we’re told to expect more of this visual feast. Viewers can expect satisfyingly aesthetic and hunger-inducing food preparation and food shots as well as dining scenes in this uniquely flavored series.

Savor the compelling story. “Love comes in all flavors” is the premise and the promise of Secret Ingredient. Viewers will experience the kilig of a budding and blooming romance but from the two episodes screened, it also depicts real life struggles on working overseas, dealing with family issues, competition in the workplace and the unavoidable politics in it.

Some parts of the series were shot in the Philippines. The first two episodes may be set in Jakarta, Indonesia but expect the Philippines to make an appearance as the series progresses. Metro.Style asked Julia about the production team and her co-stars’ experience in the Philippines and she readily replied with excitement: “[It’s very much an experience], even just teaching them speaking Tagalog. It was fun kasi parang ipinapakilala natin culture natin sa kanila eh and to even watch everybody like Nicholas, Lee Sang Heon, our South Korean director and you watch them try Filipino food and they genuinely love it tapos kapag kinukwento nila kung saan sila umiikot dito sa Philippines during our day off, it really makes me happy kasi there are so many things to be proud of about the Philippines. I like that, one person at a time, nakikita din nila iyon. Ngayon, global stage na iyong cuisine natin and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Secret Ingredient is now streaming. The series will be available to stream exclusively on Viu with new episode drops every Tuesday.

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