Korean Beacon

David Chang

Crave Alert: Bossam

Posted on 30 January 2012 by Melissah Yang

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Kobawoo House Bossam Bossam at Kobawoo House

Whether counting snowflakes in the East or sun-bathing in the West, food lovers everywhere (and their stomachs, too!) will be satisfied with this week’s Crave Alert.

Bossam, or bo ssäm, is a beloved Korean dish that involves wrapping delicious pork belly with sangchu (leafy vegetables, typically red lettuce). Each bite-sized wrap is complemented with a dab of ssamjang – a semi-spicy paste combination of doenjang and gochujang. According to your tastes, you can add rice, garlic, onions, peppers, raw oysters, and kimchi to your bossam too.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
If you manage to snag a seat at Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York, you are in for a treat. The New York Times recently featured Chef David Chang’s version of bossam – calling it the “The Bo Ssam Miracle” – which includes a whole slow cooked pork shoulder and a dozen oysters. New York Magazine provides Chang’s famous bossam recipe for those of you at home who are tired of making the same ol’ burrito wraps for lunch.

Momofuku Ssäm Bar
207 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500
www.momofuku.com/restaurants/ssam-bar

Bossam wrap Kobawoo HouseGranted, if you’re looking for a more authentic tasting of bossam, you’re going to have to travel into the heart of K-towns everywhere. In Los Angeles, Kobawoo House has amazing spreads of bossam that keep customers lined up for more. As further proof, LA Weekly put Kobawoo on its list of 99 essential restaurants in Los Angeles for 2011. Grab some friends, and order the “Wang Bossam” (translated as “King Bossam”) which is large enough to feed three people.

Kobawoo House
698 S. Vermont Ave. Suite 109
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 389-7300

[Photos: Chris A/Yelp, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Mookie D/Yelp]

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Momofuku Seibo is Chang-ing Sydney Dining

Posted on 10 November 2011 by Justin Ahn

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david chang

David Chang—chef and owner of the critically-acclaimed Momofuku restaurant empire—recently ventured out of New York City to open Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney, Australia. The head chef of the new addition, Ben Greeno, is definitely well-qualified, having worked at the two Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko. With a kitchen and all-star staff visible to patrons, it’s like dinner plus entertainment.

A recent review by The Sydney Morning Herald raved about Chang and how he is revolutionizing Sydney dining: “Momofuku Seibo will change Sydney. It has already changed Sydney. And eating there will change your expectations of Sydney dining.” Small and somewhat hidden within The Star Sydney Casino & Hotel, Seibo (which translates to “Heavenly Queen”) is sure to attract attention with its high-quality dishes, including Chang’s signature steamed pork bun. If you ever visit the area (and have $175 AUD to spare), check out the 15-course tasting menu guaranteed to make you a Chang-ed fan forever.

On a side note, pastry chef Christina Tosi, of Momofuku Milk Bar, released a new cookbook with a foreword by David Chang. To promote the new release, Chang stopped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night and gave out free cookies to the whole audience. He also prepared a cacio e pepe dish using ramen noodles! Watch below:

[Photos: Quentin Jones/The Sydney Morning Herald; KE-ZU Blog]

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Korean Food USA: Arirang

Posted on 04 October 2011 by Deborah J. Yoon

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Korean Food USA is a new series that showcases Korean and Korean-inspired eateries all around the nation.


Kalguksu is a popular traditional Korean noodle dish that consists of vegetables, a choice of meat or seafood, and hand-cut knife noodles all combined in a hot flavorful broth. It is a delightful Korean specialty, and no one does it better than Arirang in Manhattan. This restaurant is a bit hard to find since it’s on the third floor of one of Manhattan’s busiest streets, K-town, but their inconvenient location does not keep the place from getting packed. The walls of the old-fashioned restaurant have drawings of children playing traditional games, and the tables and flooring are both made of wood. Their interior gives customers a very warm and homey environment that makes them feel as if they are sharing a meal with loved ones at home.

Two of Arirang’s most famous Kalguksus are their Kimchi Seafood Kalguksu which has kimchi, cuttlefish, clam, shrimp, green onion, and mixed seafood in the signature broth, and their Chicken Kalguksu—a dish that Momofuku‘s David Chang chose as his favorite meal!—consisting of chicken, potatoes, onions, and green onions. If you are not a fan of long noodles and want a smaller doughy bite, Arirang also serves Sujebi—which has a similar concept to Kalguksu except that, instead of noodles, there are small flakes of dough similar to rice cakes. Now, if you want the best of both worlds, you can even get any menu item as Kal-Jaebi, which gives you half and half.

Seafood Kal-Jebi

Arirang is known for their Kalguksu, but they also have a lot of other options to choose from. Other traditional Korean dishes that are favorites among customers are their Pajeon, a Korean-style pancake, and handmade Kimchi Mandu.

Korean traditional pancake is a delicious appetizer to have alongside Kalguksu.

Arirang’s large portions may alarm you, but I guarantee you will be picking up your bowl for every last drop.

Arirang
32 W 32nd St, 3rd Fl
New York, NY 10001
http://koreanrestaurantnyc.org/

[Photos: Chris H. / Yelp]

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Top 5 Most Korean-American Cities: New York City

Posted on 02 September 2011 by Korean Beacon

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In a weekly series of posts, we will present the Top 5 Most Korean-American cities, selected not only for their numbers, but also for their visibility in mainstream America. Our research was guided by the following criteria: population, famous and/or influential locals, programs, and hotspots.

#2 New York, NY

New York City proudly boasts the second largest population of Korean Americans in the United States. Bustling Koreatowns have sprouted in Manhattan’s 32nd Street (a.k.a. “Korea Way”) and Flushing, a neighborhood in Queens where the streets are lined with Korean shops, restaurants, and churches. Walking through both areas is like being transported to Korea itself—minus the grueling 13-hour flight. NYC is also home to your favorite go-to place for KA news: Korean Beacon!

Numbers

  • 132,371 – New York metro area (population data compiled using the 2010 Census; excludes counties in Jersey and PA)

Visibility

  • Dai Sil Kim-Gibson is an award-winning filmmaker, whose films include Sa-I-Gu: Korean Women’s Perspectives, Wet Sand: Voices from LA, and Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women.  The latter film inspired her to create the Silence Broken Foundation, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to exploring gender discrimination, racism, poverty and class struggle around the world.”
  • Pauline Park is a tireless fighter for transgender rights. Based in Queens, Park co-founded the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), the first statewide transgender advocacy organization in New York, and Queens Pride House, the borough’s only LGBT community center. Pauline recently gave the commencement speech at Columbia University’s Lavender Graduation this past May.

Adrian Hong (left) and Pauline Park (right)

  • Adrian Hong is a TED fellow, and the co-founder and former Director of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), a global NGO whose mission is to “redefin[e] the North Korea crisis through creative storytelling, while providing emergency relief to North Korean refugees and pursuing an end to the human rights crisis.” Devoted to defending human rights, Adrian recently founded The Pegasus Press—a new initiative that uses innovative technology to keep the internet open and “safe for political dissidents and citizen journalists.”
  • An advocate for women’s and children’s rights, Kyung B. Yoon is the Executive Director of the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF), a non-profit organization that “provides grants and capacity-building assistance to organizations working to address the most pressing needs in the Korean American community and beyond.” Last year we interviewed Kyung about her inspiring work with KACF and her goal to foster philanthropy in the KA community.
  • A former candidate for New York City Council, Jin “PJ” Kim, a first-generation Korean American, is now the Executive Director at New York Needs You (NYNY), a career and leadership training program that empowers first-generation college students to achieve and realize their full potential. Notably, PJ also served as the Executive Director to the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI), a non-partisan progressive “urban think tank” founded during the Civil Rights Movement.

Programs

MinKwon’s Executive Director Steven Choi at rally on immigration issues

  • MinKwon Center for Community Action fights for marginalized community members such as the youth, the elderly, recent immigrants, low-income residents, and limited English proficient residents who lack access to vital resources. MinKwon and its executive director, Steven Choi, were featured in a New York Times article that discussed the recent influx of Asians in New York and the fight to get fair representation for all Asians living in the city.
  • The Korea Society was founded in 1957 with the purpose of facilitating a friendly relationship between the US through programs that allow for exchanges on topics such as public policy, business, education, and the arts. Next week, the organization will host an event with Wesley Yang, author of the New York Magazine article “Paper Tigers“—a response to Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
  • Fighting on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people of Korean descent, the Dari Project aims to increase awareness and acceptance in Korean American communities. Dari provides resources such as personal testimonials about the experiences of LGBTQ people that are dispersed through a website that is available in both English and Korean.
  • The Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC) fights to prevent and end domestic violence and abuse for adults, youths, and children. KAFSC’s Board Chair Sarah BJ Sung was featured in the documentary series “NYC Women: Make it Here, Make it Happen” as a woman who is making a significant difference in New York City.
  • The Korean Cultural Service New York (KCSNY) promotes Korean culture and aesthetics in New York through gallery exhibitions, performing arts concerts, film festivals, and educational programs. KCSNY also manages a library that contains more than 18,000 books magazines, and AV materials so that information on Korean films and Korean culture are easily accessible.

 

Hotspots

Buddae jjigae at Pocha 32

  • NYC is home to Korilla BBQthe Korean-style taco food truck founded by Ed Song. Since there are three trucks now, it’s impossible to miss out on a delicious taco lunch or dinner!
  • Pocha 32 on W. 32nd street is a near-perfect replica of pojangmacha-style eateries littering the streets of South Korea—except it’s indoors. It’s known for its strong garlic odor, and delicious bubbling jjigaes (stews). Pocha 32 is also one of Kimchi ChroniclesMarja Vongerichten’s favorite spots in NYC.
  • Circle is the premier attraction for newcomers to Manhattan looking for a fun, dance-filled night out. Owned by Bobby Kwak, one of NYC’s most savviest entrepreneurs, the nightclub is best known for hosting mini-concerts by top K-pop stars like Brown Eyed Girls and rapper Crown-J. It’s also been confirmed that this Labor Day weekend, T.O.P. from Big Bang will make a special guest appearance on both Friday and Saturday night! Other popular club spots in K-town are Maru Lounge on 32nd St, and Third Floor Cafe on 5th Avenue.

  • Boka, in the heart of St. Mark’s, serves up plates of Korean fried chicken from Bonchon in all of the flavors you love. Make sure to top it off with an order of watermelon soju!
  • U2 Karaoke is one of the bigger noraebangs in Manhattan—located in St. Mark’s rather than K-town. It’s a great spot for large birthday parties, or even just hanging out with a group of friends on a Friday night. The bar spans three floors with private karaoke rooms, and boasts a fully stocked bar on the second floor with seating.
  • Kimganae, on Union Street in Flushing, has amazingly decent prices and is the best place to go for a fast meal that tastes just like a home-cooked Korean dish. The restaurant serves a variety of “comfort” foods like kimbap, tonkatsu and deokbokki.

 

Locals

Momofuku’s David Chang (left) and KC’s Marja Vongeritchen (right)

  • Born to a Korean mother and an African American father, and adopted by an American family at the age of 3, Kimchi Chronicles Marja Vongeritchen is the new ambassador for Korean cuisine and culture, as well as a refreshing new face and voice in Korean America. A passionate noraebang-er, you’ll most likely bump into Marja and her “karaoke crew” (which usually includes her birth mother) in K-town.
  • After moving to New York for a job as the host of an Oxygen show, SuChin Pak was quickly spotted as a rising star by MTV and promptly began her career as an MTV VJ in 2001. SuChin was recently featured in an interview with V Magazine about her role as the founder of Hester Street Fair.
  • Kelly Choi is an Emmy-award winning television personality on NYC TV, former host of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, and co-producer and host of the documentary series Secrets of New York. She also created and produced Eat Out NY, a show that is a guide to the city’s most popular and most hidden restaurants.
  • Other locals include Alexander Chee, the author of Edinburgh (one of our Summer Reading picks!), and Emily Kim, the Korean food blogger pioneer better known as “Maangchi.”

The #1 Most KA city probably won’t be a big surprise, but still check back next week! We have some awesome hotspots and people lined up!

UPDATE: Check out our Top 5 Most Korean-American Cities Map!

Melissah Yang and Mink Choi contributed to this post.

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KAs@Work: Susan Park of Ecole de Cuisine / FOH/BOH³

Posted on 25 August 2011 by Korean Beacon

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KAs@Work is a new series that profiles Korean Americans and their jobs. Want to share what you do, or know of people with interesting jobs? Get in touch

Susan Park wears many hats: she’s a food historian, a columnist for LA Weekly’s food blog, a program director at Ecole de Cuisine, a culinary school in LA, a partner at FOH/BOH³, a restaurant management company that she co-founded with my her husband/chef Farid Zadi and sommelier David Haskell, a VIPretty ambassador for Pretty in the City, and she’s opening a new restaurant this fall.

We talked with Susan about how she got into the food business and culture, her thoughts on Korea’s push to globalize Korean food, and, most importantly, how she gets her drive.

When did you become interested in studying food as a profession?

When I was about 14 years old. My mother is a great cook, but she only made Korean food when I was growing up. So, I started teaching myself how to cook from books. My parents indulged me and let me buy whatever books and ingredients I wanted. I collected all the American classics, beginning with Julia Child‘s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Who knew that years later I would marry a French chef?

Why did you and your husband, Chef Farid Zadi, decide to open Ecole de Cuisine? And how does ECLA differ from other culinary schools?

We planned on opening our own culinary school for 10 years. The whole purpose of him teaching at various schools, including Le Cordon Bleu Pasadena for six years, was to open our own cooking school.  He also taught at Sur La Table, Whole Foods, Epicurean, as a chef in the classroom for Los Angeles Unified School District. We waited to open our own school in 2010, because our youngest child, Elias-Deen, turned seven that year. Seven is a critical year, it’s the age when many children reach autonomy in a lot of ways. It was very important to us to spend as much time with our children during their formative years.

ECLA offers a more comprehensive and detailed culinary arts education than other culinary schools. We’re also small and mobile, so we’re better able to adapt to industry demands and trends than bigger schools. Our fabrication/butchery and International courses are especially demanding. We cover lots of skills, techniques, and ingredients that other schools don’t.

Susan Park with husband Farid Zadi (right) and David Haskell (left)

We hear that you are collaborating with your husband on a new restaurant. Can you give us some details?

We want to wait a week before announcing the details of our new restaurant with David Haskell. In the meantime, FOH/BOH³ has teamed with Jenee Kim, owner of Park’s BBQ and Don Dae Gam, for a weekend food and wine bar at her latest venture, LaOn. We’re debuting the weekend of August 26th-28th with our interpretation of Korean dishes within the context of gloriously diverse Los Angeles and the bounty of international ingredients that are available to us in California.

For more details about the event, click here.

Last fall you co-founded a culinary school, and this year you’re opening a restaurant — all with zero investors! Where do you get your drive from — especially in the current economic slump? Also, any advice for people thinking of starting a new venture?

I have unwavering confidence in my abilities and work ethic. I’m just not a doubter or worrier. I visualize a goal and start mapping it in my head right away.  Most importantly, I know lots of friends that I can count on for help. I have a big personal and professional support network built on trust. That’s how we were able to start with no investors. We found kitchens that were already built out and rented them. We were able to negotiate low rents and deposits or no deposit agreements.

My advice to people who want to start new ventures is to gain as much relevant experience as possible. People who don’t have relevant experience tend to see the glamorous side of it. In other words, they don’t see the all the behind the scenes work that goes into making a successful business. You have to be able to multitask and endure a lot of stress when things aren’t going smoothly. Not everyone has the stomach and stamina for this. And oh, don’t forget to do the math. You have to overestimate your input and underestimate the financial outcomes. Don’t lie to yourself with the business math.

We enjoyed reading your recent article on LAWeekly.com, ‘L.A.’s Idea of Korean Food vs. What Koreans Really Eat,’ and your look at the different (mis)conceptions of the Korean bapsang. What are some of your favorite Korean dishes to cook at home?

I tend to prepare simple dishes at home, regardless of type of cuisine. My husband and I teach or cook enough complicated dishes at work, so we like to stick to basics at home.  I make Korean dishes that my kids like, such as bulgogi, kalbi, roasted laver, fried anchovies, clear soups (tangs), Korean curry and bap (rice).  

 


What do you think of the recent popularity of Korean cuisine and the Korean government’s effort to globalize Korean food?

It’s really a handful of 1.5 or 2nd generation Korean chefs or chefs of Korean descent who’ve gained a lot of notoriety in the past years. If you look at Momofuku’s David Chang and Kogi’s Roy Choi, they’re not even making Korean dishes per se. They recontextualize Korean ingredients into contemporary or popular American dishes, e.g. Korean tacos. Or they riff on a traditional dish or presentation by incorporating better quality ingredients or substitutes, e.g. Chang’s Bo-Ssam uses a big hunk of pork butt, which is much more American than even remotely Korean.

First generation Korean restaurateurs have to keep up with demographic shifts. Korean immigration to the States has been steadily declining for years and there’s a growing 1.5 and 2nd generation of Korean-Americans. Korean business can no longer rely on first generation Koreans to maintain growth or even sustain themselves. They have to retain assimilated Koreans and attract non-Koreans to their businesses.

Both 1st generation Korean business owners and the Korean government need to tap into 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans to act as adapters and translators, if they want to tap into a mainstream American customer base. So yeah, while it seemed like every major newspaper, magazine and website in the U.S. has been buzzing about Korean cuisine for the past few years, that’s really not the case. They were buzzing about what 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans were accomplishing with food.

Overall, I think it’s terrific that the Korean government spends so much effort on promoting Korean cuisine abroad. But at the end of the day, for it to make economic sense, somebody needs to teach mainstream or multicultural America how to cook with Korean ingredients. Otherwise, that’s a whole of money and effort being spent on singing to the choir.

Finally, how is it having your husband as a business partner?

It works out well because we both have the ability to completely ignore each other at work and at home. In all seriousness, our job functions don’t overlap too often. So most days we’re not actually side by side at work. When we do work together, it’s usually in the kitchen either co-teaching, training staff, a catering job, one-off event, pop-up, running a restaurant etc. But we’re at home together in the kitchen, we know each others habits, skill sets, etc. We can rely on each other in the kitchen.

Ecole de Cuisine Los Angeles
http://ecolecuisine.com/

To read Susan’s articles on LAWeekly.com, click here.
Follow Susan on
Twitter

[Photos: Courtesy of Susan Park; Pasadena Independent (first photo); David Chang: Gabriel Stabile; Roy Choi: Axel Koester/NYT]

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Inside David Chang’s Empire: Momofuku Culinary Lab

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Christine Y. Chung

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It’s no secret that David Chang, of Momofuku fame, is kind of a big deal. He’s got four insanely popular restaurants in NYC, and has picked up 2 Michelin stars along the way. He’s authored a cookbook featuring his signature dishes, and most recently, a food journal aptly titled Lucky Peach. Not to mention the fact that his achievements aren’t exclusively culinary; he’s also been chosen as a Time 100 person, and GQ Man of the Year.

Where does the magic happen? It all begins in the Momofuku Culinary Lab, where invention and experimentation, are the modus operandi. This is the site of trial and error, from experimenting with everything from microbes to strawberry tops. Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan give us a sneak peek:

The Momofuku Culinary Lab is the tiny space where Chang, along with chefs Dan Felder and Dan Burns, “document mistakes and [try] to create new ideas.” (One such idea from our visit: Chang wondered why nobody cooks with strawberry tops. “I’ve always accepted that as something you just throw away. But we’ve never investigated, I’ve never been told why, other than it doesn’t taste good. It’s our jobs as cooks to take product that doesn’t necessarily taste good and make it taste good.”

The Lab is minimalistic, free of the high-tech kitchen equipment that fills most kitchen labs. The theme is simplicity at best, a quality that perfectly characterizes Momofuku’s cuisine.

Head over to Gizmodo to read the original article and check out the exclusive video!

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Preview David Chang’s New Food Journal, ‘Lucky Peach’

Posted on 14 May 2011 by Korean Beacon

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Earlier this year Momofuku’s David Chang announced that he was going to launch a quarterly food journal / iPad app called Lucky Peach. The journal, which will be published by McSweeney’s, is a creative venture between Chang, Peter Meehan, co-author of the Momofuku cookbook, and Zero Point Zero Production, the producers of the Emmy Award–winning show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

According to the description on McSweeney’s website, the journal will mix multiple mediums “to create a publication that appeals to diehard foodies as well as fans of good writing and art in general.” Furthermore, “each issue will explore a single topic through a mélange of travelogue, essays, art, photography, and rants in a full-color, meticulously designed format. Recipes will defy the tired ingredients-and-numbered-steps formula. They’ll be laid out sensibly, inspired by the thought process that went into developing them.” So, that said, expect great writing, creative recipe formats, whimsical illustrations, and, of course, colorful language à la Chang.

The first issue—coming out on June 14th—is going to be entirely devoted to ramen. It’s going to feature an instant-ramen taste test, ramen-themed artwork, explain what MSG exactly is, and explore “the culinary possibilities of instant ramen,” just to name a few. But that’s not all, Lucky Peach‘s iPad app companion, which is slated to release in the coming weeks, is going to have videos and more interactive content, so be sure to download it when it comes out!

And now, as promised, here’s a NEW teaser from the first issue—a vignette featuring Chang, Bourdain and Dufresne (owner/chef of wd~50):

Scene: Café de la Concha, 1 Mira Concha, San Sebastián, Spain.

It is nighttime, and DAVID CHANG, TONY BOURDAIN, and WYLIE DUFRESNE are gathered around a table. A January storm rages outside and keeps the café nearly empty. The three Americans—in town to speak at a conference—are catching up over hard cider and pintxos, and talking, at CHANG’s behest, about culinary mediocrity back in their homeland.

TONY: So what about all these kids rolling out of culinary school now, with their $80,000 in debt? They’re totally jacked there.

DAVID: We’re all their f–king problem. We’re sort of a catalyst for them.

TONY: We’re inspiring generations of kids to go to culinary school.

DAVID: Could you have achieved your career without having gone to culinary school?

WYLIE: Sure. Of course I could have. I went to college, too.

DAVID: But now, what percentage of kids going to culinary school are actually going to contribute to a real kitchen? Like a two-Michelin-star, one-Michelin-star, whatever, a real f–king kitchen. Zero.

TONY: Man, that’s such a dark worldview. I just spoke to a kid today who came up to me and said, “You came up to the Culinary Institute of America five years ago and gave a commencement address.” I have no recollection of meeting this person. She asked me then, “What should I do after school?” And I said, “Do what I didn’t do. Acknowledge the fact that you’re not going to make any money at all, you’re not going to get paid for two years, and go work for the best. I would suggest Spain, some place like Mugaritz.” She’s at Mugaritz now. Come on, man, that’s a f–king awesome start.

DAVID: And if you didn’t talk to her, she’d probably—

TONY: Oh no, don’t do that. My point is that there are actually people who come rolling out of culinary school—maybe it’s a tiny, tiny number, but probably proportionally more than during my time—who don’t see the Hilton as a fantastic gig, or a cruise ship or a country club, and understand that if they wanna be great, if they want to be really good, then they have to start looking at places like Mugaritz or Arzak.

WYLIE: I disagree with that. I think unfortunately there is more of a mediocritizing of the average culinary-school graduate now than there was way back when. I think to a certain extent schools are selling them a bill of goods. “Come to culinary school, go through our program, and in six to eight months you could be the chef of this or that.” Not “Come to our schools and we’ll give you the absolute basics so you can go out into the world and work for pennies.” But that’s the truth. Today it’s, “You could end up on TV.”

TONY: F–k, you’re right. So we’re part of the problem.

DAVID: We’re part of the problem.

TONY: We suck. We are destroying what we love.

WYLIE: You more than me.

Head over to McSweeney’s for more previews, details and/or to pre-order Lucky Peach.

On a side note, Chang came out with a line of sauces called “Momofuku Cooking Sauces” earlier this week and they’re being exclusively sold on Williams-Sonoma’s website. Grab one (or the whole set!) here.

[photo of David Chang: Gabriel Stabile]

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Kim Yu Na and David Chang on Time 100

Posted on 02 May 2010 by Korean Beacon

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Time Magazine released their top 100 list of most influential people in the world and there are two Koreans who are in the top 100. Kim Yu Na captivated the world with her elegance and power at this past Winter Olympics.   She had the pressure of a country on her shoulders and she not only survived but she triumphed wonderfully with a near perfect performance that brought everyone to tears.

I couldn’t have been more surprised or honored last summer when Korean figure skater Kim Yu-Na told me that as a 7-year-old, she was so inspired by my skating at the 1998 Winter Games that she memorized my skating routines, pretending to be at the Olympics. Twelve years later, she no longer had to pretend. I have never seen a skater with such a combination of artistry and athleticism. From the first notes of her sassy James Bond medley to the closing Gershwin strains, Kim’s inspiring performances in Vancouver changed the face of figure skating forever. Those 6½ minutes on the ice left not only a mark in the record book but also an indelible impression on millions of young girls around the world. For Kim, the dream that began as a 7-year-old has been realized. For these girls, thanks to her, a dream and journey are just beginning.

Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history

David Chang is the genius chef who makes kimchi butter and drizzles it onto one of his famed dishes that even impress chefs of the world. David runs the Momofuku empire in New York and has served dishes to some of the most famous people in the world. His inventive cooking is truly influential.

The cold pink fluff looks like cotton candy and seems entirely tasteless. But soon it begins to melt, seducing your mouth with such creamy richness, it is impossible not to gasp. Beside it sits a fragrant fruit, smooth as pearls. Only David Chang would grate frozen foie gras and serve it with lychees.

When Chang, 32, opened Momofuku in New York in 2004, he reinvented the casual restaurant and changed the game. Turning his back on the high-end kitchens in which he had been working, he started off with a bare-bones place his peers could afford. At first he offered a few simple dishes — pork buns so soft they practically swallowed themselves and memorable ramen made with organic ingredients — but Chang soon began pushing the boundaries, combining a passion for Asian food with his classic European training and serving the kind of challenging dishes once relegated to expensive establishments. He trusted his customers — who trusted him. Whipped tofu with sea urchins and tapioca? Bring it on!

The profane, irreverent Momofuku cookbook, published last fall, brings Chang’s exuberant style right into your kitchen. What he’s feeding is an appetite for adventure, and the ride has just begun.
Reichl, a former restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, was the last editor of Gourmet magazine

Source: Time Magazine

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Chef Roy Choi Jumps Off The Truck

Posted on 11 January 2010 by Korean Beacon

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Korean chef Roy Choi who made truck food famous with his kogi tacos in southern California is now about to expand his food empire.  What started a year ago with a single truck and a bunch of Twitter followers has now become an empire of 4 trucks and a soon to be restaurant in west L.A.

The new, still unnamed restaurant won’t use the Kogi name, Mr. Choi says, and he doesn’t plan to serve the taco. Instead he will try to update the rice bowl. “I see bacon-fat-studded chestnuts and fresh herbs on braised lamb; steak with a soft-poached egg and hand-crushed sesame seeds; organic rice, braised pork-belly, fresh-water spinach in a beautiful broth with sesame leaves,” he says, rattling off ideas. The food, he says, will be inexpensive enough that people who normally eat McDonald’s can afford it.

We named Roy Choi as one of the most influential Korean-Americans in 2009 and his impact was truly evident with new Korean taco trucks popping up everywhere and restauranteurs serving up their version of a Korean taco.  Roy Choi embodies the hard working culture of Koreans and many Korean-Americans can relate to his life.  He may not be the most eloquent guy but his focus and diligence has brought him this far and his belief in himself has turned the food world upside down.  ”There is something very Korean about Roy being Roy,” says David Chang of New York’s Momofuku restaurants, who is also of Korean heritage and who met Mr. Choi last spring. “It’s about working your a— off, and not believing that you’re any good.”

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Week in Review

Posted on 01 November 2009 by Korean Beacon

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