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The dish of Michelin chefs on Korean cuisine is a frenzy

The hottest trends in beauty, movies, TV, and music across the United States have one thing in common: They’re Korean. A little over a decade has passed since then Hallyu 3.0, or the Korean Third Wave, swept the country and Canada fueled the desirability of K-Beauty, K-Dramas, and K-Pop. However, the latest export to sweep the nation by storm is K-Food.

Hallyu is no coincidence, says Dr. Jooyeon Rhee, associate professor of Asian studies and comparative literature at Penn State University. “The Korean diaspora has played a huge role in the preservation and development of Korean cuisine for a long time,” says Dr. Ri. “[They] He built the infrastructure in the form of grocery chains, restaurants, and even growing vegetables, as seen in for painThis has become essential to meet the growing demand. Echoing that sentiment, some Michelin Guide chefs have created some truly amazing Korean meals. Below, we hear from them about the rise of Korean food, why they think it’s so popular, and the future.


Jeju Noodle Bar Chef Douglas Kim © Wonwoo Lee / Jeju Noodle Bar

Douglas Kim, chef/owner, Jeju Noodle Bar in New York City

I was born in Namwon, Korea, and came to the United States in 1994. The city where I grew up was surrounded by mountains. We always had mountain meat and vegetables, but we didn’t have easy access to seafood. I’m trying to get inspired [from] My childhood and turned it into our own dishes, but I also went to culinary school and worked in a French restaurant, so it’s here and there.My first job in New York was in 1999 at Nobu Downtown in Tribeca. I was shocked that this contemporary Japanese cuisine was So plural. I thought, Why don’t Korean restaurants have this reputation? My goal was to promote Korean food, and my career was built on that. So I’m surprised Korean food is so popular, but somehow I was planning on it.

I think the popularity of K-pop, K-Drams, and K-beauty has helped a lot, but it’s also something else. When I went to the Culinary Institute of America in 2004, there were very few Korean students [among them Yim Jung Sik of Jungsik; Sungchul Shim of Kochi; Eunjo Park, formerly of Momofuku Ssäm Bar; Max Soh of Oiji Mi.] Back then, even in Korea, the culinary scene was not the same as it is now. some CIA students, [like Eunhee Kim of The Green Table] He returned to Korea. All of these Korean chefs probably had a similar goal [to mine]To promote their food. As Korean chefs, how can we maintain these orders of Korean food?

Chef/Parachute Owner Beverly Kim © Matt Haas / Parachute

Chef/Parachute Owner Beverly Kim © Matt Haas / Parachute

Beverly Kim, Chef/Owner, Parachute in Chicago

I grew up eating a lot of Korean food because my mom was an amazing cook. A lot of the dishes on Parachute’s menu are inspired by this, but perhaps in a more modern quality. For example, file yukhaejang Spicy brisket soup haemul pajeon (seafood pie), 30-day-old Slagel Farm sirloin pulcoand grilled mackerel, are all inspired by the dishes I grew up with at home.

I’m so glad that Korean food is now so popular in the US. When I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, there was a lack of awareness of Korean cuisine and culture. I remember being embarrassed and ridiculed by the different smells and ingredients in Korean cuisine. Even in the 2000s, it was not as widely known as other Asian cuisines. This might be a contradictory answer: I’m not surprised [Korean cuisine is so popular] Because it’s delicious cuisine to me, but I’m amazed at its popularity compared to the times I grew up.

156 Cumberland Team © Gabriel Li / 156 Cumberland

156 Cumberland Team © Gabriel Li / 156 Cumberland

MJ Jeong, Chef/Owner, 156 Cumberland in Toronto

I grew up in Yeosu, a small town in the southern part of Korea. It’s a city by the ocean, so there was always plenty of fresh seafood. My favorite home dish seolleongtangIt is ox bone soup. The broth is made by boiling ox bones, cartilage, brisket, and other cuts and seasoning with salt, pepper, and green onions. It is perfect for enjoying on a cold winter day. We don’t have this on our current menu but it might be the inspiration for a future dish!When I first moved to Canada in 2014 to attend cooking school, Korean restaurants mainly targeted Korean guests. It seemed more [non-Korean] People were not familiar with Korean food culture. I knew that Korean food has a lot of potential and all cultures will enjoy it. I wanted to present Korean cuisine in an easy and familiar way, and I wanted to create unique dishes and add fun twists to traditional Korean dishes.

When we first opened, we had mostly non-Korean guests. I think Koreans tend more towards authentic, traditional and home made Korean dishes but lately we have had more Korean guests; It’s always nice to see them surprised by something so familiar yet so different. It creates an enjoyable dining experience.

Um.ma Chef Chris Oh.  Image courtesy of Chris Oh

Um.ma Chef Chris Oh. Image courtesy of Chris Oh

Chris Oh, chef/owner of um.ma in San Francisco

I ate a lot of Korean food growing up. Literally every meal was Korean or had a hint of Korean in it. Even on Thanksgiving, there was always a bowl of kimchi on the table! It was my favorite dish growing up galbi jjim Also known as Korean braised short ribs. This was always a special occasion meal and made the house smell so good. My mom used to make a lot so we could have her for days afterwards.

We have a very diverse crowd coming into the restaurant, which it was [our] Target, but it’s always nice to see other Koreans come up and praise the food because they’re definitely our harshest critics!

If anything, I’m amazed that Korean food has taken this long to become so popular. Korean food is unique in many ways, from the very popular table-side Korean barbecue to the warm soup. I feel that the popularity of Korean food, K-pop, K-drama, etc. have all benefited from each other.

Owners HanGawi William and Terry Choi © HanGawi

Owners HanGawi William and Terry Choi © HanGawi

William Choi, owner of Hangawi in New York City

I grew up in Seoul eating mainly Korean food. My mother was an amazing cook and our family always had gatherings where my aunts and cousins ​​would come over to our house to cook together for a family reunion. Because meat was very expensive when I was young, we had many vegetarian dishes at family gatherings. Our Hangawi menu is inspired by my memories of these family gatherings.

Dishes like Yap Chai (vermicelli with vegetables and mushrooms), Sanchay Bibimbap (bibimbap or stone rice bowl with mountain greens), Bagion (Korean pancakes), hobakjuk (pumpkin porridge), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), Kimchi jiggae (Kimchi hot pot) all inspired our vegetarian menu in Hangawi.

When we opened Hangawi in 1994, we were probably one of the few Korean restaurants Americans knew. This was due to our deliberate efforts to market our restaurant to Americans not only as a Korean-inspired restaurant but as a vegetarian restaurant.
the rise of hallyu (Korean wave) that started around 2010, sparked by the Korean music and entertainment industry, made Korean food very popular. If you visit 32nd St between Broadway and 5th Ave in Manhattan on any Friday or Saturday evening, you will see many young people enjoying Korean food and nightlife.

Atomix and Atoboy co-owners and co-founders Ellia and Junghyun Park © Atomix

Atomix and Atoboy co-owners and co-founders Ellia and Junghyun Park © Atomix

Ellia and JP Park, Owner and Chef/Owner at Atomix and Atoboy in New York City

JP and I grew up in Seoul. my food [JP’s] Childhood and the memories associated with it have influenced many of our dishes. One that comes to mind are groups Banchan (Korean side dishes) My mother used to make them when we were growing up. Banchan is usually up for grabs with multiple seating. It can easily be enjoyed again alongside a warm bowl of rice, sometimes eaten on a bed of noodles, or often paired with other banchan. The balance of flavors experienced through Banchan’s versatility and the different flavor combinations that are highly attributable [our] Food at Atoboy and Atomix.

JP: I enjoy cooking with an abundance of seaweed. Jim (Korean laver), my favorite since childhood, is a pantry staple, too MiwokAnd untilAnd maesaengiwhich can be incorporated into various soups, banchan, and rice.

Elia: I remember being blown away when Psy’s “Gangnam Style” came on the radio when we first moved to New York about 10 years ago. These days, the influence of Korean culture goes far beyond K-pop, with the influence and appreciation being done in movies, fashion, and art. For this we are grateful, as it certainly contributes to an increase in interest in our restaurants. We think daily [on how] To ensure the improvement of our restaurants and [how] To keep pace with the continuous growth and development of Korean culture.

Atomix dishes inspired by banchan © Evan Sung / Atomix

Atomix dishes inspired by banchan © Evan Sung / Atomix

Hero Image: Um.ma
© Chris Oh / um.ma