This is the third article of a ten-part series featuring interviews with chefs competing in the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014. See also our interview with Chef Jacob Davey from Australia and Kirill Kinfelt from Germany.
Chef Hoyoung Kim. It's a name you may want to remember as this 29-year old chef from Korea has plenty of passion and talent. Kim trained under Michelin-starred chefs in New York and his native country and is now based in Paris learning French culinary techniques. Next on his agenda is competing for the title of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year Award at the upcoming S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014.
As you may already know, this extraordinary event is a special regatta featuring a race-within-a-race. While sailors compete to cross the Venetian lagoon, chefs are are hard at work below deck preparing a special dish for a panel of judges that includes renown chefs Gaston Acurio, Helena Rizzo and Davide Scabin.
This year, the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014 will take place June 13th through June 15th. Aside from the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Award, the 10 participating chefs will vye for the People's Choice Award and the first-ever Critics Choice Award, both sponsored by Acqua Panna.
In anticipation of the special event, FDL caught up with Chef Kim. Here's what he revealed about himself and the future of fine dining:
Describe yourself in three keywords.
Passion, Courage, Sincerity
How would you define your cooking style?
My cooking style focuses on good taste before presentation. However creating a dish that has good taste and presentation complementing each other would be most ideal. Also as a native Korean chef, I prefer to add a Korean flavours to my dishes.
Which is your signature dish? Can you briefly describe it?
My signature dish is Octopus with Samjang Aioli. The octopus had been braised then slightly grilled and thus has a great texture. The Samjang gives a slightly spicy, sweet and savory flavor to the octopus. This is my way to create harmony between the Korean and Mediterranean tastes.
Who or what is your main source of inspiration? Why?
I usually search for inspiration by going to local markets. Because when I go markets I can see good ingredients, talk to market vendors and learn about the seasonal ingredients. So I love spending time at local markets. Above all, when I am at the local market I can imagine many kinds of combinations of the ingredients and brainstorm ideas for new recipes or dishes.
Tradition and innovation: which is the relationship with these words in your cuisine?
I prefer innovation. But I think innovation should include tradition and I am sure that one day the culinary trends will go back to the basics, classics and tradition. I am always trying to add traditional things in my cuisine while pursuing recent trends.
What is fine dining for you? How do you think the new generations are changing this idea and making it evolving?
For me, fine dining is my workplace. Also it is something I would like to do with the good people around me. However, fine dining is very expensive so it is not something I can do often. Luckily, new generation chefs have lowered the threshold of fine dining and created a new fine dining culture that has all the essentials with even better, even more innovative food.
Next big trends related to food and conviviality?
In my opinion, the next big trend would be fermented foods. Fermented foods are not well known Western people. Not only is it healthy and delicious, but also scientific. Since Korean food uses various fermented ingredients, I believe Korean cuisine would become a part of the next big trend.
The food you’d happily die eating.
I would happily die eating my mom’s Korean style Spicy Seafood Soup. It is like the French seafood bouillabaisse. The dish brings together deep and rich flavours from the sea. My mom’s seafood soup is special because she puts in plenty of seafood, and above all, she can make really good seafood stock and I believe that makes her soup taste amazing.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Maybe I would have opened a culinary book store in Korea. When I started as a chef I noticed that there are non, and because of this I experienced difficulty learning. I would like to provide good information to the many people who hope to become a chef.