Sunday, 16 November 2014

Trainning of Korean restaurant Personnel Abroad 2014, London

Lecturer, Lim Mija

lecturer, Nam Gungok


Course lecturers and Prof. Ph.D  Yoon

Prof. Ph. D Yoon & Mr Park ( owner of Asadal, London)

All my readers may wonder how I was at this course, even I do not own a restaurant or work for any Korean restaurant as this course was designed for the Korean restaurant personnel, and its owner.

I enquired this course to the UK chairman of Korean food foundation Mr Hyungyoung Oh. My plan was  to write about this course in my blog and other media as a column, but I was persuaded to take the course and have an experience under most well known and an expert in Korean Traditional food writer, Dr Yoon Sukja.
Dr  Yoon wrote numerous books on Korean traditional foods, including fermented foods in Korean cuisine and she runs Korean institute of traditional Korean food in Seoul .

Well it is an excellent opportunity  for me to learn from the best. As all my readers and my class attenders know I am not a trained chef,   I took the chance.

Course runs 2 weeks ( from 27th,Oct to 10th, Nov), 1 week for the cooking and 1 week for practical matter how to run Korean restaurants in London.

All recipes from the Institute, including fermented bean paste and even cocktails made with Korean traditional wine like makguli, soju and chungju.

Lecturers are all from Institute in Seoul, from basic to more complicated dishes, along with health benefit and its story behind.

All attenders are mostly restaurant owners and some chefs, managers and wannabe restaurant owners and a few are planning to teach Korean cookery.

As lecturer demonstrate 4 dishes and we have to make 2 dishes ourselves as a team ( 4 people)
This cookery course is more towards Royal court cuisine than ordinary home cooking. sometimes they can be too ornate but I think when you know basic recipes you can create something your own.

My love of cooking is mostly its process to create something new. Hope all attenders are using this skill and make their unique dish in their restaurant.

Practical theory were covered from basic health & safety, employment law and lecture from the management consultant firm in Seoul, specializing in  Korean Restaurants all  over the world including in Korea.

Mr Park Hyung-Hee , CEO and founder of Consultant firm, Korea Food Service Information,  his lecture was electrifying so charismatic and mostly well researched lecture I've ever attend, and so funny at times ( it helps to the audience to relax)
Captivated audience were fixed their attention to his every word.
If he is lecturing next year, I might  pop in  only just  for his lecture.

Most of them were given certificates under the name of Dr Yoon, even I managed get a 3 Certificates even I missed 3 days due to my hospital appointments. ( cooking and management)
I must admit I've learned  new recipes from the course but I certainly will not follow their recipe exactly, try to be different without loosing element of ingredients.

Well, from now on I could say I had a Korean Cookery course from Institute of Traditional Korean food under Dr Yoon Sukja.  ( haaa!!!)

Personally I never look into the chef's any culinary institute certificate or any kind of exam result as long as I like their food that's all.
I wonder how many well known Michelin stared chef are boasting about their culinary school certificates, but Korean society has different attitude , any academic credential has a big influence in all corners of works, even cooking.
In London ( UK) well known chefs are mostly let customers know where they trained, like best restaurant in the world, el Bulli, Norma, or from Roux brothers in London, Bray.

Often chefs are self taught ( like me,( haaa) and then trained under famous chef like, Ferran Adria, Michele Roux, Marco Pierre so on.

Hope all chefs are recognise they have to be creative in their dishes, something make them stand out from this cookery course.
London needs a big star Korean chef or chefs, like David Jang in New York , many in LA or like Mr Baek in Las Vegas.
I am sure soon I can hear about very creative and arty Korean food by Korean chef with full of passion.

One thing I think they missed out in this course;
1. Talking about local trend, how London food scene and how London foodies like to follow , what is the most popular food in London now!
2. Encourage chefs,  try  to taste some popular restaurant and do understand what is the reason behind certain restaurants are popular and got Michelin stars, even western restaurants and like Nobu, HKK , Bo, Ho Tong ( for the oriental food)

I do think Kimchi is global food now, as many young chefs are put in their menu specially Japanese and other young arty chefs, from non oriental restaurants.

 I often hearing about the best Kimchi is from not Korean restaurants ,from Japanese, fusion , its chef is not a Korean.
I do hope Korean up market restaurants serve fantastic Kimchi as a centre piece or paid side dish like pretty  Gaesung Bossam Kimchi. it could be noticed by all foodies in London.

I think we need Nobu kind of Korean restaurant in London now.
I am optimistic in this regard since I met chef and owner, Kang Unyoung, Gaon in Kensington.
Chef / Owner was trained at the institute of Korean traditional food and she opened Gaon recently, looking at her menu and talking to her, she might be able to.
Gaon is located in the most wealthiest part of west  London and  the clients do not mind the price as long as the dish served with style, like all Michelin stared restaurants.
Certainly I will visit Gaon soon.

Korean food in London needs 2 kind of restaurants as any , one is cheap and cheerful with good home food  ( I think plenty of this kind restaurants in London now) and another is more modern and well presented, up market restaurants for the wealthy clients.

Finally I like to advice who like to open Korean cookery course, has to know who are the clients, if mostly Westerners, do read about their own cuisine, it will be much easy to teach and appreciate other culture of culinary , after all foods in the world are not all different as anyone might think.
We try to make best foods from the available ingredients in any corner of the world.

I would not boast about too much on how much Korean Foods have health benefit or philosophy behind.
All foods has health benefit if you cook properly.
All western nutritionist and doctors are telling us for more  strong coloured vegetables and more  oily  fish in our diet.
Chefs are in UK telling us have meat free meal at least once a week.
We all know what is good food, it is a just common sense

Remember Old saying, There is no such a thing, bad food only  a bad cook !!

I am so glad that I took this a golden opportunity and talked to many chefs and its owner. I am sure all had a hard think about their restaurant and gave them a big motivation from this useful course to do better!!

NOTE: Institute of Traditional Korea Food is in Seoul , Jongro 3 .
You can visit any time, Tteok café run by the institute is worth to visit, taste tea with tteok ( Korean rice cake).
If you like to take courses visit their website.

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