Did your cooking style change as you gained experience? How did it change?
As I gained experience as a chef, I visited many restaurants and met various chefs. In this process, my culinary style has also changed. Now I am oriented more toward “simple” cuisine, going simple with the plating, taste and texture as well.
Where and how do you find inspiration for cooking?
I get inspiration from everything. Honestly, I do not have any special place or thing that I draw inspiration from. For me, “concentration” is more important than inspiration.
Did you like mushrooms since you were young? When was the first time you tried mushrooms? (situation or impression)?
When I was a kid, mushrooms and vegetables were the last thing that I would ever want to try. Once I started cooking and lived abroad, however, I fell in love with mushrooms as I realized there were such a wide variety of precious mushrooms out there. During my childhood, I would often watch my dad, who was from the mountainous region of Gangwon Province, bring pine mushrooms every autumn and enjoy them grilled. Back then, I did not understand why he would do so.
Do you think mushroom is a premium ingredient? Or a humble ingredient? Could you explain why?
It all depends on what type of mushroom we are talking about. While mushrooms are more widely enjoyed in Korea, they are often used in higher-end dishes in Western cuisine. The perception of mushrooms as a healthy ingredient, however, is well accepted in both worlds.
If you can only cook and eat one kind of mushroom for the rest of your life, what mushroom would you choose? Why so?
I would choose the shiitake, which I believe is the most “moderate” mushroom. Any food with a strong aroma or flavor cannot be enjoyed too often. The shiitake, on the other hand, is something you never grow tired of, as it has a not-too-light, meat-like flavor and the intensity of its scent is just right.
How do you draw out the special flavor of the mushroom? Could you explain us what methods or ingredients you use?
I prefer cooking it with a little bit of oil. Since the mushroom itself tastes light, I believe it makes a perfect match with oil, especially extra virgin olive oil. To avoid overcooking, I always fry the mushrooms on high heat just until they turn golden brown and add salt and pepper to taste.
If you had to cook for yourself or for your friends at home, what would you cook for them?
I would choose morels. Now in season, they are expensive but a great ingredient to show off with!
Could you share your experience or memories related to Krug Champagne?
Krug is the most popular wine among the sommeliers, managers and chefs at Jungsik New York. We love its fantastic aroma, and we find the name “Krug” itself and its golden label very classy. Whenever we have something to celebrate, Krug is our answer.
Last but not least…
What is the name of the dish you matched with Krug Grande Cuvee?
I call my dish “charcoal grilled maitake.” The main ingredients are the shiitake, oyster mushroom and other various types of mushroom.
How did you come up with this dish?
I came up with this dish last autumn after some extensive research to develop a new mushroom-based menu.
Why does this dish match well with Krug Grande Cuvee?
The rendezvous of two contrasting scents is just marvelous.. The refreshing and sophisticated flavor of Krug Grande Cuvee and the strong, smoky aroma of charcoal grilled mushrooms feel very much like Beauty and the Beast.