Country : South Korea
Restaurant : Jungsik
This young chef (33 years old) is a man of his time, times that reflect both globalization and cultural interchange. He is both an interesting and revealing example of what both the culinary crossbreeding and fusion are capable of delivering. Born in South Korea and trained in West (promising student of the Culinary Institute of America, in New York), he is considered as the most brilliant representative of New Korean Cuisine.
His professional background has taken him to Zuberoa, Aquelarre, Bouley and Aquavit. The Commander in Chief of the South Korean Army chose him as his personal chef after tasting one of his dishes.
In 2009, he opened his first restaurant in Seoul, Jung Sik Dang.In 2011, together with 4 other Korean youngsters, he opened a Jung Sik in New York.An establishment in the heart of the TriBeCa side of town which has made an impact among New York’s foodies while at the same time capturing mass media attention.
His point of view about cuisine as something which is both global and integrating is what makes all the difference.His work in international cuisine has two main points of focus.On the one side, he has managed to bring the difficult Korean cuisine (in which the acidic, bitter and hot flavours abound) to western palates by means of the most innovative techniques (vacuum boiling, texturizing, impregnations…).On the other hand, he has given his fellow countrymen —mostly the young ones— the opportunity to discover the new dimension of their own cuisine, showing to them that the great gastronomy does not have to be only the Western.That has meant a shock for a big part of the South Korean society, he has shocked consciences while at the same time granting his cuisine a social prestige never experienced before.
Yim Jung Sik is a really skilled professional; a master of technique and possessed of a huge aesthetic sense when it comes to dreaming up recipes.
He starts from both the traditional Korean cuisine and its ingredients, and then he applies avant garde techniques and concepts —most of them Spanish—, obtaining results which are characteristic of highly technical, conceptual cuisine. He doesn’t hesitate in deconstructing the bibim bap (Korean traditional dish) and converting it into a salad or in transforming the omnipresent kimichi (a dressing made of soya paste fermented and mixed with chilli paste) into a glamorous dressing. Although he can also walk the path the other way around: choosing western ingredients and cooking them using characteristic Korean techniques. This is the way he has given birth to three different bibim bap in which the wheat replaces the rice or the season vegetables go in an unusual way with the rice. There are no limits; if the dish turns out to be tasty, everything can be invented. And they are really tasty!
The star dish of his new New Yorker restaurant is the Five senses satisfaction pork belly, in which he represents the five senses through five sensations: hot, bitter, sweet, crunchy and soft. A Western avant garde recreation of a popular Korean dish, the bossam, made with belly pork as its main ingredient.