Tag Archives: food

Friday's Link Attack: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Hettienne Park, Chef Debbie Lee


Angelina Jolie and ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson on Hollywood’s Female Director Deficit
Hollywood Reporter

I don’t think about the gender thing very much. But when I speak at schools, I’ve had female students say to me afterwards, “I never envisioned myself being a director, since I’ve never seen women do it.” But after seeing me, they can picture themselves directing, so maybe we’ll see more female directors. And half of these kids in art and animation schools are girls.


South Korea by Train: High Speed, Slot Machines and Monastic Calm
Telegraph (U.K.)

Dorasan, close to the border, was supposed to be a key stop on the route to reunification for North and South. But the idea of restoring a regular cross-frontier passenger service foundered. Dorasan station, though shiny with hope, remains no more than a 20 minute stop-off for sightseers on bus tours of the border. It sits on the edge of one of the world’s weirdest slivers of real estate – the Korean Demilitarised Zone, or DMZ, where the Z rhymes with C.

It is a scrubby slice of the 20th century preserved not in archive or museum but in camouflage, landmines and barbed wire. Around it has grown a sort of Cold War theme park, an edgy peep-show of a world almost at war, where instead of turnstiles there are guard posts and the guys on the gate are front-line soldiers. Their costumes and props – combat fatigues and automatic rifles – are real.


Nearly 7 out of 10 Koreans See Society as Corrupt
Yonhap News

More than half of the country’s ordinary citizens considered politicians the main culprits behind the corruption in the nation, followed by government agencies (30.3 percent), the judiciary sector (25.4 percent) and state-owned companies (22.5 percent), according to the poll.

While more than half of the ordinary citizens assessed the government’s anti-corruption efforts as insufficient, the share of the respondents who expect things to get worse reached 27.3 percent, up from 17 percent last year, it found.


Seminar’s Hettienne Park on Hitting the Theatrical Jackpot in Plays by Tony Kushner & Theresa Rebeck
Broadway.com

Growing up outside Boston, Park juggled music, dance and academics. Her parents had “the typical kind of Asian [outlook],” the Korean-American actress says. “They had me play every musical instrument; I started ballet when I was three but couldn’t pursue it because I was so busy with music, clubs and academics.” After studying flute and piano at the New England Conservatory, Park bowed to her parents’ wishes and entered college at the University of Rochester, double-majoring in economics and religion. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking,” she says of her demanding load, which included Latin as her foreign language. By graduation, the over-achieving Park realized she was more interested in performing than business.


Exploring Koreatown’s Galleria Market with Chef Debbie Lee
KCET.org

Not every cook is familiar with Korean ingredients — but we’re lucky to have them in abundance in L.A. Lee herself likes to shop at the Galleria Market in Koreatown, which fills the ground floor of a three-story mall at the southeast corner of Western and Olympic. Explains Lee, “The Galleria Market is like the Pavilions of Koreatown. Everything you can imagine is under the sun, with the freshest ingredients. I prefer to shop at a market for variety, and the Galleria has just that.”


Fund Manager Kim Offered Six- to 18-Year Sentence for Alleged Ponzi Scheme
Bloomberg

Manhattan prosecutors said Kim told his clients they were investing in safe and stable securities while he generated losses trading highly speculative futures contracts and diverted customer money to himself. He created fake monthly performance statements to conceal the scheme from at least 45 victims, the government said.

Kim and his employees told prospective clients the fund generated returns of more than 240 percent, and they hid losses by making new investments look like profits, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a civil suit.

Shopping trips in New York, skiing in Vermont and excursions to Atlantic City, New Jersey, were funded by improper withdrawals from the fund, the CFTC said. Kim “is the sole and managing member” of the New York-based company, the agency said in its complaint, filed in February.


Virginia Tech Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Fairfax Times (Virginia)

Daniel Sun Kim, 21, was a 2004 South Lakes High School graduate who was a junior at Virginia Tech when the massacre occurred there on April 16, 2007. Kim killed himself on Dec. 8, 2007.

The lawsuit, filed by William and Elizabeth Kim of Reston, sought $43 million from the university’s “Care Team.”

The suit claimed an online gaming friend, Shuan Pribush, who was then a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., contacted Virginia Tech via email and warned counselors there of Daniel’s suicidal tendencies about a month before he killed himself.


Looking Back at 2011’s Asian Americans in Film
Hyphen Magazine

…the great number of breakout works from 2011 is a reminder that there is a very vibrant Asian American film community with many members working actively to produce timely and entertaining works. While we’ve yet to reach a time when, at any given month of the year, you can walk into a multiplex and find films with either Asian American leads or directors, progress is being made slowly but surely.

Additionally, in 2011 film festivals that heavily feature Asian American works continue to prosper. Hawaii (HIFF), Los Angeles (LAAPFF), San Francisco (SFIAAF), San Diego (SDAFF), and New York City (AAIFF) all enjoyed a very stellar year. Asian American films would be no where without the help of these festivals.

Cul-Food-1111-Corey-Impact

Food Equals Identity For Chef Corey Lee

Now He’s Cookin’

From picky eater to winner of the James Beard Award, chef Corey Lee is scaling the culinary heights.

Story and photographs by VIVIEN KIM THORP

In some ways, Corey Lee could be seen as your typical 30-something bachelor. He works hard, lives alone and keeps no perishables in his fridge (only beverages, and mostly alcohol at that). He doesn’t bother taking his shoes off when he gets home and hasn’t made breakfast in 10 years.

But then Lee, who turns 34 at the end of this year, had a James Beard Award under his belt by the time he was 28. He’s worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.S. and Europe, co-authored a book with Thomas Keller, and served for more than four years as chef de cuisine at Keller’s world-renowned French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. Now, Lee is the chef and owner of his own restaurant, Benu, which opened in San Francisco in August of 2010.

Benu was given two stars by the prestigious Michelin restaurant guide on Oct. 25. It’s a major victory for the chef.

“It’s a huge honor, and the whole thing feels a bit surreal,” Lee says. “You just do what you feel is best and hope Michelin recognizes that. But that was yesterday, and today we are already going about our work like nothing happened.”

Housed in an elegant brick building in the SoMa district, a simple silver sign features the restaurant’s name, which means “phoenix” in Egyptian. Lee picked the name as much for its meaning and sound, as for its hard-to-determine origins. The restaurant’s facade boasts large windows where passersby can stare into the bright and busy kitchen. Here, sous vide machines (which utilize a method that combines the steady heat of poaching and an airtight seal) bubble up perfectly poached sea cucumbers, and staff members meticulously slice duck flesh and patiently weigh dumpling skins, a pair at a time.

The dining room, in contrast, is dim and serene, representing a kind of understated luxury, with a neutral palette and spare modern art. It’s here that Lee nightly serves a brand of cuisine strictly his own, drawn from his more than 16 years of experience, as well as the Asian foods he loves to eat. A dish of oysters, pork belly and kimchi may find itself in the company of a fois gras-filled Chinese dumpling. Flavors such as the Japanese citrus yuzu sit alongside watercress and apples. Lee’s food is creative, complex and lauded by his peers, including Momofuku’s David Chang, who, ironically, is often quoted as a critic of the San Francisco food scene. In January, the New York Times declared Benu one of “10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride,” and an early October Wall Street Journal article named it a restaurant to watch in its predictions of the world’s next star dining experiences.

Using tweezers, Lee painstakingly places chrysanthemum leaves in a bowl containing homemade tofu in a spicy kimchi-based broth. He chose these leaves because they are typically served with jjigae.

Lee, whose Korean name is Dong Min, was born in Seoul in 1977. At the age of 4, he moved to New York with his family for his father’s work as an engineer. After eight years in the States, the elder Lee decided to move back to South Korea.

The move made sense for Lee’s two older sisters, who would eventually attend university there. But Lee was only 12 years old, and his parents decided it would be an awkward time to uproot him. The next few years, his mother, a graphic illustrator, went back and forth between the two countries.

“Looking back, there were things I missed out on,” he says. “But my sense of family wasn’t affected by the separation.  I consider us to be very close.”

During those years, Lee would live in Manhattan, Connecticut and, eventually, New Jersey, where he graduated from Tenafly High School in 1995. It was then he would make a decision that would indirectly change his life’s direction.

Lee, who had no culinary aspirations, though an admittedly picky eater (no spicy foods!), had applied to out-of-state colleges. He began to realize that with his family in Korea, he didn’t want to split his time between Seoul and somewhere more remote. So he started the application process again, this time focusing on schools in New York. In the meantime, he got a job through a friend at Blue Ribbon Sushi in SoHo. It wasn’t long before he ended up in the kitchen.

“I got a real glimpse at the work chefs were doing,” he says.  “I saw how hard they worked, and that being a chef required physical strength but also creativity and, at an extreme level, artistry.” Lee also thought the career path was a fair one, if you worked hard, you did well. Eventually, the owners took a personal interest in him, encouraging Lee to go abroad. He listened, went to London and got his first experience in the world of fine dining, working at a number of restaurants including Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill. His career trajectory took off from there, with Lee climbing the ranks of elite restaurants in Europe and then New York, finally alongside Keller in California. He spent a year opening Keller’s Per Se in New York and together they co-authored Under Pressure, a book on the sous vide method of cooking.

Lee has a precise and modern approach to cooking, in which technique and research are implemented at every turn, but still take a back seat to the ingredients themselves.  Though he came at his career by happy accident, Lee always had a respect for the meaning of a meal.

Some of Lee’s preferred Korean dishes include bossam (steamed pork with oysters), maneuljong (kimchi made from garlic stalks) and ganjang gejang (soy-sauce-marinated crab).  But he says he can’t identify one single dish to symbolize what he loves about Korean food. “That’s not how Korean food is eaten,” he says. “It’s about balancing intense flavors with milder dishes, such as rice or noodles, not one dish.” Lee says owning his own restaurant has been a welcome experience. “In many ways, day to day, I’m still a chef in the kitchen,” he says. “But there’s a different sense of responsibility.” Before, great chefs like Keller entrusted their vision to him, which almost felt like a bigger responsibility to him, he says.

But now he gets to experiment more freely. “On your own, you can take more liberties,” he says. “It’s your own reputation at stake.” Still, Lee is well aware that along with his own success and that of his business partners, he has 34 employees and their families to whom he is beholden. He’s had spare time for hobbies such as golf, and when he reads, it usually reflects his industry. Lee says he feels incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to open his own restaurant, which is booked every night.

The a la carte menu changes according to season and the chef’s inspiration. The tasting menu, an intricate affair of paired textures, flavors and even aromas, changes less often.  Currently, three dishes have remained on the menu since the restaurant opened: the silky-textured monkfish liver, various takes on the 1,000-year-old egg and a faux shark fin soup, which is Lee’s interpretation of the iconic Chinese dish.

The chef says coming to the U.S. as a kid greatly influenced his perspectives on food. “I was young, but still old enough to recognize that we ate differently from most people around us,” he says. “My understanding of food was about the critical role it plays in identity and culture. Food is more than sustenance and nutrition. It’s part of who you are.”

This article was published in the November 2011 issue of KoreAm.

Monday's Link Attack: Mary Hayashi, David Oh, Hee Young Park

Hayashi’s political career, legacy in jeopardy with charges looming
San Jose Mercury News

State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi entered the political world as a survivor of a tormented childhood, losing an older sister at 17 to suicide and watching as her disgraced parents burned her sister’s clothes, cut her out of photos and never mentioned her name again.

Yet Hayashi quickly built a name for herself at the Capitol after becoming the first Korean-American woman to serve in the Legislature. She became part of the inner circles of two Assembly speakers. A magazine named her one of the 100 most influential Asian-Americans of the past decade.

Now, a new and puzzling source of shame is threatening to ground this once-rising East Bay Democrat and dash her plans to run for the state Senate: a bizarre grand theft charge that accuses her of shoplifting nearly $2,500 of clothes at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus on Oct. 25.

While the case has embarrassed fellow lawmakers and could make Hayashi the first California lawmaker in 18 years to be ousted because of a felony conviction, it has focused new attention on what legislative staffers call Hayashi’s overly ambitious and sometimes erratic behavior.

Her criminal case has caused tongues to wag at the Capitol and jolted the tight-knit Korean-American community, where many view her as a role model.

“I’m saddened because she’s somebody that many in the Korean-American community have looked up to,” said Jiyon Yun, a Walnut Creek attorney. “She’s had so many accomplishments and contributed so much to so many efforts and projects, I hope this doesn’t take away from what she’s been working on.”

David Oh takes the cake in at-large Council race
Philadelphia Daily News

There will be no repeat of the nightmare four years ago, when attorney David Oh was ahead on election night for one of two City Council at-large seats set aside for the minority political party but lost after absentee ballots were tallied.

Oh today finally bested Al Taubenberger in last week’s election, after absentee, military and provisional ballots were counted. In the final tally, Oh led by 166 votes from election day ballots and absentee ballots. A count today of 755 provisional ballots, used on election day when there are questions about a voter’s registration, did not put Taubenberger ahead.

Oh said he was not surprised by the narrow margin, though he said it was unclear what impact a barrage of negative mailings, radio ads and robo-calls in the closing week of the campaign had on his campaign. That effort was run by a political action committee controlled by Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which supported another Republican in the race.

Hee Young Park wins LPGA finale
USA Today

Holding off some of the biggest names in women’s golf, unheralded Hee Young Park won the CME Group Titleholders on Sunday for her first career LPGA title.

Park, with a closing 70, finished at 9-under-par 279 to beat Paula Creamer and Sandra Gal by two shots at sun-splashed Grand Cypress Resort to win the LPGA tour’s season-ending event. Another shot back were Na Yeon Choi and world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen. Michelle Wie, world No. 3 Cristie Kerr and world No. 1 Yani Tseng, trying to win for the 12th time this season, made brief runs at the championship before finishing in a tie for sixth, seven shots behind.

Korean Tacos Bounce From LA to Seoul
Wall Street Journal

In an alley just off Garosoo-gil, the tree-lined street in Gangnam that has taken over from Apgujeong as the coolest place to be seen on weekends, is the three-month-old Grill5taco restaurant that has created its own version of Kogi’s fusion of Korean and Mexican foods.

Grill5taco was started by Ban Joo-hyung and Kim Hyun-chul and their original thought was to sell their tacos from trucks just like Kogi does. So they brought one over from the U.S. and hit the streets for a short time last year.

But the police kept slapping them with fines. Apparently, it’s OK to sell food from tents and from trucks that have permission to work in certain spots. But it’s against the law to just drive around wherever you want and sell food.

Mr. Kim said that’s when they decided to open the restaurant. “Garosoo-gil was the only neighborhood we considered,” he said.

Korea Still Sends Hundreds of Babies Abroad for Adoption
Chosun Ilbo

Korea is still the largest exporter of babies for adoption to the U.S., highlighting the need to strengthen child protection in the country. According to the 2011 Annual Adoption Report to Congress released Friday, out of the total of 2,047 foreign-born children adopted by U.S. families from October 2010 to September 2011, 734 or 36 percent were from Korea.

The Philippines was a distant second with 216, Uganda third with 196, India fourth with 168, and Ethiopia fifth with 126. Korea last topped the list in 2003 and since then it ranked fourth or fifth until it reclaimed first place this year.

Suspected N.Korean Spy Arrested After Posing as Defector
Chosun Ilbo

An alleged North Korean spy has been arrested after arriving in the country posing as a refugee.

The government said Saturday that a routine background check on the individual revealed he had been assigned by the North to conduct espionage activities in the South.

Authorities said the man entered Korea in April after traveling through China and Southeast Asian countries including Laos, Vietnam and Thailand in a bid to legitimately build his cover story as a defector.

A New Voice Grips South Korea With Plain Talk About Inequality and Justice
New York Times

Two days before Seoul elected a mayor last month, an unassuming man slipped into the campaign headquarters of Park Won-soon, an independent candidate. Amid flashing cameras, the man, Ahn Cheol-soo, a soft-spoken university dean who had earlier been seen as a contender for mayor himself, affirmed his support for Mr. Park, entrusted him with a written statement and then left.

“When we participate in an election, we citizens can become our own masters, principle can defeat irregularity and privilege, and common sense can drive out absurdity,” said Mr. Ahn’s statement, an open appeal to voters that quickly spread by way of Twitter and other social networks. “I’m going to the voting station early in the morning. Please join me.”

It was a pivotal moment in an election whose outcome has rocked South Korea. In a country where resentment of social and economic inequality is on the rise, and where many believe that their government serves the privileged rather than the common good, Mr. Ahn’s words — “participate,” “principle,” “common sense” — propelled younger voters to throw their support overwhelmingly behind Mr. Park, the first independent candidate to win South Korea’s second-most-influential elected office.

Korean-American businesses donate 600 turkeys
WNEM.com (Flint, Mich.)

Detroit police Chief Ralph Godbee says Korean-American businesses are donating 600 turkeys for distribution to the city’s needy.

Godbee says the 27th Korean-American Share Day is being marked with an event at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the department’s 12th Precinct station.

A Korean teacher cycling across the country stops in East Texas
KTRE ABC (Lufkin, Tex.)

It was a request like no other for the First Assembly of God. A 21-year old teacher from Korea cycled up to the church last Thursday, asking to spend the night in the front yard.

“He asked if he could put his tent up and stay the night to get some rest because he felt more safe staying at churches than he did just anywhere,” said First Assembly of God member, Lesa Rodgers.

“They told him yes he can camp here. So then, I come up. It was cold. So I said look just come on in the church. We weren’t going to leave him there,” said First Assembly of God pastor, Kenneth Reynolds.

Tungin Byun saved up money over the past year. Now, he’s using it to cycle around the US, stopping at churches for rest along the way.

North Korean celebrities are struggling because of the Hallyu Wave
allkpop

North Korean celebrities are suffering significantly due to the Hallyu Wave, mainly because South Korean celebrities are gaining much popularity, while North Korean celebrities are becoming forgotten. Multiple insiders state, “People related to the North Korean entertainment business ignore the demands of the people and solely focus on Kim Jong Il‘s propaganda. People can expect to see the end of North Korea’s entertainment industry“.

North Korean youths who defected from the country were able to name several South Korean films including ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ and ‘Scent of a Man‘, while they were unable to recall any names of actors/actresses from a particular North Korean film.

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N. Korea crowned world champs – unofficially
AFP via Google News

North Korea’s 1-0 win over Japan last week was not only a famous victory over their bitter rivals — it also made them the Unofficial Football World Champions, according to a tongue-in-cheek website.

The www.ufwc.co.uk site contends that the world title won by Spain in 2010 passed unofficially to Argentina after a friendly win, and then to Japan after the Blue Samurai beat Lionel Messi’s men in October last year.

So when Pak Nam Chol buried his 50th-minute header at Pyongyang’s bitterly cold Kim Il Sung Stadium last Tuesday, prompting rapturous celebrations, it was a goal that also put the secretive state unofficially on top of the world.

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Thursday's Link Attack: Kissing Leaders, Roy Choi, Violinist Jennifer Choi

Benetton’s lip-locked leader ads: bad taste?
The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Shocking photos of various world leaders in lip-lock circulated on the Internet today, stirring up a flurry of reaction.

U.S. President Barack Obama puckering up with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas giving each other a friendly peck on the kisser. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak letting bygones be bygones with a stiff smooch.

The provocative images are part of clothing brand Benetton’s new advertising campaign, unveiled on Wednesday.

The campaign – the brand’s first major campaign in a decade of largely forgettable ads – is touted as “Unhate.”

F&W Exclusive Preview: Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot
Food and Wine

What can possibly beat a sweet trip to the Caribbean? Well, this: chef Roy Choi’s version of the Caribbean. The creator of L.A.’s life-changing Kogi Korean BBQ taco trucks (and F&W Best New Chef 2010) is opening Sunny Spot on November 18 in Venice, California. “At Sunny Spot, you’re going to feel like you just washed up on your beach,” says Choi. “If I was on my beach in Jamaica, this is what I’d be making.”

Violinist Jennifer Choi on the Ethel string quartet’s ‘modern classical’
The Pitch (Kansas City, Mo.)

“Postclassical string quartet” Ethel , which focuses on works by modern composers, brings its show to the Lied Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19. The performance features Philip Glass’ score to The Hours, as well as pieces by other modern composers. We recently spoke by phone with the group’s violinist, Jennifer Choi, about her experiences with Ethel and the group’s approach to music. In addition to being a successful solo artist, Choi is the newest addition to the quartet, replacing Mary Rowell, who had been with the group since its inception in the mid-’90s.

What’s it like joining a group with such a lengthy history, especially replacing a member who’d been with the group for 15 years?

Since the beginning, yeah. Well, I had known about the group for a long time. When I came to New York in ’98, that’s pretty much when they formed, as well. And I was pretty much doing the same kind of music — new music — and that kind of became my focus after a while. So I guess the transition felt pretty normal for me, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I worked with Neil — Corneilius Duffalo, the other violinist — as well as Ralph Farris, the violist, in other situations, ’cause you tend to bump into each other in New York City. So it just felt pretty good to be able to join a group like that. And it just feels really nice, because they have their repertoire and they’re really solid players, so it’s like playing tennis with a really great tennis player. You just sort of fit right in.

Lottery agency tries to recover $12.5M insider win
CBC News (Canada)

More than seven years after a Toronto-area woman cashed in a stolen $12.5-million Lotto Super 7 ticket, Ontario’s lottery corporation is trying to recoup the money, but the lengthy wait may have cost the Crown agency.

CBC News has learned that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) filed a lawsuit in March against the woman who claimed the ticket, Kathleen Chung, and her family and associated companies for “deliberately deceiving” the corporation.

Police allege that Chung’s father and brother stole the free play ticket in 2003 from its rightful owners who validated the ticket at the Chung-managed Variety Plus store in Burlington, Ont. The duo then allegedly gave the ticket to Kathleen to claim in an attempt to cover their tracks.

The Chungs were charged in September 2010. Kathleen Chung, 30, faces charges of fraud, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime. Her brother, Kenneth Chung, 28, and their father, Jun-Chul Chung, 62, were each charged with several counts of theft, possession of property obtained by crime and laundering proceeds of crime.

Bible Study Teacher Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Assault
Patch.com (Northbrook, Ill.)

A Northbrook woman accused of criminal sexual assault in the case of a 15-year-old boy pled not guilty in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie Tuesday.

Na Choi, 24, is also charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

County Man Charged With Fraudulent Business Practices
Fairfax News (Virginia)

A 50-year-old Great Falls man has been charged with obtaining money by defrauding a business investor.

According to police, the 37-year-old victim entered into a business contract in April with Hong Ku Kim of 746 Ellsworth Avenue in which she invested $200,000 into Kim’s company, Greentopia-Timonium.

According to the contract, the victim’s money was to be placed in escrow so she could obtain her E2 Visa. This Visa allows a national of a treaty country — a nation with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with — to be admitted into the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in an American business.

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Korean-American leader blasts opposition party over FTA row
Dong-A Ilbo

The head of a Korean-American association based in Atlanta has criticized leading members of Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party for shifting their position on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

“Under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, supreme council party member Chung Dong-young and chairman Sohn Hak-kyu came to the U.S. and asked leaders of Korean-American groups to support the Korea-U.S. FTA,” said Yoo Jin-cheol, president of the Federation of Korean Associations, USA., in a phone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo.

Top Chef Texas Recap – Week 3

by Monica Y. Hong

This week our two Korean American chefs, Beverly Kim and Edward Lee, give us a taste of their cooking styles and personalities as we finally get to see them duke it out on Top Chef Texas.

As Beverly is getting ready at the Top Chef house for the first day of real competition, she unfolds a piece of paper and places it up on her mirror.

“I printed out a sheet that says, ‘Congratulations, Beverly Kim Clark!!!! You have won Top Chef Season 9 and $125,000!!!!!’ I look at it everyday. If I can believe it, I’m going to achieve it. I keep telling myself that.” Another week, another trusty piece of paper. Last week’s “I CAN I MUST I WILL” worked out for her so all I can say is to each his own.

The 16 “cheftestants” enter the kitchen for their first quickfire challenge only to be met with a terrarium filled with snakes. Each chef has a small covered box in front of them that contains a succulent serpentine surprise. They have to cook up some rattlesnake in one hour, with the best viper winning them immunity and $5,000. Sssuper! Continue reading

Friday's Link Attack: Pepero Day, Asian dining, Jeju Island

Today is Pepero Day in South Korea
Giant Robot

The calendar says 11/11/11, which means one thing in South Korea: Pepero Day. They call it Pepero Day because these skinny, chocolate covered biscuits resemble the numbers that make up the date 11/11. It’s huge holiday over there, with markets and convenient stores decked out with fancy displays and gift baskets of these snacks, a knock off of the more familiar Pocky brand. The concept is that you gift boxes of these confectionary treats to your significant other as a symbol of your affection.

Jonathan Gold’s 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011
L.A. Weekly

I like trucks, taco tables and pop-ups as much as the next guy, but I was really hoping to find evidence pointing to a resurgence in fine dining, powered by exposure to complex cooking on food television, and the vast numbers of people coming out of training programs like Cordon Bleu or the CIA. Alas, I did not.

Instead, when I looked at the new heroes of cooking in America, I kept seeing Lukshon’s Sang Yoon, Kogi’s Roy Choi and ramen-slinging David Chang of New York’s Momofuku: Asian-born guys classically trained in European techniques, working in great American kitchens, who decided to redirect their imagination toward street food. Their dishes have a directness of flavor, and their high-low juxtapositions still have the ability to shock, even in a world where pandan leaf and calamansi lime have become nearly as common as salt and pepper.

Danji’s Hooni Kim Hits Tori Shin Early for the Good Stuff
Eater NY

Chef Hooni Kim of Danji praises Upper East Side yakitori staple Tori Shin.

“I get my yakitori fix at Tori Shin. It’s usually filled with Japanese businessmen and the decor, service, etc give it a real authentic feel. I like to watch the grill chefs twirl the skewers so rhythmically it looks like they’re playing an instrument. My favorites are the following skewers: skin, gizzard, and wing. If you get there early enough you can try the specials which include knee bone, cartilage, hearts, and livers.”

Theater review: ‘The Language Archive’ at East West Players
Los Angeles Times

The play, which won the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and premiered at South Coast Repertory last year, depends considerably on its actors’s charms. Happily, director Jessica Kubzansky’s cast mines the comedy and pathos of Cho’s appealing characters: Chang exudes a youthful buoyancy, and Mashita’s smaller roles are played with brisk, delightful discipline. Yu’s droll, relationship-challenged George sells the play’s quicksilver emotional shifts, keeping us invested in his journey. “We are the only two speakers of [our] language,” a desperate George explains to his wife, referring to that unique dialect of private jokes and shorthand that develops within a relationship over time. Forget the linguistics of lost cultures — it takes two for pillow talk.

The play’s preciousness can diminish its dramatic power, and this production doesn’t always find the edges. Cho tends to tell us things about feelings when we’d rather see them played out. Still, “The Language Archive” poignantly anatomizes the speeches and silence of love, requited and not.


Family of woman killed by falling 70-foot tree explores lawsuit
Los Angeles Times

The father of a woman who was killed when a nearly 70-foot eucalyptus tree fell on her car in a Costa Mesa intersection has hired a Beverly Hills lawyer to explore filing a lawsuit.

Haeyoon Miller, 29, was sitting at a red light near Newport Harbor High School when the tree, planted in a median, crashed onto her blue Hyundai.

According to witnesses, emergency crews were able to lift the tree but then it slipped back onto the car.

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Flushing clinics in Medicare sweep
Queens Chronicle

Four Queens residents have been charged in federal court with submitting about $11.7 million in fraudulent Medicare claims from two medical clinics in Flushing.

An indictment charges that Ho Yon Kim, 85, of Flushing; Hoy Yat Kam, 57 of Flushing; Elaine Kim, 50, of Bayside; Gilbert Kim, 59, of Bayside; Peter Lu, 36, of Manhattan and John Knox, 54, of the Bronx submitted $11.7 million in false claims through the URI Medical Center, believed to be on Farrington Street in Flushing, and Sarang Medical PC believed to be on 38th Ave.

South Korea beats UAE 2-0 in World Cup qualifier
Yahoo Sports

World Cup regular South Korea was closer to booking a spot in Asia’s fourth and final round of qualifiers for Brazil 2014 with a hard-fought 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates on Friday.

Lee Keun-ho and captain Park Chu-young scored late second-half goals to keep the unbeaten Koreans on top of Group B after four matches.

South Korea beat UAE 2-1 at home a month ago, but didn’t expect as hard a match as it got on Friday.

Whistler Fest to honor quartet
Variety

The Whistler Film Festival will honor actors Patton Oswalt, Andy Serkis, Jay Baruchel and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson during its 11th edition, running Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

Nelson, director of DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda 2,” will be honored with the WFF’s first Trailblazer in Animation award, which will be presented by Gaydos on Dec. 3. Nelson is the first woman to solo-direct an animated film from a major studio.

Beyond tangerines and palm trees: Jeju’s unique culture
Yonhap News

Every culture, by definition, is unique, and especially so is that of Jeju Island, a volcanic tourist attraction off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula.

Jeju’s culture has developed over thousands of years as a result of its people’s relationship with nature, animistic religion and mythology.

The first place in the world to receive UNESCO designations in all three natural science categories, Jeju has its cultural foundation in the animistic belief among its people that the island is home to 18,000 gods.

Healthy Alternatives to Binge-Drinking a New Trend at Office Gatherings
Chosun Ilbo

Getting pass-out-drunk on heady combinations of beer and soju is almost expected by Korean companies whenever work get-togethers are organized, but many corporations are bucking the trend by refocusing such events on healthier pursuits.

One company that handles publicity for food and beverage and apparels makers in Seoul found that its booze-drinking sessions were leaving its employees drained and unproductive. This prompted it to embark on a high-octane evening trip that let them vent their stress in other ways, such as by screaming their way through hair-rising roller-coaster rides.

“We often work overtime in the evening and the workers get really stressed out,” said the head of the company. “But when we are forced to attend company dinners, staff often complain that they get even more tired, so we decided to replace such gatherings with trips to an amusement park.”

Jeju – The Island
Vimeo

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Top Chef Recap: Beverly Kim Cleans Up

by Monica Y. Hong

This week on Top Chef Texas we finally got to meet our other Korean American hopeful, Beverly Kim, chef de cuisine at Aria in Chicago. With Chef Edward Lee “on the bubble” following last week’s season premiere, Chef Kim’s performance is vital to our getting at least one KA into the top 16. No pressure.

Ten ingredients are presented to 10 chefs in the third and final group to decide who goes to the round of 16. Choosing from a variety of ingredients such as oxtail, brussel sprouts and rice, our girl Beverly goes with octopus.

The chefs are separated into three groups based on the amount of cooking time they are allotted for their chosen ingredient. Chef Kim is part of the third group and will have a full hour to prepare her eight-tentacled friend.

“Tom and Hugh are walking around the kitchen so I’m just feeling a little nervous and scared,” Kim says. But she doesn’t look scared when she starts tearing apart the octopus with her bare hands. Despite being a petite chef, she shows no signs of fear or weakness. Continue reading

Wednesday's Link Attack: Dear Leader Death Rumors, K-Pop, Dokdo

Kim Jong-il Death Rumors Rattle Markets
Chosun Ilbo

Rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death spread through the South Korean stock market on Tuesday, driving share prices down and causing the won to plunge against the U.S. dollar. The KOSPI hovered around the 1,915 point level, similar to Monday’s close, but fell steeply at around 2:20 p.m. when the rumors hit the market. It closed down 0.8 percent (15.96 points) at 1,903.14.

A Playboy queen in chef’s whites
City A.M. (London)

IMAGINE, for a moment, the head chef at a Playboy Club. Whatever image just sprang to your mind, I am fairly certain it is not Judy Joo. A Korean-American former Wall Street banker (she was a sales-trader on the fixed income floor of Morgan Stanley; her husband works for a hedge fund in London), Joo has been executive chef at Park Lane’s revamped Playboy since it opened in June. The New Jersey-born graduate of Columbia University’s School of Engineering left banking and a fat salary to become a chef – taking rather a gamble on many fronts. We meet this most impressive and unlikely Playboy employee.

Q. What made you decide to make the leap from banking to cheffing?

A. I suddenly realised: I’m enjoying being a banker but I don’t love it. I was regularly taking a shuttle from LaGuardia to Boston and found myself grabbing the free cooking magazines in the bus station. I felt like Barrons and the Economist were more like homework. So after a while I was like: why don’t I just do what I love and follow my dream and my passion?

Winter Olympics a Bigger Boost for Korea Than K-Pop
Chosun Ilbo

Foreigners who live in Korea or have visited the country say Pyeongchang’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics did more to boost Korea’s image than K-pop.

The Corea Image Communication Institute, which looks for ways to improve Korea’s image abroad, surveyed 211 foreign diplomats, academics, CEOs, artists and other opinion leaders from Oct. 10 to Nov. 7, and 55.3 percent said the Pyeongchang bid played the biggest role in improving Korea’s image.

Next were K-pop (18.6 percent) and Shin Kyung-sook’s international bestseller “Please Look After Mom” (16.7 percent). Others cited novelist Lee Oe-soo, figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, English Premier League footballer Park Ji-sung and singer Rain.

In contrast, 39.2 percent of 303 Koreans who were surveyed cited K-pop as playing the biggest part in boosting their country’s image abroad, followed by the Pyeongchang bid with 36.6 percent.

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[VIDEO] South Korea pushes its pop culture abroad
BBC News

Once under the thumb of, and then in the shadows of its more powerful neighbours like Japan, South Korea is emerging in the 21st century as a dynamic, global force. Rajan Datar reports on how it has now become a major exporter of popular culture.

Seoul dismisses Japan’s request to call off Dokdo concert
Yonhap

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday dismissed Japan’s recent request to cancel a scheduled musical concert on South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, saying it was “needless” to even consider the request.

S. Korean man sends his cut-off pinky to Japanese embassy
Yonhap News via Korea Herald

An unemployed South Korean man has been booked for investigation after he cut off part of his left pinky and sent it to the Japanese embassy in protest of Tokyo’s territorial claim to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, police said Wednesday.

Rain Chosen as Assistant Instructor at Army Boot Camp
Chosun Ilbo

Self-explanatory.

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Father gets suspended term for beating daughter with bamboo stick
Yonhap via Korea Times

A Seoul appellate court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling and sentenced the father of a teenage girl to a suspended prison term for beating her with a bamboo stick and forcing her to do long physical workouts.

The father, identified as Choi, 48, was indicted last year on charges of harsh treatment of his 15-year-old daughter. In addition to beating her with a bamboo stick, he was accused of forcing her to run on a treadmill for more than an hour at a time and to perform other workouts as punishment for not studying hard or being wasteful.

Do All Asians Have Flat Butts?
8Asians

I admit that I have a flat butt. Please, no jokes. I’m a little sensitive about it. Once I asked an ex-girlfriend if they thought I had a nice ass and they said I had a wonderful personality. I should have known then that the relationship was doomed.

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