Idolic TV recently released the pilot episode of Epik High’s new web series Hip-Hop Like Flowers, which documents the trio’s adventures during their 2015 North American Tour.
The episode begins with members Tablo, Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz preparing to board their flight to the first stop on their tour: San Francisco. Before performing at the city’s Warfield Theater, Epik High visited Twitter’s headquarters, where they were greeted by Gabriel Stricker, now former Chief Communications Officer at Twitter. According to Idolic TV, the Epik High members are the first Korean celebrities to receive a tour of the social media app’s headquarters.
Tablo seemed to be impressed with the vast office, as he ran down one particularly long hallway until he was out of breath. The trio also grabbed lunch at Twitter’s cafeteria—though, DJ Tukutz was a bit confused at how the line worked.
The second episode of the Hip-Hop Like Flowers is set to air next Wednesday and should give a behind-the-scenes look at Epik High’s time in Los Angeles. You can watch the first episode of the web series below:
Reputations have a habit of preceding, and it was no different when it came to two of the most established chefs on the West Coast.
“You’re not as intense as I imagined,” Roy Choi quipped to Corey Lee in front of an enthusiastic group of foodies and fans in Santa Monica in late April. “You’re a very calm and nice guy, actually. I was scared, I was ready to say, ‘Oui, Chef.’”
“That’s what I heard about you,” Lee retorted. “‘He’s a gangster.’”
On April 22, the two Korean American chefs met face-to-face for the first time for a chat in Santa Monica, Calif. as Lee kicked off his tour to promote his new cookbook, Benu (published by Phaidon), which is named after his three-Michelin-star restaurant in San Francisco. The recipes are presented as a 33-course tasting menu, and Lee includes several personal anecdotes that reveal the influences behind Benu’s signature dishes.
At first glance, the chefs come across as two distinct players in the business: Choi, a visionary chef who reps L.A. hard and is responsible for single-handedly changing how the world looks at food trucks; Lee, who is renowned worldwide for his culinary skills and knowledge of French, Chinese and Korean cuisines that play out into the unique offering at Benu.
But while their products may seem like they belong to different spheres in the culinary world, Lee and Choi explained there are more similarities to their food—especially when it comes down to how their respective upbringings and backgrounds play out in the dishes.
Corey Lee. Photo by Eric Wolfinger
“I’m not sure if Roy’s food is worlds apart from ours [at Benu],” Lee said in response to a question from an audience member. “I think from a consumer’s perspective, it might be. But from a chef’s perspective, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, I think there are a lot of parallels, and the more I talk to Roy, I realize that.”
“I had an upbringing that doesn’t seem like it would foster a chef’s career,” Lee added. “But I think that for those of us who were born in another country and came over to the U.S., this process of trying to recreate the food culture of our native country here in the U.S. is a very big part of our lives.”
Food writers haven’t found a specific brand to describe Lee’s food at Benu. Some have summarized it as Asian and French fusion or having Asian “influences.” Lee doesn’t subscribe to a certain brand—though he did write a book trying to explain it. At the same time, Lee admits he didn’t intend the cookbook to be as personal as it eventually became.
“When you go to explain your motivations for a dish, or the reasons why you think it’s worth documenting, that’s the kind of journey I thought was really educational for me in writing the book,” Lee explained. “Getting a better understanding of why these dishes were important to me, or where they came from, how they were conceived, and how that relates to my upbringing—a lot of it is tied to Korean food, Korean culture and Korean traditions.”
Be sure to check out our video of the highlights from Lee and Choi’s conversation as the chefs discuss their respective backgrounds, philosophies and influences in their careers—as well as their favorite Korean dishes.
Lee will be in Asia during the month of May, stopping by Hong Kong and Seoul before hitting the final leg of his tour in Toronto. On May 27, Lee will close his tour in Toronto with a conversation featuring Momofuku’s chef and founder, David Chang, who also wrote a foreword in the Benu cookbook.
Below are a few images and excerpts from Lee’s Benu cookbook, which is available on Amazon through publisher Phaidon.
The thousand-year-old quail egg, the first course on the menu. Pidan, as it is known, is usually made with duck eggs, but Lee went with quail eggs for the smaller size and a “whimsical variation” from tradition.
“How pidan was conceived and developed is one of the great mysteries and triumphs so often found in Chinese cuisine,” Lee writes. “And its enjoyment can be a great reward for the adventurous and open-minded eater.”
The beggar’s purse of treasures from the oak is composed of acorn, Iberico ham and black truffle. These are innately connected, Lee says: “It’s such an obvious and natural combination of flavors, but one that’s a product of being Korean, living in northern California, and working in European kitchens.”
Lee didn’t have the fondest memories of growing up with kimchi, and it took him years to reconnect with it. But things have come “full circle” for him, as Benu now makes and serves their own kimchi.
“The most well-known variety, baechukimchi … is what we make at Benu. The flavor profile is based on my mother’s–refreshing, loaded with daikon and green onion, firm in texture, not too sweet or spicy, and just a hint of seafood.”
A view of San Francisco from the Marin headlands. “Benu is very much a restaurant that’s influenced by different cultures,” Lee writes. “The cooking at Benu often explores how Asian flavors, ideas and aesthetics can harmonize with Western ones.”
Lee at a specialty barbecue restaurant in South Korea.
The haenyeo, or “sea women,” of Jeju Island in South Korea. During his visit, Lee and his team had the chance to meet them and photograph the haenyeo as they went about their daily free-dives.
“They are the living emblems of Korean cultural heritage and embody the resilience of its people, and, in particular, the strength and self-sacrifice of its women,” Lee writes. “And for me, their unwavering spirit is much more beautiful and palpable that can be imagined through any folklore.”
Acclaimed chef Corey Lee will be hitting the road later this month to promote his new cookbook Benu, which was named after his three Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco.
The cookbook isn’t just your run-of-the-mill collection of recipes: The picture-heavy, 256-page hardcover work is presented as a 33-course tasting menu that includes Lee’s anecdotes and essays that showcase the inspirations for Benu’s cuisine.
Publisher Phaidon announced the dates for Lee’s book tour on Monday, just a few weeks after Lee was nominated for another James Beard Award for 2015. The events will feature book signings, conversations with other famous chefs and dishes highlighted in the Benu cookbook.
Angelenos can look forward to seeing Lee next Wednesday with one of the most prolific Korean American chefs out there—Roy Choi will sit down with Lee for a chat after the reception, followed by a book signing in Santa Monica. On April 29, Lee will hit New York City and reunite with his mentor from The French Laundry, Thomas Keller.
Lee will then head to Asia in May, stopping by Hong Kong and Seoul before hitting the final leg of his tour in Toronto. The last event on May 27 will feature a conversation with another well-known Korean American chef—Momofuku’s chef and founder, David Chang.
For more information on Lee’s tour, you can take a look at the full schedule on Phaidon’s website. Tickets are available for his events in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. Tickets for Seoul and Toronto are TBA. You can also find more information on purchasing Lee’s cookbook, Benu, at the above link, as well as Amazon.
Benu was awarded three Michelin Stars by the 2015 Michelin Guide back in October 2014, and the recent James Beard Award nomination isn’t his first: He won the Rising Star Chef of the Year award while he was at The French Laundry in 2006.
The first location will be in Watts at a site that used to be smoke shop and a barbershop. Choi says that his team wanted to open a location somewhere in South Los Angeles, and they ended up focusing on Watts because of the sense of community they found there. (LAist)
Thirteen frightened young dogs and puppies arrived in San Francisco in a van Thursday, some trembling, tails between their legs, others with sad but hopeful eyes, and all of them unaware of how close they came to an agonizing, gruesome death. (SF Gate)
Why is the movie such a huge hit in the South Korean film market? Cinema Blend speculates the reasons, from the visuals to the high fashion costume design to director Matthew Vaughn’s popularity in South Korea.
It won’t be Cho’s first time behind the wheel of an automotive law department. He was most recently general counsel, corporate secretary and head of government relations at Volkswagen Group Canada, and has also has worked with Volkswagen Group China and Kia Canada.
Arthur Cho, John Hong, Seung Meang and Shane Oh were among the 60 new police officers and deputies who graduated from the academy. This is the first time in the history of the department that an academy class had this many Korean-American graduates. (Centreville Independent)
Pictured above: University of California Berkeley student Kristian Kim throws fake money while starting a protest during a UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
University of California President Janet Napolitano issued a public apology yesterday for describing a student protest as “crap” during a regents meeting on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“I’m sorry for using a word I don’t usually use,” Napolitano said at Thursday’s regents meeting at UC San Francisco. She admitted to using an “unfortunate” choice of words, but she also asked for “empathy and understanding” in what led to the remark.
Kristian Kim (pictured above) was one of about 30 student protesters in the meeting who, during the public comment period, began yelling and stripping down to their underwear and exercise clothing, revealing the words “Student Debt” written on their bodies. It was during the yelling that Napolitano leaned over regents chairman Bruce Varner and said, “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”
Her microphone caught the words, which were discernible on the UC’s live video stream of the meeting. Napolitano and the regents left the room, followed by the protesters after a warning from the police. No arrests were made, and the regents resumed the meeting.
Needless to say, the remark definitely didn’t sit well with the students.
“It’s an insult to have her as the president of UC,” Kim told CBS News. “I don’t know where she’s coming from, but I’m assuming she’s never had to deal with these issues personally. So I can understand why there would be a disconnect there.”
One of the more pressing issues students were protesting was the proposal for a 5 percent tuition increase every year for the next five years. Napolitano and California Governor Jerry Brown have gone back and forth on possible tuition hikes: The governor has proposed increasing state revenue for UC by $120 million, or 4 percent, next year, but only if tuition remains frozen for a fourth consecutive year, according to the L.A. Times. Napolitano maintained that the UC needs $100 million more than Brown’s proposal to cover costs, such as pensions and salaries; otherwise, the 5 percent hike would be necessary.
So far, the regents have authorized Napolitano to increase undergraduate tuition for California residents by as much as $612 in 2015-16, to $12,804, which does not include room, board and individual campus fees. If the 5 percent hikes kick in over the next five years, California undergrads could be paying $15,564 by 2019-20.
Last night, chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson reached their $100,000 crowdfunding goal for their “revolutionary” fast food chain Loco’l, making it the most successful food campaign on Indiegogo, reports L.A. Eater.
Now that Loco’l is fully funded on the crowdfunding side, it looks like the chain’s first two locations, Los Angeles’ Watts and San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhoods, are good to go. Once the two spots are up and running, Choi and Patterson will look to expand their chain to other possible locations, including East Oakland, Pacoima, Richmond and Anaheim.
Today is the last day of the Loco’l crowdfunding campaign, so if you still want to contribute, you can donate a few bucks on the campaign’s Indiegogo page.
Wendell Kim, a former coach for several MLB teams, as well as a former minor league player, died on Sunday near his home in Arizona after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 64, reports the Chicago Tribune. He is survived by his wife along with his son, daughter-in-law and grandson.
Wendell Kealohepauloe Kim was born on March 9, 1950 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Doris and Phil Kim (The meaning of his middle name is “never ending love”). His family relocated to Long Beach, California, to help his father’s boxing career.
The St. Louis Sports Pagepublished a feature on Kim this past August detailing his rough childhood and being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It describes Kim’s father as abusive to his wife and children, who was then killed in 1958, possibly by the mob, for refusing to throw a fight.
Kim would rise above the traumatic events of his childhood. He took up baseball in high school at the encouragement of his mother. After graduating from Banning High School in Wilmington, California, Kim attended Cal Poly Pomona and played three years of baseball, setting school records and being selected twice for the All-California Collegiate Athletic Association team.
In 1973, Kim traveled to San Francisco without telling his mother to participate in an open try-out with the Giants, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. That began the first of 24 years with the Giants organization.
Using his height as a motivational factor, Kim, at 5-foot-4, would spend eight years playing as a second baseman, unfortunately never cracking the big league roster despite posting a .363 on-base percentage in 2,525 plate appearances. He was no slouch: Kim at the time benched 320 lbs and leg pressed 1,000 lbs.
After a coaching and managing stint in the minors, Kim joined the Giants coaching staff in 1989, quickly making a name for himself with his passion, as well as his aggressive baserunning decisions. During his tenure as the third base coach, the Giants won the pennant in his first year and won 103 games in 1993.
Kim as the San Francisco Giants’ third base coach. Photo via McCovey Chronicles.
Known as “Wavin’ Wendell” or “Wave ’em in Wendell” for his aggressive style, Kim became one of the most recognizable third base coaches in San Francisco Giants history, a position he held until 1996. While he drew the ire of fans for being over-aggressive in sending baserunners home only to be thrown out, he was always the first to take responsibility if he made a mistake in the media.
Regardless, his enthusiasm and energy made him a fun figure to watch. Kim cut a diminutive figure among his fellow coaches and players, but he would be the first one to sprint out of the dugout and take his place in the third base coaching box.
Kim was dismissed by the Giants following the 1996 season and went on to join the Boston Red Sox as their third base coach from 1997-2000. He was voted Man of the Year in 1997 by the Red Sox, becoming only the second non-player to receive the award in 33 years. After coaching with the Milwaukee Brewers and Montreal Expos, Kim made his final stop of his career with the Chicago Cubs before retiring in 2005.
Fast food chains aren’t known to crowdfund, but Loco’l isn’t your normal fast food restaurant. Spearheaded by chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, Loco’l is touted as a locally sourced and affordable fast food option.
“Our vision with Loco’l is to create a fast food concept that’s delicious, but do it with the heart of a chef,” the Indiegogo campaign page says. “As chefs, we’re approaching it just like we would another restaurant … Then on the other side of it is being aware of what fast food is and what it’s become in America, and why it’s so important, popular, and powerful. Not trying to throw all of those things away.”
“We’re just trying to take it back to basics,” the page continues. “A lot of these fast food chains weren’t evil before. Somehow along the line as businesses grow, money and things start to change your decisions. Then before you know it, sometimes you don’t know which way is up anymore. Our philosophy in this is always to know which way is up. As chefs, we would never get to the point where we would be serving poison to people.”
One basic staple of fast food is the burger, and according to Choi, the cornerstone of Loco’l will be a 99 cent burger. The challenge will be not to make it a gourmet burger, but something that “feels, tastes, looks, smells, and sits in your hand just like a Quarter Pounder.”
Perks for contributors include with a social media shout-out, Loco’l sticker, signed copies of the chefs’ individual books (including Choi’s L.A. Son), and even opportunities to personally hang out with the chefs or get a private cooking class with Chef Chad Robertson from Tartine.