Food and Wine Pairing Dinner at the Park Hyatt Seoul

Follow Jeannie Cho Lee MW on her book tour for “Mastering Wine for the Asian Palate”. This insightful and informative book broadens the wine lexicon by adding Asian terms to the language of wine.  On her stop in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on the 9th of September, Jeannie spent an evening with the Park Hyatt’s executive chef Stefano di Salvo.  He designed a special menu to pair with a selection of the award-winning Decanter wines, incorporating his signature Italian style dishes with local Korean ingredients.

Asian Palate: What factors and considerations did you have in mind when designing the menu for the dinner with Jeannie?

Chef Stefano: When I first designed Jeannie’s dinner menu, I reviewed and studied the list of ingredients that Jeannie has in her book to match the wine characteristics, to structure the menu on the basis of those ingredients. I also wanted to emphasize and exemplify the use of Korean ingredients, many of which were on that list. 

The first dish I wanted to make was something very delicate and simple that could elevate the characteristics of the wine best. In order to achieve that, I used sea bream and oranges from Jeju Island, and local young leaves and pear from Naju. I wished to blend the crunchy pear with the fresh delicate taste of the fish.

The second dish I used was Korean black chicken, a fantastic local product. I made some tortelli with it- the aim being to make the dish very tasty, yet not too strong in flavor.  The tortelli was tossed with a ragout made with Korean black pig from Jeju, the sauce scented with cloves and star anise.  The result was very satisfying.

The third dish was a fish, and Jeannie had asked me to make something a little spicy, so I used Korean chili paste from the famous master Ok Rae Moon.  I basically seared the seabass first, then lightly marinated it with the chili paste and completed the cooking in the oven. To serve with it, I made a mushroom ragout with a red wine reduction, using all the local mushrooms and some Italian porcini mushrooms, which are very tasty and flavorful. The dish was finished with a little herb salad which complemented the mushrooms very well- a very tasty dish.

We then prepared a chilled Maesil Tea from Hong Ssang ri with iced persimmons to refresh the palate and prepare it for the next dish.

For the main dish I used an excellent Korean beef- a Hanwoo beef tenderloin. I marinated it with extra virgin olive oil and black tea leaves, served with a sauce made with Omija, which gave it a sweet, sour and nice fruity flavor. With pumpkin gnocchi and Korean Chosun squash on the side, it was a good, simple structured dish.

My favourite was the final dessert. We made a chestnut cake with a very thin crust of chocolate, combined with fresh figs from Korea. It was fantastic with an ice cream made with makkeoli- a very typical Korean liquor made with rice. The ice cream was lightly dusted with a barley tea powder- also a Korean product from Ha Dong, which was a great combination that went very well with the wine.