Globalising Korean Cuisine with Edward Kwon

Korea is where food accurately reflects the character of its people.  Within the confines of hierarchical social structures, Koreans are a passionate lot and can be audacious, persuasive and compelling.  Their food is not dissimilar – it is spicy, potent, lingering, bold and incredibly addictive.  

These are the qualities Edward Kwon, Korea’s celebrity chef, strives for in his plight to break common stereotypes of Korean cuisine. In the following interview, Korea’s celebrity chef Edward Kwon tell explains how he has made it his personal mission to globalise Korean cuisine by incorporating traditional Korean spices and ingredients in his creations.  

CNNGo: Tell us about your Korean-accented continental cuisine.

Edmond Kwon: Korean cuisine has a much more complicated flavor profile than soy sauce and kimchi.

We do have unique spices invented in our own motherland, and ingredients; ginseng, crown daisy (chrysanthemum coronarium), wild sesame leaf and more.

Many traditional Korean foods can be made more diverse by using a variety of Western and European techniques. 

In short, it’s a cuisine that uses Korean ingredients and has a flavor profile created with global techniques.

CNNGo: What are the most requested Korean-inflected continental dishes at your restaurants?

Kwon: Chilled sam gye tang, soy-braised short rib, hae mul naeng chae.

CNNGo: What Korean ingredients do you enjoying playing with in the kitchen?

Kwon: I love to play with kimchi. After all, it is Korea’s unique food. There are not many dishes in the world that can singularly represent a country.

CNNGo: What Korean ingredients have a place in international cuisine?

Kwon: Ginseng, chung ryang chili and jujube can be interpreted into many different styles in international cuisine.

CNNGo: You’ve made it your personal goal to globalize Korean cuisine. How do you plan on going about this?

Kwon: A chef who can represent his or her own country is a very innovative and interesting idea to me.

I have been participating in many international culinary events and so far we’ve only got good comments, so I think I have been doing a good job.

CNNGo: Do you carry a set of knives when you travel? If so, how do you get them pass immigration?

Kwon: Of course, a knife is a tool that is a must have for cooks. It’s not difficult for chefs traveling with their own knives these days, all you need is to send an email or ask your airline ahead of time.

CNNGo: What’s the most interesting interaction you’ve had with a celebrity? 

Kwon: When I was working in San Francisco, President George W.Bush told me: “Your food is amazing.”

CNNGo: Since you’re on your feet most of the time, what kind of shoes do you prefer to wear?

 To read CNNgo’s interview with Edward Kwon, please click here .