June 23, 2015 08:23
It has been 20 years since chef Choi Hyun-seok started cooking professionally. He has since become one of the best known celebrity chefs in Korea.
Choi started working as a cook in an Italian restaurant in Hannam-dong, Seoul, in 1995, and created over 1,000 recipes since then. Now, he is the head chef of three branches of a restaurant which fuses Western and Korean cuisines and two branches of a trendy dining restaurant.
Choi never liked following the crowd, and his personality guided him to become creative in his cooking. Under his magical hands, humble ingredients transform into a plate of food seen in a fine dining restaurant.
He became famous for his flamboyant gestures during TV appearances, including dropping salt from above his head and wearing an apron in a stylish way.
"I remembered that the things I did to have a laugh with fellow chefs made them happy. But in reality, during the working hours in the kitchen, I'm a very strict chef. If something goes wrong in the kitchen, it could make customers ill," Choi said.
The chef’s customer base has greatly diversified recently, with people from around the world coming to taste his food. When asked if he feels like celebrity chef, he said "I'm just very thankful. I try to think that they are coming to eat my food, not to see me."
Choi grew up in a family of chefs. His father was a head chef at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, and his mother was a chef in a Korean restaurant. His older brother is also a chef who runs his own Italian restaurant. But his biggest influence was his mother. "We weren't that well off when I was young, but my mother made a lot of different dishes with just one ingredient. That helped me develop a keen nose and palate," he said.
His biggest dream is to open a restaurant with his name on it in major cities across the world.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com