February 15, 2016 10:11
A restaurant in Lyon has become the first Korean-run establishment in France to be awarded a prestigious Michelin star.
Le Passe-Temps, run by 32-year-old Lee Young-hoon, is included in the 2016 edition of the Michelin Guide for France, which was published on Feb. 5. It is one of 42 one-star restaurants newly added to the coveted list.
The guide praised Lee's Korean-inflected French dishes, including his signature foie gras and vegetables in soy sauce broth.
Lee said, "After studying culinary arts at a university in Korea, I worked in a French restaurant in Seoul for a while. I wanted to learn real French cuisine systematically, so I moved to France and went to the Institut Paul Bocuse, a culinary arts school in Lyon. After graduating, I wanted my food to be recognized by French people, so I opened my own restaurant in 2014."
Lee said that while he does not set out to combine French and Korean cuisines in his cooking, his Korean origins naturally influence his dishes.
Le Passe-Temps is a small restaurant with 26 seats. Lee and his team of three to four chefs run the kitchen, while his sommelier wife Lim So-young, 33, and three to four other staff welcome the diners. The team is made up entirely of Koreans.
The Michelin Guide for France is published in February each year. Among the 600 entries from across France this year are 26 three-star restaurants, including two new entries; 82 two-star (10 new entries) and 492 one-star (42 new entries).
Le Passe-Temps is one of five restaurants run by Korean chefs worldwide to have earned a Michelin star. The other four are San Francisco's Benu (three stars); Tokyo's Yunke and New York's Jungsik (two stars); and New York's Danji (one star).
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