Operation and consulting of catering targeted for VIPs of a French luxury brand
Publication of the bestsellers "Everybody's Olive," "A Tasty Salad starts from the Dressing."
Online Cooking Class on NAVER TV achieved the highest number of views on the platform
Currently running a cooking studio called Lena’s Table in Seoul and Jeju Island. Applied the know-hows learned from years of experience working as an HRD manager in a large company to cooking, sharing tasty and healthy recipes through classes and books.
Recently provided consulting and operated a private catering service for a global luxury brand. Through this experience, I thought about merging cooking with various cultural contents and am working on expanding my activities as a next-generation research chef.
Le Cordon Bleu was a turning point for me that led me to become a culinary content creator rather than a cooking content consumer.
What made you want to study in this field?
Before cooking, I worked in a company for seven years. Cooking is what cheered me up every time I felt tired and down. Going grocery shopping, preparing ingredients, and cooking for family and friends feel like preparing a gift, and I still get butterflies in my stomach each time. Of course, I was afraid of entering a new field at first, but after consideration, I decided to join Le Cordon Bleu and made my first step towards a culinary career.
What is your favorite memory from your adventure at Le Cordon Bleu?
My favorite moment at Le Cordon Bleu was when we did “Mise en Place” with my fellow classmates. “Mise en Place" is French means to put in place and refers to the act of preparing ingredients and putting cooking utensils in their place. At Le Cordon Bleu, we are given time to prepare ingredients after being shown a demonstration by the Chef. I am very fond of moments when we sometimes didn't understand the demonstration; we would spend time discussing the mise en place and preparing complex ingredients together.
The challenge of entering a new field in my 30s was, at times, difficult both mentally and physically. "Am I a talented cook?", "Was it a mistake to quit my stable company job?" I always had these kinds of thoughts in my mind. However, there were other classmates who were going through a career change like me, and this camaraderie helped me overcome this challenge. Together, we tried harder, practiced harder, and studied harder, and these memories of growing together are what I remember the most.
What is your career path and what is your greatest achievement?
Since the second half of last year, I provided consulting for a catering service for a French luxury brand. In accordance with the brand's concept of the season, I found appropriate 1- and 2-star Michelin restaurants, coordinated the menu, employed cooks and servers to provide food and beverage catering to VIP guests. At times, I worked as a communicator between Michelin chefs and brands, a chef who designs parts of a menu, or a stylist decorating the tables. Thus, I am experiencing cooking as a composite art formed by performing various roles.
What advice would you give to future cuisine students and why?
I hope that you will learn "basics" properly more than you do "trends." When you begin learning, it is easy to end up chasing trends, wanting to learn trendy menus and recipes that can be applied right away. However, by chasing such recipes, you cannot make creative recipes of your own.
I often have to develop menus when providing catering services to brands. Each time, I look back to school notes to go over traditional recipes by region. I look at why such recipes became to be in that region, look into the combination of ingredients and try out variants. I believe there is a difference in bringing changes while knowing the roots of a recipe compared to bringing changes to an already modified one.
Additionally, I hope you learn how to properly handle ingredients such as meat, fish, spices, etc. Even if you develop a tasty steak sauce, if you cannot sear and rest a well-chosen protein, you cannot make a delicious dish. In that aspect, I believe that Le Cordon Bleu is the best place to learn those basics.
What are your plans for the future?
Working with various restaurants with Michelin guide stars, I realized that good cuisine isn't only about 'taste'. While 'taste' is at the center of it all, fine cuisine is only whole when 'beauty,' 'agreeable environment' and 'new experience' are also present. Thus, a personal dream and goal are to plan and run a project that expands the diversity of the culinary experience. As part of this project, I plan to cooperate with artworks in the near future. I hope that more people can escape the mundane through good cuisine and enjoy the new experience. And with the cumulation of such experiences, I hope to contribute, even slightly, to make their lives richer.
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