Mr. Minseob Shin, Owner Chef of Loup Blanc
Diplôme de Cuisine 2013
What made you learn Cuisine program at Le Cordon Bleu-Sookmyung Academy?
When I was working for a company, cooking was my hobby to overcome the boredom I felt. The more deepened my hobby, my desire to learn and know properly about cooking grew, which is when I met Le Cordon Bleu. I chose Le Cordon Bleu-Sookmyung Academy because I was certain that I would be able to learn authentic western cuisine.
You took the cuisine program while you were working, what were the difficulties or any memorable moments that you can share with us?
When I joined Le Cordon Bleu, I worked at KT in the mobile marketing department. The department, by nature, had frequent business dinners and almost every Friday I had to drink. I remember having to focus hard not to fall asleep during the demo class the next morning. Since most of my weekend class colleagues also worked during the week, I have vivid memories of spending weekends more actively than weekdays.
What do you do now?
Currently, I am running a wine bar named Loup Blanc in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
What kind of space is Loup Blanc to you?
This space is like my wife. It is a place I need to always focus all my affection and attention.
How long (period) did you prepare to open the restaurant? And which were the parts you prioritized?
When I look back, I was very reckless. I was 33 years old at that time, and I thought I wasn’t young enough anymore to work and gain experience somewhere else. So boldly I opened my own restaurant. I think preparation took about one year. Since I didn’t have any practical experience, rather than setting priorities, I stressed the efficiency of the operation. Instead of learning things by experience with time, I thought about things and dove in headfirst. Thanks to that I did suffer a lot from the multiple trials and errors after opening the restaurant. I concentrated on running the business efficiently even with little staff, by applying the methods I learned at the Academy; like minimizing the loss of ingredients, applying various cooking techniques and etc.
You have moved your restaurant to the current location a few years ago. Is there a specific reason?
There were some contract issues with the landlord, but the most important reason was that I wanted to change my way of operating the business compared to the last 7 years. I wanted to leave the Hongdae neighborhood where I was established as a restaurant specializing in French cuisine and transform it into a bistro with a wine-bar concept. I decided to relocate my business because of the limitations in changing the software without the accompanying change in hardware.
Lately, what are you most interested in?
Since I am operating a wine bar, my interest in the wine itself grew compared to before. I am more interested in classical wines than natural wines. French wines like the Bourgogne, the Bordeaux, or Champagne and even others from new regions or of a local variety are my main focus. Along with the wines themselves, I enjoy pairing them with the dishes that I am creating and mastering using French culinary techniques.
You have been running your restaurant for several years, what was the most memorable moment and why?
In the beginning, I was often amazed of seeing celebrities or influencers visiting the restaurant and remembered those moments the most. But after almost 10 years in the kitchen, the memories with regular customers mean a lot more to me. Recently a couple who used to visit the restaurant often in 2015, came to our relocated store in Yongsan. It had been 7 years since I had seen them and this time, they came back as a married couple. It reminded me of the time when they used to come often, and It made me feel that together, while close and yet far, time was passing by us in the same manner. Although It was a brief moment, it made me reflect again on how I should run Loup Blanc.
What are your future goals?
Because of various factors the restaurant industry continues to suffer more and more. Expanding or planning to develop the business is of course important, but for now I would like to make Loup Blanc a place that all visiting customers remember for a long time. Furthermore, I would like to publish a cookbook with the memories of my last 10 years as a chef.
You are also doing many activities for Academy alumni, which activity do you remember the most? And why?
After graduating, wishing the alumni network to become more dynamic, I took many initiatives in alumni activities. Since then, I have met many graduates from Le Cordon Bleu, and I remember that another graduate organized a gathering between alumni for those who were interested in my experience. I remember, in February 2019, the main event for the Alumni Association of Le Cordon Bleu took place. More than 120 graduates gathered back here at the Academy, where people could network with each other.Currently, because of the Covid and other reasons, we have less occasions to meet other graduates. However, I hope that we will have an opportunity to gather between graduates and share our interests.
Would you like to say something for those who are considering to pursue the program?
I think being able to begin something is a great blessing. So I would like you to trust yourself and go for it. Once the program started, I met other students ranging from the very young to those in their sixties. If you have the willingness to start you can always begin.
To you, Le Cordon Bleu is?
A starting line and a beginning. I did graduate from a prestigious university and worked for a big company, but cooking was the first thing I started because I really wanted to. I decided to step forward and carve my own path. Le Cordon Bleu was by my side when I started and was the new starting line in my life and it became the beginning that I created on my own.