“Frankly, I expected two stars. That’s how confident I am about the taste of my dishes” says Yim Jung-Sik, newly Michelin starred chef at New York restaurant Jungsik.
Jungsik is one of only two Korean restaurants in the USA to be honoured by the Michelin Guide 2013. Jungsik opened in New York in September 2012, following a successful launch of the Korean branch in 2009.
Chef Jung-Sik feels strongly about bringing traditional Korean cuisine out of Korea and onto the culinary world stage. He believes that taste transcends nationality, arguing “I think foods that Koreans find delicious are also delicious to Americans."
The success of Jungsik certainly seems to have proved him right. Americans are taking to Korean food animatedly, with popular dishes including bossam (crispy pork belly with rice), beef steak with kimchi sauce, kalguksu (noodle soup) and sujebi (hand-torn noodle soup).
Yim trained at The Culinary Institute of America and worked in several European restaurants before opening his first restaurant in 2009.
Despite his now effervescent confidence, Yim was not always so convinced that America would take to Korean food. He admits “I was afraid of trying something new, but I gained confidence after getting a lot of positive feedback from customers”.
The only other Korean restaurant to have been awarded a Michelin star is New York’s Danji, headed up by chef Hooni Kim.