On October of 26th 2015, the Korea Agro Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation hosted the scholarship's final competition at the CIA’s Greystone campus and selected the most delicious Korean-inspired cuisine that utilized two of Korean traditional ingredients.
Any students who are enrolled at the three campuses of the Culinary Institute of America were eligible to submit a creative Korean menu and enter the contest. As a competition rule, the candidates had to incorporate two authentic Korean ingredients into their cuisine, from the given list of Korean ingredients, from Kimchi, Barley tea, Yuja tea, Bulgogi sauce to Gochujang - a.k.a as the red pepper sauce. The fab five were also given the opportunity to work with a CIA-Certified Master Chef, to aid them to create and better develop the concept and idea on their menu, the recipe and the overall presentation of the completed dish.
The final contestants were judged on not just on their culinary skills but on originality, creativity, as well as how they combined the selected Korean ingredients with what they were capable of producing. And of course, they were judged on the presentation of the dish overall. The celebrity judges included Marja D. Vongerichten of Kimchi Chronicles and Chef Hooni Kim of Michelin-starred Danji and Han Jan based in New York.
The first prize winner of the competition was awarded to Stephen Neumann at CIA Greystone who produced the ‘Yangchigi Pie (a.k.a Pâté Coréen) which can be translated to ‘Shepherd’s pie’ in English. The main ingredients of the menu included Kimchi with added Bulgogi sauce. The second prize went to Elizabeth Aristeguieta from CIA San Antonio. Her dish was titled, ‘Mah-Sit-SSo-Yo Pork’ (indicating ‘It’s delicious, Pork’ when translated into English), this menu consisted of Korean Barley tea, Yuja tea, and Gochujang.
The third prize was given to Eric Garcia from CIA Greystone who created a cuisine called, ‘K-Town Carpaccio’ and Sean Dodds from the CIA Hyde Park took home the fourth prize with his ‘Memphis Seoul Pulled Pork Sliders’ cuisine. And the fifth place went to Jun Heum Park from CLA Hyde Park for his ‘Yuja like Ssam pork.’ The first prize winner of the competition was awarded $7,000, the second winner $4000, the third place $3,000, the fourth place $2,000 and the fifth prize was awarded $1,000.
This Korean Sensation Culinary Contest was a good example of how much interest the people in the United States have for Korean food and Korean-inspired cuisine. In order to please the majority of those who may not be accustomed to Korean food, creativity and the ability to invent new menus using different elements and ingredients should be ‘a must’ for the future of Korean food to venture into the western world of cuisine.
A version of this article by Jc.Chung at TastyKFood. Photo by Benjamin Lee.