How interesting can lunch be when two great chefs from totally divergent gastronomic cultures swap ingredients, collaborate together and represent their individuality and traditions with the dishes they created?
The game of flavors between Korea and Italy took shape in the hands of Chefs Kwon Woo-Joong (2 Michelin stars) and Riccardo Di Giacinto (1 Michelin star) in Ristorante MadeITerraneo in Rome.
“The goal is not to promote our culture but also to create a harmony between two different cultures,” declares Soomyoung Lee, Director of the Korean Cultural Institute. The culinary meeting between the two great chefs representing Korean and Italian cuisines happened on the 29th of November as part of the week-long celebration of Korea Week 2018 in Rome, Italy.
On its third edition, the Korea Week 2018 is an event filled with performances, exhibitions and lessons that are open to the public organized by the Korean Cultural Institute, as a dedication to the promotion of the Korean culture to Italy. Like in last year’s festivities, the four-hands dinner was also between two great chefs representing both countries, Sohyi Kim and Cristina Bowerman at Romeo Chef & Baker in Rome.
The four hands lunch was a neoteric way of commingling the two cultures, Korean and Italian, in the kitchen.
It was to create a link between the two by exchanging ingredients, techniques and methods of cooking, which was a constructive game of reciprocity of flavors and knowledge.
The menu, created by both chefs used some distinctive raw materials from Korea and Italy like the Myeongji beans from Gapyeong and the celebrated white truffles of Alba. The game continued with the pairing of the wines – the Korean dishes were accompanied by Italian wines whereas the Italian dishes were paired with Korean liquors and cocktails concocted for the occasion by Master Barman Sangyeop Yoon.
Yori Nori Menu
Moomandu (Ravioli with tofu and Italian beef in turnip pastry with cold pine nut broth)
Riassunto di Carbonara (Summary of carbonara with sesame oil)
Konggooksu with Truffle (Spaghettini in cold broth of ground beans with white truffles of Alba)
Braised Fassona Beef with Korean Ginseng and Ginger (Overcooked Piedmontese Fassona beef aromatized with Korean ginseng and ginger)
Tiramisù with Gamgyul Powder (Tiramisù with cream of mascarpone, sponge cake and mandarin powder)
Basil Shikhye and Jatgoori (Sweet rice-based beverage with basil sorbet accompanied with sticky rice cake with dried fruits)
“Italy and Korea share the pride of a tradition in the kitchen that has been handed down over time. In the three years of my life in Italy, I noticed that the Italian cuisine tends to enhance the original flavors of the ingredients used and gives priority to the health aspect of the prepared dishes. The same thing is true for the Korean cuisine. In addition to this, the two countries also share the culture of fermentation. In Korea, fermented products are used as basic ingredients in the kitchen while in Italy the fermented product can be consumed immediately, even by itself. Although geographically, they are two distant countries, I hope that with this event, both countries can become much closer,“ points out Soomyoung Lee.
Riccardo Di Giacinto is the Chef Patron of Ristorante MadeITerraneo, the venue of the four hands lunch. He is also the Chef Patron of Ristorante All’Oro that has a Michelin star and Madre, which are all located in the capital. He is a member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe (JRE) since 2011.
Kwon Woo-Joong is the Chef Patron of Kwon Sook Soo Restaurant in Seoul, South Korea that has been awarded by two Michelin stars. Kwon Sook Soo is one of the top 1000 restaurants recommended by La Liste in the years 2017 and 2018.