World Chefs: Judy Joo brings Korean flavors to home cooks

Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:08am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Riding the wave of global popularity of Korean cuisine, chef Judy Joo travels around her parents' homeland and adopts kimchi, pickled cabbage, and other local dishes for home cooks on her Cooking Channel TV show "Korean Food Made Simple."

Joo, a former Wall Street bond salesperson, will open her first restaurant, Jinjuu, in London later this year. The two-floor, 100-seat eatery, whose name means pearl in Korean, will showcase Korean and American street food.

It will be a departure from the upscale tasting menus of the Playboy Club London, where she spent nearly three years as executive chef.

The 39-year-old New Jersey native spoke to Reuters about her love of food, her career change and why Koreans have separate refrigerators for kimchi.

Q: What can viewers learn from your show?

A: It’s about me traveling throughout Korea, to the south to the beaches, to the city to eat some street food ... gathering inspirations and taking them back to my home kitchen and cooking recipes that are simple and easy for the home cook.

Q: When did you know you no longer wanted to sell bonds?

A: I just realized I didn’t have a passion for it. All of my free time in the weekends I was really excited to pick up food magazines and figure out what new restaurants opened up, what hot chefs were doing, and keeping up with the pulse of the restaurant world as opposed to the pulse of Wall Street.   Continued...

Korean-American chef Judy Joo is seen in the kitchen of the Playboy Club London in an undated photo provided by The Brooks Group on June 30, 2014.   REUTERS/Playboy Club London/Handout via Reuters