My Journey to Korean Food

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Blog, Culinary Anthropology, Events | 0 comments

From an American Italian Household and through the French Culinary School

Something about Korean food and cooking is that it is very communal. Sometimes, it takes the form of families, neighbors, and communities making kimchi, a group gathering around a boiling bowl of kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), or friends enjoying grilled pork belly (samgyeopsal) and soju. My hope for the Kimchi Harvest cooking demo is to gather together, eat, learn, and laugh. Hopefully, we will also demystify some parts of Korean cooking and come to appreciate how wonderful this food is.

My parents adopted me from Seoul, Korea, at three months old. I was raised in New Jersey, where I was brought up in an American Italian household. Marinara, baked ziti, and pasta e fagioli were my comfort foods. Eventually, I made my way to learn the French method at the culinary school in New York. There, my life was filled with butter, bechamel, and baguettes. Making my way through the culinary world, I never actually learned any Korean cooking until later in life. I never had an umma (mom in Korean) to teach me how to make the food of my ancestors. I arrived in this country with my Korean name, clothes, and a picture of the woman who brought me over on the plane.

This last year, I returned to Seoul 37 years later and found myself learning so much. Now, I continue to learn on my own. Korean food is vibrant, playful, and intense. This food is a peek into the history of Korea through its many struggles and eventual rise. As an enthusiast in culinary anthropology, I’m learning so much about this country by learning about its food. I hope to share some of that with you.

I truly invite people to come and cook with me, to learn while I’m learning, be part of my journey,  and be part of a Korean communal meal. Learn more about the event and sign up on our event page.

Written by David Salerno

Originally from the Northeast, David (he/him) has been in Seattle since 2016. He studied classic culinary arts at the French Culinary Institute in NYC and currently works as the Senior Meal Program Coordinator at HIP. He can completely nerd out over culinary anthropology and can talk about food and food science for hours with anyone who is willing to listen. When not in the kitchen, you can find him playing hockey or running in different neighborhoods of Seattle.

March 29, 2024

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