By Amanda Kim
The Global ‘Taste of Korea’ Contest: New York Preliminaries was held at the International Culinary Center on July 18th 2015 at 1pm. 11 contestants were featured and was ready to cook up their own rendition of Korean food to present to our judges.
This year, the theme of the contest was to utilize 3 of the key main Korean condiments, gochujang (red chili paste), doenjang (soybean paste), and ganjang (soy sauce). Choosing at least 1 of these condiments, the contestants must cook a dish that infuses their cultural background in Korean cooking. Sempio sponsored this year’s condiments and had a presentation of other Korean food items to promote their brand so that the guests can also buy at their local Korean markets.
With that in mind, 11 contestants had an hour to cook their dishes and later present their dishes to the judges. This year, our judges consist of, Chef Jeffrey Moon, a lead instructor at the International Culinary Center and food consultant in many renown restaurants, Chef Hooni Kim, owner of 2 Korean restaurants, “Danji” and “Hanjan”, Maangchi, YouTube cooking star, and Christina Chaey, a food editor/writer at “bon appetite”. The judges were very impressed with all the contestants’ dishes and claimed that “the combination of different ingredients worked well with each other”.
Many people, families of contestants and guests joined us to cheer on the contestants as they gave their absolute performance. Although it was a tough decision, the judges finally chose the winners. 1st place winner was Ms. Marjorie Silva who cooked a Bulgogi Patacon. She used plantains to cook a delicious dish with bulgogi (Korean bbq beef). Our 2nd place winner, Mr. Gilberto Irineo cooked a spicy grilled chicken and presented it in bite sized pieces with rice and lettuce. Finally our 3rd place winner, Mr. Fadzio Bouda, cooked a Korean ratatouille utilizing all kinds of different vegetables and adding his own French touch to it. Amongst the contestants, there were all kinds of menus such as a Korean Mexican taco, and Korean Hot Adobo. It was fascinating to see all kinds of creative ideas these contestants came up with and cooked in such short time.
Ms. Marjorie Silva has earned herself a 10 day trip to Korea to compete in the semi-final and final stage of the Global ‘Taste of Korea’ Contest. In Korea, she will be able to experience the Korean culture and also learn to cook from the best chefs in Korea.
Towards the end of the competition, guests and fellow contestants were able to enjoy a reception with Korean food, and also received a small gift sponsored by Sempio of a bottle of Korean sauce and of course Kimchi. Overall, the competition and event ended on a good note as we celebrated not only the winners but all the contestants who participated at our competition.