Kwangsik Jun - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

TENTH ANNUAL - SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 2-25, 2020

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Kwangsik Jun

Bicena - South Korea

After gaining some experience at an Italian restaurant and the Embassy of Germany, Kwangsik Jun teamed with Chef Byoungjin Kim of the 3 Michelin star restaurant ‘Gaon’. Since then, he has been studying Korean cuisine and developing his own style.

Jun became the Sous Chef of ‘Gaon’ in 2014, and became the Executive Chef of the 1 Michelin star restaurant ‘Bicena’ in February 2018. His studies on the traditional dish have led him to present a new, modernized Korean-style cuisine, and to develop the ‘New Classic’ concept of ‘Bicena’.

Although he was born and raised in Seoul, Jun continuously visits different parts of Korea to study and observe local ingredients from diverse perspectives. Based on his studies, he has created a unique Bicena-style Korean cuisine.

During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Korea in February 2019,  Jun was in charge of the summit dinner, which for the first time in history was held outside of the Blue House.



WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
Becoming a chef kind of naturally happened in my life. As my mother was always ill when I was a child, cooking was something that I was in charge of. I learned how to cook from other kind women in my neighborhood. My desire to become a chef became stronger when my daughter was born. Although I was extremely happy that she came into my life, I was heartbroken to have found out she had a rare disease that caused her to gradually lose her sight. One thing I was most confident in doing was cooking for her and that’s when I decided to become a chef. I believe food can not only become medicine for one’s physical health, but also help him or her to feel comforted by experiencing sincerity and devotion delivered through the food created by the chef. And I would like to be the chef who can comfort others through my dishes.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Intermixed, elegant, sensitive.

WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
When the Michelin Guide Seoul 2019 was announced, I was extremely honored that I was able to become a father my daughter was proud of.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
I often cook myself some Korean ramen noodles as I usually get home late and don’t want to wake up my family.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
I often cook myself some Korean ramen noodles as I usually get home late and don’t want to wake up my family.

WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
I haven’t finalized what I will cook at the festival, but I am most likely to use either fish or beef.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO HAWAII BEFORE? WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DURING YOUR VISIT?
I have visited family members in the past. When I visited Hawai’i, I was a bit disappointed to see that Korean food wasn’t very well-represented in a lot of dishes. Street food was mostly what people knew of Korean food at the time. I am excited to feature and show how attractive and unique Korean food actually is at the festival.

IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I think I might have ended up in the field of music or drawing as I enjoy creating things with my hands. I couldn’t even imagine taking private tutoring lessons like any other children when I was little, so I used to grab paper and a pencil and go to a near mountain alone to draw on my own. Now, I draw on plates.