THE DRESS THAT STARTED IT ALL.
MY FRIENDS TAUGHT ME HOW TO MAKE AMAZING KOREAN FOOD.
WE DO NOT TOLERATE ANY HATE AT ALL AND STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY NOW WITH OUR FRIENDS OF AWESOME ASIAN DECENT.
SPEAK UP, LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER!
When I graduated from Art Center, I walked across the stage, looked out at the people, and saw a circle of Korean grandmothers in linen hanboks, they were stunning together in their traditional dress. I froze in my footsteps, my jaw dropped open- it was the prettiest dress I had ever seen in my life, two months later I was in Seoul.
On my first trip to South Korea, I stayed with my friend Eliza.
She took me EVERYWHERE.
We did EVERYTHING.
We ate practically EVERY FOOD.
We sang pretty much EVERY SONG.
She gave me a Korean experience of a lifetime, and little did I know there would be many more. Thank you, Eliza.
Let me first rewind a bit. When I was twenty I moved to Greece for an internship at a studio called Red Design. From the moment I arrived, I said to myself, “My heart’s Greek”. If you know me, you know why this is so. When I landed in Korea about six years later, it happened again. So I changed it just a little to: “Half my heart’s Greek, the other half is Korean.” Sorry mom and dad. Sorry, Denmark.
After a few more trips, I quit a job in fashion to return to Korea to study Korean at Sogang University. Soon after arriving, I met Julie. She was (and is) a creative force of a human who had just returned home after living in South Africa. She was exactly the person I needed to know. She took me under her wing and she expanded my knowledge far beyond what I had planned on. Thanks, Julie!
Julie showed me all I didn't already know of Seoul and introduced me to her friends. Everything coalesced beautifully. I began throwing dinner parties on the weekends in my tiny apartment. We were wall-to-wall artists and musicians, fashion designers and restauranteurs - all foodies with a lot of soul. I would make copious amounts of bancheon and crazy things like live octopus all squirmy. The floors in my place were warm, it felt so good in the winter. Often we’d have dishes all over the warm floor because there was not enough room for it all on the table. Two words: food heaven.
It's been my friends who've helped me perfect my Korean cooking skills and my love for Pojagi - the language, how to do watercolors well, what a tea ceremony is, how to drink Makali, and so much more. Seoul was it for me, I was one with it.
At one point I set off by bicycle to explore the rural parts. I took a bus north towards the DMZ and rolled down the east coast on pedal power, swimming in the ocean, trying new things, and soaking it all up. I explored all day and slept in hanoks some of the night. I found lotus ponds, rice paddies, gardens to die for, icy cold sushi soups, new friends, old temples, and markets out of this world. I had no idea at the time that I would be doing any of this work today. I had no idea that my own two kids would grow up making kimchi on Sundays and that I’d be making kimchi for my dentist, my neighbors, my friends, and my family. I had no idea I would open a summer school based around a Korea week. And maybe that's where the learning was for me, to let go of what I thought I should be doing, and just do what felt right.
When I came to Maryland I met Youngsun. She became my dearest friend. She was here from her home in Germany and I was here away from "home" as well. She organized a kimchi collective we aptly named Spicy Bitches Kimchi, and monthly we would work together to make a huge batch at our friend Karina's home. Karina would store what we could not take to our little fridges and it was essentially a "Kimchi Bank". It was Youngsun's family recipe that has inspired my own - mine being heavy-handed on the ginger and daikon. Thank you Youngsun for sharing with us all how to make the very best kimchi. I miss you and your family, daily.
I hope you will enjoy this site, it is made with pure love like the food you see on it. It is my goal to help home cooks and artists make yummy dishes with kimchi and more, get inspired to try new things, and visit us at the Hampden Hanok for workshops, tea ceremonies, and private temple meals.
I believe that we are what we eat, I also believe we are what we do. So, join us and feed the soul.
Drop us a line, let us know about the story that brought you here.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Here, my daughter Izzy is deep in her morning work. I left the room to discover this going on - a confident, hilarious, 7-year-old goofball making kimchi.