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Master Chef, Leo Kang

2013/06/02 | 5239 views | Permalink | Source

If you ever have lived in Britain, you must have heard about the popular TV program, 'Master Chef'. The Korean version of the program called 'Master Chef Korea Season II' is also a smash hit in Korea.

Do you remember Leo Kang? Leo Kang is a star chef in Korea famous for his cooking skills recognized by the world. He became a star overnight as one of the presenters of Master Chef Korea. His professional competence in the TV show was not something built in a day. Let me tell you his special story.

Name: Leo Kang
Birthday: June 8 1976
Restaurant: Hwa Su Mok
Position: Owner Chef
Other: Korean Aikido Federation Councilman
Website: http://www.kangleo.com

Dreamed to become a chef

Leo Kang was born to farmer parents and he often saw them preparing a bountiful supply of food. He began his cooking career by entering a cooking school and he soon obtained a chef license. He was a very hard-working student and he honed his skills until he could trim a chicken with 16~17 seconds.

Bound to fly to London
Leo Kang flew to London with only 6,000,000KRW (approximately US$5,300) in his hands. His financial difficulties made him to have 2 jobs a day. Leo Kang worked at a sandwich store around lunch time and then a French restaurant in the afternoon. It was not an easy life but it offered him a great opportunity to meet a legendary chef, Pierre Koffmann.

A friend of Leo Kang once asked him, "Leo, why you work in London?" He replied, "I came to this city to be the best chef". The friend shouted out and said, "In that case, I will introduce someone to you".

This is how Leo Kang met Pierre Koffmann.

Met a Legendary Chef
Pierre Koffmann is an owner chef of three 3-star Michelin restaurants and has never lost the stars until now. Leo Kang started working at one of his restaurants with burning ambition but was fired just after three days in Koffmann's kitchen.

"Koreans are not sensitive to tastes. They are rather used to eating spicy and salty food. You are fired!"
However, Leo Kang continued to work there unpaid for three months. Then eventually, Koffmann gave Kang's first wage which meant he became the legendary chef's apprentice.

"I Will Show You My Strength"
Leo Kang has put an extra effort to catch up other appretices. He came to work two hours before the others and went home two hours after the others. His effort eventually proved that he could cook any kind of dish and finally, he became a sous-chef(a direct assistant of the Chef) at Gordon Ramsey.

Ambassador of Korean Food
He learned how to cook Korean food at the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine and decided to promote his own style of cooking Korean dishes. He led the first "Bibigo" (fusion style Korean food restaurants owned by CJ) restaurants in the UK in 2012 as a master chef. "Bibigo" restaurants were very successful that he could let Korean foods be recognized by people in the UK. Nowadays, even many Westerners recognize him as a star chef and the judge of the previously mentioned program "Master Chef Korea".

"I would like to continue cooking with these clothes on me. I do not want to rush for anything because cooking is the only thing I will do for the rest of my life. Find something you are good at and you would like to do all your life. Then, you will realize one day that there is no need to be anxious for success. It is there when you enjoy what you do".   - Leo Kang

['Hwa Soo Mok by Kang Leo' in Itaewon]

Address: 260-19, Itaewon 2-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea

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