Taeyoon Kim is co-owner and head chef at renowned contemporary cuisine restaurant, ITHACA in Seoul. He trained at the Hattori Culinary Institute in Tokyo and is also director of a new eco-friendly meal kit company, Foovement.
Ocean Ambassador Q&A
When and why did sustainable seafood first become important to you?
Using seafood in restaurant and even at home, it became increasingly difficult to find things that used to be abundant over the years. For that reason, I was wondering what kind of seafood could be used sustainably.
Your restaurant, Ithaca in Seoul features a range of cuisines including Korean, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Italian and Greek. Where did this inspiration come from?
I studied cooking in Japan and worked with chefs from many countries in Dubai. And I came across new foods while traveling around the world in my 20’s. Seems to be the result of those experiences.
Your food has been described as pushing boundaries and a surprise on the palate. What’s the most unusual, but delicious, flavour combination you’ve created?
I like to substitute Korean ingredients regardless of cuisine type. For example, pine shoot and milk ice cream, fermented bean paste and vanilla, caramel.
Do you have a favourite kitchen gadget and why?
A stone mortar and pestle. I love that sound and "analogue" sensibility of the crushing and grinding process.
What’s your favourite drink to serve alongside seafood?
Mostly white wine, and sparkling.
What food is your 'guilty pleasure'?
If you could be a marine creature which would you be?
A whale. Whales are a symbol of the freedom many of us are longing for.
Fish or crustaceans?
Fish. Only because there’s more choice than crustaceans.
It's been a long day in the restaurant, what do you prepare for dinner?
My friend bought squid from Ulleungdo. I'm thinking of frying it.
Would your last ever meal be Korean, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Italian, Greek... or something else?
A simple Korean meal made by my mother.