Here is my interview with Dean Daderko and the photo of kimchi that he made.
Not long after I started uploading my recipe videos on YouTube, Dean emailed me.
“Maangchi, we just finished making kimchi 2 o’clock in the morning!…it’s fun but we are exhausted… from Dean, Ginger, and xx”
I thought they were 3 American housewives who wanted to learn how to make kimchi ! : ) Later when I moved to New York, I had a chance to talk to him over the phone and I found out Dean is a famous male artist! I have never met him and his friends but I feel close to them just like my old friends.
He travels abroad often to set up and curate art exhibitions. One day I got email from him from Paris. He said, “I made some kimchi to have here! The best way to start the day- a bowl of rice, some kimchi, and an egg! Good for a hangover too, lol”
When I interviewed him for this fan page, he was in Montreal, Canada. Whenever he travels, one of the first things he looks for is a Korean grocery store to make his own kimchi. The kimchi photo below was made in Montreal. When you read what he has to say about his Korean aunt, you’ll understand how food can influence your palate from a very young age.
1. What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Dean Daderko, and I’m a curator based in Brooklyn, New York, so I organize art exhibitions, performances and other events. Right now though, I’m on a 2-month long residency for curators in Montreal at a contemporary art exhibition space called Fonderie Darling, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
2. What do you do and how many family members do you have?
Besides my parents and my younger sister, I grew up with a large extended family; my grandfather had 14 brothers and sisters who all had families of their own, so it wasn’t strange to have 40 or 50 guests – or more! – at holiday dinners and family gatherings. And everyone got fed – Ukranian treats like pierogi, halupki, and halushki – lots of potatoes, onions and cabbage.
I learned to appreciate kimchi early on. When I was in elementary school, an uncle of mine living in Hawaii married a Korean woman. I was fascinated when Aunt Young put on her rubber gloves to make kimchi, and liked the results, even if I wasn’t used to the spicyness right away. She and my cousin Yong-ki moved back to Korea, so I lost touch with them, and have often thought about how nice it would be to reconnect with them. I still always think of Young when I eat Korean food – she was a great cook!
I’ve also been pickling, fermenting, and cooking with my good friend Ginger for a little while now – she’s like family to me too! We’ve made oisobagi, yeolmu kimchi, ha mul pa jeon – even gingerale!
3. How often do you cook Korean food following my recipes?
Your videos are so clear and really inspiring! I cook things from them regularly – at least once a week, often more. Does it count that I eat kimchi and (my favorite) kaktugi every day? My favorite breakfast is a bowl of brown rice with kimchi, kaktugi, and a fried egg.
4. What are your favorite Korean dishes? Choose 3, please!
My favorite dishes change all the time, so it’s hard to choose just three! I love to cook with seasonal ingredients, so in the winter, I was making haemul sundubu (seafood and soft tofu stew) and hobakjuk, but right now, I’m into making naengmyeon and oijangajji naengguk – better for summer weather. Last night, I got invited to dinner at a new friend’s place, and I made gyungdan. They didn’t come out like I thought they would so I’m making them again today – practice makes perfect, right? Overall though, I would have to say that some Korean dishes that really make me smile are kaktugi, for it’s pickly crunch and spicyness; bok uh gu yi (dried pollock with spicy sauce on a stone), and grilled marinated beef cubes smeared with gochujang wrapped up in shiso leaves from my garden – that last one is something I made up, so I’m not sure if it’s authentic, but it sure tastes good!
5.What’s your best Korean dish, the one that everybody compliments you on when you make it?
I’d have to say that I get compliments for my kimchi and kaktugi, and for my ha mul pa jeon. In the summer, there’s nothing nicer after a day at the beach than relaxing with friends over a beer and seafood pancakes!