Last week I went to the Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Campus in New York to be one of the judges for their Korean cooking challenge. The student entrants had to create something delicious using Korean ingredients, and I needed to score them based on taste, use of Korean ingredients, creativity, and presentation, along with my fellow judges Mike Pardus and Dean Howie Velie.

Culinary Institute of America, New York

CIA judges

L-R: Howie Velie, me, and Mike Pardus

It was very interesting for me to taste the dishes of the next generation of master chefs and see how they would interpret Korean tastes and textures. I was very honored to be there, and overall I was very impressed with the dishes they came up with. The CIA has actually been teaching Korean and Asian cooking for  years, and Mike has his own YouTube channel where he illustrates many different techniques for his students.

Students cooking

“Ya ya ya! garnish!  hurry up, time runs out!” : )

CIA students

CIA students


“We’re going to use kimchi as a key garnish!”

black garlic

That’s not a hoof, that’s sweet and creamy black garlic!

Challenge entries

5 entries, choose me, please!

pork buns

Do you want some pork buns?

Pork belly

How about braised, scorched pork belly with a sauce made from with doenjang?


A little bit of several delicious things on one plate!


Smooth and soft grits with braised king oyster mushrooms & shrimp

These students were very hardworking and creative. They also have a lot of skill. While there were many delicious dishes for judging, I was really knocked out by the pork belly dish. I’d love to know how the chef made his pork belly so tender and juicy. I really wanted to eat more of it!

Korean food seems to be getting more more popular every day, but there are still a lot of people who’ve never even tried it yet. At the end of the day I asked these future chefs to please include Korean, Korean-inspired, and Korean fusion dishes in their menus, no matter what kind of restaurant they end up working in or running.

CIA students

And I’m sure that if my avid readers happen to go there, they may figure out the Korean influences.

“Umm… this pinkish creamy sauce is made with kimchi juice and sour cream plus cottage cheese?”
“Oh… I taste some doenjang in my chicken…”

Their dishes will be unique and delicious, and I guarantee that as soon as their customers taste it once, they’ll keep coming back for more!

One Comment:

  1. David San Francisco joined 5/12 & has 2 comments

    Sour cream and kimchi are my two favorite things together! They go great in a bulgolgi taco! (Bulgolgi, kimchi, sour cream all wrapped up in a corn tortilla! It’s so good!)

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