“Over time, I began to eat in a much simpler, more frugal way”

“Cooking has always had a place in my life, but not necessarily the right one. I was born in Seoul and during my childhood my mother, who was very busy, did not cook much. She was very suspicious of industrial foods, additives, chemicals and had completely eliminated them from her daily life. Suddenly, his dishes were tasteless, not good for our childhood palates. I am thinking in particular of glutamate, a substance abundantly used in Asian cuisine to reinforce the taste of food and which, thirty years ago, was not controversial at all. When we went to eat with friends or at a restaurant, it was a party, we feasted, while at home, it was ultra-dietetic, not generous, without salt, without taste, almost monastic. There was this seaweed soup that she had served me one day at lunch, when I was 15 or 16 years old. Usually, she would put a little meat or a few shellfish, even a hint of spice. But there, she had prepared it as she liked to eat it, that is to say simply with water, seaweed and a little soy sauce. I didn’t touch it. I really didn’t like my mom’s cooking.

“I’m interested in all the cuisines of the world, but I have gradually returned to Korean cuisine. “

I arrived in France in 1989, to study painting, then a course in design. I was happy to discover local products, French cuisine, I ate things that I liked, cream pasta, salads, sauerkraut when I was short of kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage), and lots of cheeses, even strong ones. I’ve always been very curious and I love to taste everything. I started to organize art exhibitions, and I gradually got into culinary design. At first, it was mainly because we had to feed the guests well. Then I got into it, and I imagined a lot of weird and experimental things to put in people’s mouths: a neon yellow lemonade full of lemon essential oil, potato fries in the shape of gold bars, “jellyfish” appetizers, angel hair and devil hair (vermicelli and seaweed), very fragrant, plastic and colorful things. It was culinary performance, at the far end of my mother’s world.

Read also Seaweed soup (or miyeok-guk): Luna Kyung’s recipe

I continued to do graphic design and visual identity for a living, but I became more and more dedicated to cooking. I launched my blog, “La table de Diogène est ronde” in 2009, out of passion. I am interested in all the cuisines of the world, but I have gradually reconnected with Korean cuisine, my roots and my identity. I return to Korea once every two years or so. The last time was for a report on the cooking of wild plants by Buddhist monks. Over time, I began to eat in a much simpler, more frugal way. I eat as little meat as possible, I avoid processed foods. Finally, I eat more and more like my mother. During confinement, his seaweed soup comforted my soul more than once. Without realizing it, my mother gave me the background, and today I found the shape. “

Easy Korea, My country’s recipes while pictures, by Luna Kyung, 144 p., Mango éditions, € 15. etrangerecuisine.canalblog.com

Read also Pascal Ory: “Cooking is sometimes one of the last things that connect us to life and give it meaning”

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