Glamourous Korean American restaurateur and chef Judy Joo labored in the finance market prior to turning to food soon after graduating from the French Culinary Institute. Moving to London, she labored in various top rated kitchens in the British capital, then opened her very first Korean cafe in 2015. She’s appeared on Television demonstrates these kinds of as Korean Meals Built Basic and Iron Chef Uk, and not too long ago established up a new London undertaking, Seoul Bird.


You are typically traveling amongst the US, British isles and Asia. What do you skip about lifetime on the road?

I skip exploring new cultures and eating all that astounding food items! I love road food and studying about a country by means of the lens of food items and the persons who prepare dinner it. When you choose a bite of something, you are tasting a piece of that country’s history and tradition.


What are your favourite areas to dine all around the entire world?

I appreciate consuming in Seoul and Busan, of course, as Korean cuisine is my top consolation foods. Anything from significant-conclude Michelin- star meals, like at Gaon and Bicena, to the down-and-dirty avenue offerings, these types of as tteokbokki and hotteok – it’s all so enticing and interesting. The meals scene in Hong Kong is also bustling and vivid. I adore what May Chow is undertaking, and some of the Japanese eating places are as excellent as in Tokyo.

I also have a major love affair with Italy, but who doesn’t? I normally go to the Amalfi coastline each summertime and indulge in nearby specialities and freshly grilled seafood just kissed with local olive oil and lemons. It is heavenly, no fuss and exceedingly contemporary. San Sebastian is also a person of my favourite food towns. I really like just strolling around and nipping into pintxo bars for some small bites and txakoli. And you simply cannot miss some of the finest high-quality dining there, either – Arzak is divine and never disappoints.

I adore New York, as well, and still feel it is one particular of the food stuff capitals of the earth. I certainly enjoy For every Se – thoroughly foods-gasmic. You can consume on the low cost pretty very well in New York too, and I really like exploring the ethnic enclaves to seek out the most effective tamales, pão de queijo, gua bao, samosas and a lot more!

Judy Joo Korean Chef &#13
Judy Joo ressed in her favored casual-tasteful fashion


How did your upbringing have an impact on your attitudes to life and entrepreneurship?

In Korea, food is served in all ceremonies, from weddings to funerals and it’s even affiliated with sacred spiritual rituals. My family members is no distinctive and foods was normally a language of like. Even if I was just sad in excess of a little something, my mom would consider to feed me to make me experience improved. Foodstuff is regarded as drugs in East Asian cultures and nourishes the system, soul and brain. I have so lots of superb memories from my childhood: each day soon after school, my mom would serve me a relaxing rice porridge called juk (congee) that has a 3,000-12 months heritage in Asia.


What is associated in the artwork of internet hosting a excellent dinner?

My top rated suggestion for impressing men and women at dinner parties is to use a single unusual ingredient to jazz up a acquainted dish. Even if it is just introducing a dash of soy sauce to your burger mix or sprinkling a bit of za’atar on your pizza – these very little global twists incorporate really serious flavour and make the ordinary certainly exciting. For instance, I like to use yuzu rather of lemon when creating English posset. The fragrance transforms this humble dessert into a little something rather tasteful.


What do your working day-to-day get the job done outfits look like? Are you normally in chefs’ whites and, if so, how you do like to gown outdoors of the kitchen?

Considering the fact that I’m primarily centered on my speedy-everyday thought, Seoul Chook, I’m not in chef whites considerably these times except I’m accomplishing events or demos. Throughout Covid times I have been super everyday and packed on a handful of lbs, so it seriously has been activewear for me most of the time recently as I simply cannot healthy into most of my wardrobe! Ha! But I’m mainly a jeans and neat best, with a stylish jacket draped on prime type of lady. I’ll slip on some good classy heels and jewellery to gown factors up, and a statement handbag.

American Korean chef Judy Joo&#13
A normal unfold at her London restaurant, Seoul Chook


How did your earlier experiences, this sort of as doing work for Gordon Ramsay and at the Playboy Club, advise how you run your dining places and kitchens?

I had the satisfaction of working with – and discovering from – Chantelle Nicholson of Tredwells in London early on in my job. I put in time in her kitchen area, back when she was nevertheless on the pass, and viewing her command a brigade of surly men with finesse was awe-inspiring. She walked that high-quality line of being robust and forceful, devoid of compromising her femininity and grace. She was plainly in demand and a a bit feared but revered pressure in the kitchen area nevertheless her classy, delicate, refined and unbridled creative imagination however shone by way of her foods and plating. The way she is effective has undoubtedly motivated how I operate my dining establishments, about which I only have a few guidelines: no harassment, no discrimination and respect every person.


Which routines hold you grounded?

I do a lot of pilates and common health and fitness, and I concentration on wellbeing. I appreciate tennis and test to get on court docket at the very least as soon as a 7 days. I also make sure that I slumber a good deal – it’s so crucial and the 3rd pillar of overall health. I also try as considerably as I can to meditate and just zone out a little bit, which is very good when I go for a run. I also find the act of baking bread exceptionally therapeutic – there’s just some thing about kneading dough that I obtain healing and relaxing.


Who are your design icons?

Amal Clooney, Robin Wright and Cate Blanchett


You are a active female. What’s often in your bag?

I carry close to way too several points. My laptop computer and chargers. I’m recognised to established up a mini business office in taxis and Ubers! I have a make-up bag that has my UV Mist cushion, blush and bronzer, lip glosses and mini make-up brushes, and I normally have a tube of Elizabeth Arden eight-hour product. I’m in a terrible temper if I ignore it. I’m entirely addicted – I have dry lips and it is the ideal for glow and moisturising. I also have luxurious hand product – as I prepare dinner a ton, I need a fantastic lotion to maintenance the injury I have finished. I have a h2o bottle generally crammed and mixed with some sort of collagen powder or strength- boosting elixir. A vitamin pill box with my nutritional supplements – beauty begins from within! Facial area masks, hand sanitiser, a snack bar or nuts and a pair of flats, if I have to wear heels. I walk almost everywhere, so I have to have comfortable shoes. Sunglasses, eyeglasses, hairclip and, of program, my cellphone and earpods. And a nice pen and bespoke notebook – I like to layout my possess covers. Appropriate now, the include of the 1 I’m working with now suggests “Judy Joo’s Profound Musings” and it has a background of strawberries and lily bouquets.


Where do you uncover most inspiration for your recipes and cafe concepts?

I get the most inspiration from my travels. I have to get on the road yet again!