TAE HWAN RYU
1 What is art to you?
The element of inspiration.
2 What are your inspirations?
As a young child, I have vivid memories of visiting traditional markets with my mother and grandmother. I can clearly remember the tastes and smells from that time.
3 If you could describe yourself with a plate of food, what would it be?
I don’t think I can describe my character with a plate of food. Salt, pepper, fresh fish … I think I’m best described as a composite of elements.
4 What do you love most about the sea?
The water. I love the feel and character of the water.
5 How has your childhood influenced your cooking?
I incorporate several dishes with ocean and sea themes into my tasting menus. Under the Sea was a very popular dish last year, designed to emulate memories of my childhood by the ocean. I change my menu seasonally and my understanding of seafood helps me to do this.
6 What are the most interesting flavours you’ve come across?
Seafood flavours never fail to capture my interest, especially in Japan. I love the flavours of Japanese fresh fish, sushi, and tempura, largely because of their long history of skilled craftsmanship.
7 If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
An academic, I think. I would have become an artist and an academic.
8 If you were to open a restaurant anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Shanghai…
9 Thoughts on Korean fine-dining?
High-end Korean food is scarce and what does exist is often overrated. This is because it has not yet really had a chance to expand properly outside Korea. Once this starts, food quality will improve.
10 What do you like to eat after a service?
A Korean-style lunchbox from the local market.