Seoyoung and Claire. Two cooks working at Eleven Madison Park met through the fortunate joint endeavors of garde manger prep. During the hours spent scraping tuna and pickling radishes, we decided it would be rather grand to teach our fellow New Yorkers about the best food we could find. The best food that wasn’t found in three or four start restaurants and food that wasn’t ranked by New York Magazine or the New York Times. Food that we found fine, but not with the fine dining price tag. We search out the plumpest dumplings, the noodle houses with the perfectly hand-pulled soup noodles, and the juiciest pork belly known to man. We will show you things that you want to know, things you may already know, and even things that you didn’t even know you wanted to know. Stick with us and we promise to show your mouth a good time!
Claire’s savories–Most people enjoy food. I happen to live for food. There are the few that don’t, but let’s not touch on that sensitive subject. I have many memories from my childhood…and they all revolve around food. Just recently someone gave me the task of recalling my earliest memory. It didn’t take long to pull up the one of me, teething, and my pops, rubbing cognac on my gums. To this day, when a hint of that precious liqueur wafts past my nose, or perchance dribbles down my throat, I immediately think of teething. If I ever have children however, I will opt for gin…
At Thanksgiving dinner this year, my brother Sam smirked as he pulled from his lap my very first diary. I quickly racked my brains trying to think what sordid details he could possibly pull from the faded pencil scratchings. Wait. I was only five when I wrote that! No worries. He opened the Little Mermaid journal and read in a giggle “dear diary, today was grocery shopping day. i ate a delicious raspberry donut. and some of julia’s cheese danish too!” Everyone laughed as he continued to read entry after entry. Entries which only listed what I ate that day and which foods I enjoyed most. Turns out I began my food writing at a young age and didn’t even remember it!
After four years of college, which mainly consisted of dinner parties, picnics and dining out (and by that I mean many many mornings at the local taqueria eating breakfast burritos), I left for Asia to figure out what the hell I was meant to do with my life. I had spent one year in Europe and completely fell in love with living abroad. Asia seemed a bit more wild. There must be some lessons to be learned over there! I basically ate my way through India, fascinated with the differences in food and custom, religion and tradition, between North and South, Buddhist and Hindus, Sikhs and Pakistanis. There was so much to absorb and food seemed like the conduit to experience it all. I learned so much by sitting in local cafes, drinking tea in the streets, and being invited into peoples’ houses to have a home cooked meal. Food was more than food. It was a connection. And the food was damn good…
After a year of traveling through much of Asia, it finally dawned on me that food was what drove me to explore these cultures. Everything was new: ingredients, cooking technique, and even how to eat. It took me a while before I felt comfortable eating with my hands. Now I adore getting dirty at the table!
I came home and moved to New York–the land of never-ending food options. And here I am, after 2 years, still loving every single eating experience, good and bad, that I have. And I want to share a few of them with you!
Yes. I’m a foodie. I do not only love eating but love cooking and feeding people.
I spent a year in England during my college years doing voluntary work. My job was taking care of disabled people; my client was around 60 years old–a former professor who suffered from Parkinson disease. His wife, also a former professor, believed she could only go to ‘Marks and Spencer’ for her grocery shopping. We used to go grocery shopping once a week and she would end up spending a few hundreds pounds and come home with practically nothing! After exploring the neighborhood, I found a local farmers’ market and started buying very fresh giant melons, beautiful green zucchini and lots of other vegetables at 1/5 of the price that she used to spend at Marks and Spencer. The belief that she would get sick and die if she didn’t buy her food at the posh place didn’t last long; she started loving the products that I brought home from the farmers’ market every Wednesday. Our family dinners turned into dinner parties with the abundance of food we now had in the house…
Once I got back to Korea, and got an office job, I couldn’t stop thinking about cooking and feeding people. I twisted my body 12 million times in my rock hard chair, trying to figure out my direction in life. Finally after 5 years of relentless self-questioning I decided to go to culinary school to start a brand new life.
Now I am in New York City, living and working, where the eating story never ends, and the food exploits with my fate-entwined friend Claire continue! I do hope you’ll enjoy the voyage that you will be a part of when you join us on our quest for yummy and cheap eats.