Hey folks, this episode won the James Beard award for Television Program, on Location. By that honor alone you know it is good, but unlike the other episodes from The Chef’s Table series, this one features a woman with an amazing and fascinating story.
The Chef’s Table is beautiful and frustrating. Some chefs are jerks but they create. And they create good food which is a small consolation for some of their ingredient choices. There is some virtue for reverence of ingredients but some of the ingredients may have been better off left to live. But regardless of your viewpoint, the show is often very beautiful, entertaining, and inspiring.
No one on the show may be more inspiring than Jeong Kwan from the first episode of season 3. She is not a chef: She is a Buddhist monk in Korea. Kwan is endearing and pure. The tales of her upbringing are very touching. She cooks with no ego and only for the monastery and its visitors. Her creations are visually sublime but unless we get into Eric Ripert’s exclusive dinners in Le Bernardin, two of which have happened, or get to Korea and track down the monastery, we may never know how it tastes. Dreaming of her food is still satisfying and her story gives the dreams flavor.
After her first visit to the U.S., The New York Times T-Magazine published a wonderful story on her.