Michelin-Starred Chef Jiho Kim Leads Culinary Renaissance in NYC's Fine-Dining

ByShako Liu Localish logo
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Michelin-Starred Chef Jiho Kim Leads in NYC's Fine-Dining
Chef Jiho Kim and his contemporaries are not just redefining fine dining; they are ensuring its vibrant evolution, proving that even as some doors close, others open to reveal a rich tapestry of tastes and traditions.

New York City -- Noma, Copenhagen's illustrious fine dining destination led by the eminent Danish chef Ren Redzepi, is set to redefine its role in the culinary world. By the end of 2024, this celebrated restaurant will have closed its regular service and transitioned into a full-time culinary laboratory with occasional pop-up ventures. This pivot sparks discussions in the culinary realm, with some commentators suggesting that the era of fine dining may be waning.

Contrasting the narrative of decline, New York City's fine dining scene is witnessing a vibrant surge of Korean American culinary talents, reshaping what was once a predominantly white-dominated landscape.

The New York Times highlights this emergent cohort of Korean American chefs who are deftly navigating the sophisticated realm of fine dining, injecting new life into this sector at a time when others appear to retreat.

At the forefront of this movement is Chef Jiho Kim and his acclaimed establishment, Joomak Banjum. Drawing inspiration from the Korean tavern, or "Joomak," and the concept of a Chinese tavern, or "Banjum," this Michelin-starred locale is a testament to the harmonious fusion of Korean-Chinese cuisine, refined through French culinary techniques and the vibrant essence of New York.

Chef Kim, with a rich pastry background, is renowned for his innovative approach that marries disparate culinary traditions. He believes that the quintessence of fine dining transcends the plateit encompasses the meticulous preparation of dishes, the cooking process, and the quality of service, all culminating in a comprehensive and satisfying customer experience.

Chef Kim acknowledges the diversity of tastes among diners and emphasizes the importance of achieving a delicate balance in flavors.

"A lot of people have a different palette. Some people like the spices, some people don't. And we need to navigate in between," said Chef Kim, "We want to leave the taste of flavor. But still, like we need to make a little balance."

According to the New York Times, while the city boasts a higher count of upscale Japanese establishments, the influence of Korean cuisine is disproportionately significant. The latest New York edition of a prestigious dining guide awarded stars to nine modern Korean restaurants, a noteworthy achievement, especially when compared to other Asian cuisines currently experiencing their own renaissance in the city.

For Chef Kim, being a Korean American chef signifies being part of a culinary renaissance. He celebrates the influx and transformation of international cuisines in the United States, which subsequently return to their roots with renewed authenticity.

"A lot of cuisine the food is coming to this country and then regenerate and then it's going back to like own authentic cuisine," he said "We never had like a fine dining style meal in KoreaAlso here in America, there's a lot of like ingredients of foods, everything you can get, and that makes a good harmonyAmerica is really a melting pot, which means they have different ideas and different cultures, and they create a new generation of food and bring it back to the original."

While Joomak Banjum is temporarily on break, patrons can anticipate its return later this year. In the meantime, Chef Kim's culinary artistry can be savored at his other venture, DDO BAR, located at 601 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001.