Chef Sungchul Shim wants to show the world how diverse and delicious Korean food can be.
Shim knew he was destined to become a chef while in high school in Korea, and after graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in 2006 he worked in some of this country’s best restaurants, including Le Bernardin and Per Se in New York. Now the executive chef of Neta in the West Village, Shim fuses the tastes of his upbringing, the fresh, classic ingredients of sushi, and his masterful French technique to give guests a dining experience the likes of which they have probably never had before.
Chef Shim partnered with the Korean Food Foundation at the Grand Tasting event on Saturday and Sunday of the New York City Food & Wine Festival. There he served succulent pork belly that had been braised for six hours with fried lotus root chip, pickled greens, and a very complex ssamjang sauce. He incorporated his classic French training by sweating the onions and garlic for two hours before adding them to the sauce, which further deepened the flavors of the dish.
“Many Korean chefs like to use French technique to make a pretty plate,” said Shim, “but it has to taste good, too.” When asked to identify his favorite part of the Grand Tasting, the chef replied, “I like the opportunity it gives me show the depth and adaptability of Korean cuisine.”