Is there anything Judy Joo can’t do? An amazing chef who has worked for Saveur magazine’s test kitchen and the Gordon Ramsay restaurant empire, who has served as a chef, judge, and competitor on the Iron Chef series, and who hosts her own show Korean Food Made Simple on Cooking Channel, is now writing a cookbook. Korean Food Made Simple the cookbook (due out next year) will be a collection of 125 recipes that make cooking Korean food accessible to an American home cook — recipes like burgers infused with Korean BBQ marinade and chef Judy’s popular Korean fried chicken. In Judy’s own words, the book is “different from other Korean cookbooks because it makes Korean food approachable. It’s about the globalization of Korean food.”
I had the pleasure of talking to chef Judy about her highly-anticipated cookbook.
Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind this collection of recipes?
The inspiration actually comes from many different areas. A lot of it is from my mom, my life, my views, things I’ve grown up with, and my travels back and forth to Korea; last year I went to Korea four times. Lots of the dishes in the cookbook are what I consider fusion; they’re inspired by Korean ingredients and flavors but use more of a French technique, especially on the dessert side. I’m using all of my knowledge of what works to make Korean food accessible to an American home cook.
Why is Korean food challenging for an American home cook and how do your recipes address those challenges?
My whole philosophy is that it doesn’t have to be 100 percent authentic; it just has to be 100 percent delicious. The hardest thing is usually grocery shopping; it can be daunting, especially if you have to go to a specialty market or can’t find the right ingredients. I encourage substitutions that make sense. If you can’t find a certain hot sauce, sub another one, if you can’t’ find thinly sliced meat, freeze a thicker cut and slice it yourself. It’s all about substituting.
Do you have a favorite recipe from the cookbook?
I have two favorites, my crazy Korean burger (which is the most universally loved among the television crew on the set of my show) and made with a great quality ground beef, Korean BBQ marinade mixed into the patty, gochujang ketchup, and cucumber kimchi for pickles, and my stew; I make a really great vegetable and tofu stew.
For more information on chef Judy Joo or her cookbook which is due out next year, visit her website.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.