Korean Chef Hong Seng Hee and Egyptian professional Chefs pose for a picture at the Korean Cultural Center in cairo-Samar Samir/Egypt Today .jpeg
CAIRO – 7 August 2023: To swap cultures of food tastes and recipes, the Korean Cultural Center in Cairo, in cooperation with the Egyptian Chefs Association (ECA), organized the four-week course “2023 Korean Cooking Academy” for a group of Egyptian chefs.
A total of 120 applicants completed the course over a period of four weeks. Each group of six took the one-day course at a time with the course running for five days a week. Given by Korean chef Hong Seng Hee, an expert in dietetics and responsible for quality control in several food companies, the program included teaching the recipes of traditional Korean dishes like Bulgogi, Kimbap and Sujebi; besides Korean street food like Tteokbokkie; and side dishes like Banchan and kimchi.
On the final day of the course, where a closing ceremony was held, the Korean chef introduced Bibimbap, a “Korean dish that consists of mixed ingredients including rice, vegetables, meat, Teok-galbi, minced meat mixed with rice cake, vegetables, and Geotjeori, type of Kimchi.”
In her comments to Egypt Today, Hong Seng Hee stated that Egypt is the first place she visited in the Middle East and North Africa, revealing the Egyptian dishes she liked, including Mahshy (stuffed cabbage with rice), falafel (taamya), rib meat, and Melokheya (also known for foreigners as the green soup).
Hong Seng Hee, who started her career at 14 and has been working as a chef for 29 years, said that she wishes to come back to Egypt in the future, as she greatly admired the archeological sites she visited like the Giza Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. She also voiced her desire to visit the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be inaugurated soon.
Talking about her Egyptian students, Hong Seng Hee said that they showed immense interest in learning about the Korean cuisine, especially the dishes they came across in the Korean drama.
Rawan, one of the 30 professional chefs who attended the closing ceremony, told Egypt Today that she is eager to learn about Asian food in general, and South Korean food in particular, because of the current high demand for it at restaurants. The fresh graduate and newly appointed chef in Cairo Marriott Zamalek Hotel said, “The good thing about Asian food is that it contains more vitamins and less calories,” adding that the food is very tasty and makes you feell full without gaining weight.
Khadija, a banker who is fond of cooking, told Egypt Today that she joined the course to get acquainted with Asian food, noting that she first got to know about Asian food from her Asian Friends, which urged her to do further online research.
Chef Karim Imam, a kitchen manager in New Cairo Food, knew about the course from the ECA, and joined to closely study how other cultures develop their cuisine to benefit from the experience in the development of the Egyptian cuisine. Imam added that it was possible at the end of the course to imagine a dish that brings the Egyptian and Korean cuisines together and to see for real what they had in common like drying and fermenting foods.
“Some of their recipes can be incorporated into the Egyptian kitchen in a way that suits Egyptian taste. It is a piece of cake,” he continued.
From the Mediterranean city of Ismailia, chef Ahmed has been working as a Korean chef for a while and joined the course to get more experience. Likewise, his fellow Abanoub Adel from the Cairo World Trade Center said that he already cooks dishes from different cuisines, but more is better.
Mohamed Al-Tayeb, who graduated from the Faculty of Tourism and Hotels attended the course to be familiar with the Korean cuisine.