PEOPLE 2024/04/05

Lotte shines at the 2024 IKA Culinary Olympics in Germany, one of the world’s top 3 cooking competitions!

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We interviewed Chef Jihoon Shin and
Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae,

who brought LOTTE Hotels to the world by participating
in the 2024 IKA World Culinary Olympics in Germany,

where more than 1,800 chefs
from 67 countries showcased their skills.
Let’s find out more!

Q) Nice to meet you! Could you please introduce yourself briefly?

Hello, I’m Chef Jihoon Shin from
Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul Restaurant
at Lotte Hotel Seoul.

I’m Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae
from the banquet dessert department of the bakery
in the culinary team at Lotte Hotel Seoul!

Q) Do you have a reason for choosing
the position you are responsible for?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
I remember watching a TV program with a famous chef,
and I think his charisma and leadership fascinated me at the time.

Then I read his books and researched various resources,
which led me to this career.

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)
In middle school, I happened to come across a cooking webtoon!
The recipes featured were so simple and
easy to follow that I started to take an interest.

It was from that moment of reading the webtoon
that my career choice was influenced,
and I’ve been doing this job ever since.

Q) What do you find most attractive about your job?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
I find it incredibly rewarding how tens of thousands
of dishes can be created based on
ingredients and cooking methods.

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)
Whenever we launch a new product or promotion,
I always search the internet and social media for reviews.
It not only boosts my morale to see positive feedback
but also gives me a tremendous sense of fulfillment.

Q) What are some of the joys unique to this job?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
I think the greatest joy in this job might be developing new menus
with combinations no one has thought of before and
presenting them to guests in my own unique way.

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)
I believe the greatest joy could be the opportunity to test
the finest ingredients at the beginning of each season and
to create a variety of products utilizing these ingredients.

Q) Recently, I heard that you won silver and gold
at the 2024 IKA Culinary Olympics in Germany!
Could you please give a brief explanation of this competition
for those who may not be familiar with it?

The World Culinary Olympics,
held every 4 years in Germany,

is a prestigious culinary competition
with a rich tradition dating back to 1900.
It is considered one of the top three
culinary competitions in the world,

alongside the World Association of Chefs Societies
(WACS)-hosted Luxembourg World Culinary Cup and
the FHA Culinary Challenge.

This year, we participated in a competition
in Stuttgart, Germany, and won a very valuable medal!

Q) Could you tell us about the menu and
theme of the competition that fascinated the judges?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
I presented innovative recipes for zero-waste and vegan dishes
that minimize the waste of main ingredients!
The flow of the courses, the creativity of the plating, the colors,
and the thoughtful touches were praised as perfect!

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)

Based on the theme of Korea’s four seasons,
I prepared a dessert with the colors
of each season using seasonal fruits!

The harmony between
the ingredients and the sensuous presentation won
the judges’ high praise!

Q) How did you feel when you won the award?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
It reminded me of all the hard work I had put in, and
I was very happy to be recognized for my preparation.

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)
I was happy, but most of all,
I was relieved that all my hard work hadn’t been in vain!

Q) Do you have any funny or crazy behind-the-scenes stories
from your preparation for the competition?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
Since we couldn’t import all of our ingredients from Korea,
many of them were sourced locally,

and I remember spending a whole day traveling from local
markets to large supermarkets
because I couldn’t find what I wanted.

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)
Usually, when we prepare dishes, we prepare them
in advance and choose the best ones,
but we had limited space in the refrigerator.

So we had to make only one dish for the competition,
and if we made a mistake, we would not be able to display it.

Fortunately, everything went well according to our preparation,
and we were able to display our work without any major problems.

Q) Finally, what are your plans for the future, and
what dreams do you have for the store?

Chef Jihoon Shin)
I want to learn and study a lot and share
what I know with the younger generation.

Pastry Chef Youngsan Bae)
I want to be someone who can grow as a brand and
set trends in this industry.

New today, better tomorrow

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