Chef Junghyun Park will join the team at Michelin-starred Lyle’s in London for two nights this month, Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st July, serving up modern Korean cuisine as part of the restaurant’s popular Guest Series.
After completing a degree in Food Science at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, Park began his extensive travels across the globe. He started his journey in Finland on a fortuitous exchange programme, and became immersed in European food culture. Park eventually travelled to more than 30 countries, including the UK, where he worked at London dining institution, The Ledbury. From Europe, he went to Melbourne, Australia, where he worked at Andrew McConnell’s Cutler and Co. for nearly three years before returning to Seoul to work in Chef Jung Sik Yim’s newly opened Jungsik. When a satellite of Jungsik launched in NYC, Park led the American team as chef de cuisine, turning it into one of the best-reviewed restaurants of 2011 and earning two Michelin stars.
In 2016, Park and his wife Ellia opened Atoboy, a casual, progressive Korean restaurant just off the 32nd Street in Manhattan. While Jungsik showcased Korean flavours employing French technique, Atoboy makes greater use of Korean methods of cooking and focuses on banchan, which is something akin to tapas in Korean cuisine. “Ato, in old Korean means gift. So we wanted to create a restaurant that can continuously bear gifts for our guests, whether that comes through our food or hospitality. In creating the vision, we wanted to expand on the well-known and loved concept of pairing all things with a bowl of rice as you would when you eat a properly prepared Korean meal. With that as a canvas, we also wanted to put banchans in their own spotlight by applying extra care and attention as well as modern techniques and unlikely touches and flavour combinations that are very much NYC,” Park explains to Chubo.
Following the success of his first project, in 2018, Park launched his second venture, Atomix, offering a contemporary and lavish interpretation of Korean royal court cuisine. The restaurant was recently awarded a Michelin star. “In the United States, not many people know about Korean cuisine – they think it’s Korean barbecue or spicy food, so we want to spread the word. After two years we felt the audience was ready for fine dining. So we opened Atomix, which has a tasting menu,” Park told Post Magazine. Each course at Atomix, served in artisanal ceramics, arrives with a brief description on a card; diners can learn, for example, that jeon is a refinement of a peasant dish called gamjajeon, or if they prefer to, simply dive straight into the fermented potatoes, finished with yuzu and chillies, sharp cheese, and a wreath of hyssop and mint.
Expanding on his award-winning, creative interpretations of Korean cuisine, Park has created a special menu for his Lyle’s two-night residency. Book tickets here.
Feature image via Atomix