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The Korean Adoptee Foodies!

One of our readers Amie Kim suggested that we do a Korean adoptee chef and restaurateur post. We love to eat here at LGA, and so we said, “Heck yes!”

Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food – The New York Times Article


“The rest of the Mission Chinese story is just as unlikely: Bowien is a 29-year-old Korean guy adopted at birth by non-Koreans, brought up in Oklahoma City, inspired by watching cooking shows with his mother. He never cooked Chinese food until the restaurant opened about a year ago. The staff is composed largely of the Chinese family that owns the building and still runs Lung Shan. Many of Mission’s dishes are precisely as “Chinese” as Bowien himself (which is to say not at all); and the owners maintain a zany idea to deliver anywhere in the city, as well as a larger commitment to changing the food system.” (source)

Eric Ehler of Seoul Patch and Gung Ho in San Francisco

This Year’s Top Chef Kristen Kish


“I need to go back, not to find biological family, but to see where I was born and learn about Korean culture.  For me it’s important to know where I came from, not necessarily who I came from.  I would love to visit the clinic where I was born.  I think it will be a huge moment for me.” (source)

Marja Vongerichten of Kimchi Chronicles


“Oh yeah, absolutely. We didn’t really talk about me being adopted because I looked like my parents and family. My parents are African-American and my mother is very fair-skinned and almost looked Asian at times too. Nobody ever questioned it and we didn’t really talk about it. My brother didn’t even know about it until much later. I grew up with memories of my birth mother. In terms of identity, I really didn’t acknowledge the Korean side because I couldn’t really without getting into this big, deep story. I identified with being African-American because my family was. I wasn’t really accepted as African-American because I don’t really look “full” African-American. I would always get the “where are you from?” and the Black kids would call me oriental. It was tough and I went through a real identity crisis in high school. I went to a performance arts high school in DC for two years that was predominantly Black called Duke Ellington. I went completely militant and was reading about Malcolm X for the first time and all these famous African-Americans and I felt a sense of pride and that I finally belonged somewhere. In college I had a hard time again. I think every kid whether adopted, not adopted, mixed or not mixed, you just go through the craziness of being a teenager. It was hard.” (source)

Kim Sunee


Kim Sunée is the author of the national bestseller, Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home (Grand Central Publishing). Trail of Crumbs was both a Barnes & Noble Discover pick and a Book Sense Pick, and has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Hebrew. She has been featured in the New York Times, Ladies’ Homes Journal, People, ELLE, and Glamour.

She ate and lived in Europe for ten years before working as food editor at Southern Living magazine and Cottage Living magazine. Her writing has appeared in Food & Wine, ENTREE, The Oxford AmericanCooking Light, and Asian American Poetry and Writing. Sunée has appeared several times as a guest judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef Americaand has collaborated on several cookbooks, including The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances and Ed Mayes, and the Tupelo Honey Cafe by Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonoskus. She is currently working on a cookbook to be published by Andrews McMeel March 2014.” (source)

Sang-hoon Degeimbre – The Star Chef Article

Chef Sang Hoon Dejeimbre of L'Air du Temps - Noville-sur-Mehaign

“At the age of five, Sanghoon Degeimbre was adopted with his younger brother into a large Belgian family with eight other children. By the age of 14, Degeimbre had discovered his love of cooking, and preparing meals for his family not only trained him in the practicalities of cooking for large numbers, but it also ignited his desire for further education.” (source)

Minnesota’s Very Own Kat Melgaard and Thomas Kim of The Left Handed Cook


“It’s a market stall at the Midtown Global Market, run by a newcomer to town, Thomas Kim, who came here for the same reason a lot of local chefs did, because of love for a girl—a North Dakota girl, as it happens. That girl is Kat Melgaard, who grew up on a farm in Noonan, North Dakota, and lived in Minneapolis when she attended the Aveda Institute. She thought this would be a good place for her and Kim to set up their future and, boy howdy, I think they’re right.” (source)

2 Comments on The Korean Adoptee Foodies!

  1. A couple more KAD Foodies we found:

    Pierre Sang Boyer in Paris:

    Daniel Grey, food blogger living in Seoul

  2. I found a couple more:

    Daniel Grey, food blogger living in Seoul

    Pierre Sang Boyer in Paris:

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