As originally posted in The Georgia Straight
Korean food is becoming a popular mainstay in Vancouver’s food scene—there’s probably always someone in your friend circle who is craving tofu soup, bibimbap (hot-stone rice bowl with various toppings), or haemul pajeon (seafood pancake).
The love for this Asian cuisine is real, so it’s fitting that a Korean cooking face-off returns to the city next month.
In its second year, the Korean Culinary Competition hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea and Vancouver Community College will take place at VCC (250 West Pender Street) on June 14 at 2 p.m. The public will be invited to try the dishes and enjoy food activities and catering from 3:30 p.m.
Amateur and professional chefs (separated into two groups) are invited to join in on the food-centric event—each contestant will be allotted 90 minutes to whip up a tasty Korean food item, which will be judged for its taste and presentation.
Ingredients and essential kitchen equipment will be provided, but you can bring in your own rice cooker if need be (we think rice is a pretty important accompaniment for Korean cuisine).
First, second, and third place winners in each group will be awarded a significant cash prize. The first place professional competitor will be invited to a week-long trip to Korea to compete against other winners around the world (this particular cooking competition takes place in various countries), and will have the chance to travel to renowned restaurants around the Asian nation.
The judges will rank each competing dish based on its taste and presentation.
“The reason we do this competition is to promote Korean food to foreigners, not just Korean nationals living in Canada,” said Kangjun Lee, Consul at the Korean Consulate, to the Straight in an interview at a local Vancouver restaurant. “Cultural affairs, especially food, are the gateway and connector between Asian heritages with local communities. With food, we don’t have any language barriers.”
The list of judges for this year’s event haven’t been confirmed yet, but we can expect to see Consul General Gunn Kim (Consul General of the Republic of Korea), Dr. Peter Nunoda (president, VCC), chef Collin Gill (department head, VCC Culinary Arts), and perhaps a local Korean restaurant owner/chef decide on the winning dishes.
If you’re not confident enough to join this year’s competition but still have a passion for Korean food, then check out the gimbab (Korean seaweed and rice roll)-making activity that will be happening from 3 to 4 p.m.
“We [Koreans] have a big presence in Asian communities, but we think politically and socially we are underrepresented,” said Lee. “There is still a long way to go to be proactively engaged with local communities.”
What better way to engage and interact with Vancouverites than with mouth-watering foods, right?
The cooking competition’s submission deadline is May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. For more information and the online application, click here.