Gangwon Pyeongchan 2018
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Learn how making Korean food can be as fun as eating it.

Words by Stacey Siebritz

I have always believed that the way to a country’s heart is through one’s stomach, i.e. that there is no better way to get to know a new culture than through its cuisine. Mrs. Hyekyoung Kim, an outstanding Daejeon cook, feels exactly the same, and hosts a cooking class to introduce foreigners to the best dishes Korea has to offer.

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Despite my somewhat lacking culinary skills, Hyekyoung warmly welcomed me into her kitchen and patiently guided me through the recipes she had prepared. As we worked our way through haemul pajeon, kimbap and a bulgogi marinade, she explained how her cooking class began.

Having lived and travelled all over the world, it was during her time in the States that she developed not only her excellent English, but also a profound empathy for those who live far from home. I decided that when I returned to my country, I would help any foreigners that I met to enjoy Korea, she says.

Her cooking class began in 2006, when friends from the international community in her peaceful Daejeon neighbourhood began to ask for lessons. These social events gradually developed into a structured cooking class held at a local cafe. These days however, classes are hosted in Hyekyoung’s own lovely home.

During quiet months, class sizes are minimal. However, last summer, she taught a class of about forty foreign exchange students, an experience she describes as very fun. Her kitchen is adorned with photographs and postcards from former students, some of whom she has even visited since they left Korea. For me, Hyekyoung says, This class is about sharing my culture and making friends. She has undoubtedly succeeded, creating an experience infused with the warmth and spirit of good, old-fashioned home cooking.
For more information, contact Hyekyoung at [email protected].

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