In Conversation with South Korean Chef Seji, Owner of the Cool and Utterly Delicious Supper Club &qu
Seji is a South Korean chef who has been taking London’s food scene by storm with her delicious, sustainable menu of Korean Fried chicken, kimchi, and a beautifully curated selection of natural wines.
All images in this article: @bombom_london
Can you explain to our readers the name and concept of BOMBOM? “Bom” means spring in Korean and spring symbolises the beginning of a new cycle of life. The Korean food I serve is both healthy and sustainable, following our slogan of ‘Natural Food, Natural Wine and a Natural Mood.’ BOMBOM also signifies respect for the farmers and winemakers who grow crops in a natural way. I want to share their thoughts and provide customers with a healthy seasonal menu. This is the main idea behind the birth of name, BOMBOM.
What do you want to bring to the food scene? The world is trying to become more sustainable and London is leading the way. I was born in Seoul and grew up eating my grandmother’s food with traditional Korean recipes, which I believe hold the key to a sustainable kitchen. I think a combination of British ingredients and Korean recipes could lead to a sustainable kitchen and introduce the UK to new flavours.
BOMBOM’s menu is served in a casual setting, which also offers customers a new culinary experience of Korean cuisine and I intend to develop a few Korean-influenced signature dishes myself as a sustainable kitchen. When did you fall in love with food and cooking? The process of cooking is more logical than you might think, and in many ways it is a science in itself. If your formula is correct, all the elements of a dish should add up harmoniously. Even though the process is logical, a good dish can incite an emotional response. The ability to make someone happy and take them somewhere new with my food is the reason why I feel in love with cooking.
Why London? Korean cuisine has always been very popular amongst East Asian populations and it has been gaining popularity in the UK, especially in London, in recent years. It is entering the mainstream food scene and becoming the trendiest food in the UK, as UK top chefs predicted it to be one of the biggest food trends in London. However, there is still a distinct lack of restaurants/food bars offering good quality Korean food in London. I thought this would be a new opportunity for me.
What inspires you?
The memory of my grand mother’s cooking and “The circle of life”, which is the philosophy of Jeong Kwan who is a buddhist chef, whose recipes inspire me. A profile of Jeong Kwan can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/16/t-magazine/jeong-kwan-the-philosopher-chef.html What are the key factors to bear in mind when starting a business? Having creative business ideas. As a lot of companies are involved in the market and I cannot stress enough how important having a unique and creative idea that stands out is key to a start up. I also study in many ways how to create a structure that can generate profits based on my business idea.
Where do you like sourcing your ingredients and natural wines from? Essential Korean sauces are from H-mart in New Malden.
I get seasonal vegetables from NamaYasai of Robin based in Lewes, East Sussex. He does ‘Natural Agriculture’. His seasonal vegetables always give me fresh motivations for creating the menu.
Part of my natural wine selection comes from “Les caves de pyrene”: https://instagram.com/lescavesdepyrene- They have a huge list of wines so I can easily order the wine I want. Equally, I use Newcomer Wines https://instagram.com/newcomer_wines, who mainly deal with Austrian wine; their selections are interesting to learn about new wines. What top 5 places to eat in London would you recommend? - Kiln ***** does fresh great Thai cuisine: https://instagram.com/kilnsoho - Bright: https://instagram.com/bright_restaurant - Rochelle canteen : Their fish menu is always delicious! - 16 Playground Gardens, Shoreditch, London E2 7FA - Xi'an Impression London: Best Chinese hand pulled noodles. 117 Benwell Rd, London N7 7BW - Uyen Luu’s Vietnamese Supper Club https://instagram.com/loveleluu
What memories do you have of food at home? I enjoy inviting friends to my home and sharing food with them, it’s a passion passed down from my grandmother. My grandmother, who had had six children, ensured the family caught up regularly over a hearty meal. Her cooking has always been my biggest inspiration. There is one traditional dish she made (a Korean-style kimchi-miso pancake) which I have never been able to recreate as it requires a fermented sauce which she made her own recipe. Mastering that recipe is my goal for 2020.
Go follow Seji to stay up to date on her next pop up by clicking here!