46 Banpo-daero 39-gil
Banpo 4(sa)-dong, Seocho-gu
Seul, Corea del Sud
Soigné is not only the name of his restaurant in Seoul (Korea) but his nickname too: it was given to Jun Lee (born in 1983 in Seoul) by his French chef-professor at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York, where he graduated. That is to say: The Meticulous. Lee’s sense for neatness and the impeccable started from that obsession for perfection, made stronger by the expert hands of Thomas Keller at Per Sé in New York (three Michelin stars). «When I make Italian pasta” he says “I feel like one of your many sculptors from the past, and I recall when I enjoyed creating things with stones or wood as a child». Cooking is thus an art. And like all arts it requires effort, commitment. This is perhaps why the concept of Soigné is a Sisyphus stone: a themed menu, with five courses, changing radically every 3 months.
«Of the 13 created so far», says the chef, «my favourite one was the Wild theme where I presented my guests some shocking Korean dishes that were never what they imagined: frogs, underwood, Mediterranean herbs». Then came Grain where the entire menu was focused on grain. The current theme is Better Together. «It’s a very interesting concept: every dish is made of two dishes served together, a main one and a side dish, which can be paired either by contrast or in harmony». The sweet and soft risotto with celeriac and abalone is paired with the sapid rich Panna cotta with sea urchins. Or the Lobster Instant ramen matched with the sour notes of apples and celery.
At Identità Milano 2017 Jun Lee will not present the Better Together of our days: «I will go back to my childhood with the eyes and skills of an adult. I’ll make pasta!”. The protagonists of his lecture will be tajarin, and ravioli, the way he learnt these in New York from Jonathan Benno (also a pupil of Keller) but with a new take at Soignésince 3 years ago. An interesting experiment between two very different cultures (Korean and Italian) meeting in the embrace of eggs and flour».
A journalist with the bad habit of xenophilia (natural, he's a Germanist) and food (he's from Modena ), he now lives a happy life in China, in Shanghai, building connections between East and West
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