Shin Kim, a native of Seoul, Korea, focuses on making traditional Korean dishes with ease. Following her training at the Institute of Culinary Education, Shin refined her craft at some of New York’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants. She also be seen on her own show “Cooking with Shin,” produced by DramaFever, where she brings to life dishes featured in Asian dramas.
What kitchen tool can you not live without?
I have a few — in addition to a sharp chef’s knife, my all time favorite are 10-inch surgical tongs for the kitchen. They are just the right size for cooking, slightly smaller than regular tongs, allowing a firmer grip than chopsticks. Also, I’m into this cute red serrated paring knife that’s perfect for cutting teardrop tomatoes into thin slices. I cut a lot of teardrop tomatoes over the summer.
What is your favorite fall comfort food?
Danhobak (aka kabocha) pumpkin soup! This simple, creamy, savory-sweet pumpkin soup really warms me up and gets me in the mood for the season. I started making my version of creamy pumpkin soup when I tried to make something out of failed pumpkin rice cake. And it so happens to be dairy-free, like much traditional Korean food.
What and where was your last memorable meal?
Recently I had a simple Japanese meal of karaage (Japanese fried chicken) and soba with two friends from college. The food was great, but the dinner was memorable because it was the first time we were able to get together since we went to study abroad in Japan in 1995. Food alone can be the main reason for an exquisite experience, but in this case, good food that we used to have in Japan brought back memories from the past and left us with new memories that we’ll carry for years to come.
When did you realize that working with food and being in the kitchen needed be part of your daily life?
I had to accept that cooking should be a big part of my daily life when I realized that my thoughts were mostly filled with how I was going to cook my next meal. As tough as it was to work in the kitchen, I felt down when I was away from the kitchen for a few days.
Where did you learn to cook?
I’ve always cooked Korean food at home, then I went through a formal training period where I learned the French cooking techniques and kitchen system by attending culinary school and working at restaurants in New York. I’m still learning every time I cook and I hope that never changes!
What’s the best lesson about cooking that you can share with beginner cooks?
Don’t start cooking on an empty stomach! I relate to people who get grumpy when hungry. Make it an enjoyable, relaxing experience rather than rushing to make something to fill up. It really helps to start cooking after a small snack.