I worked in restaurants all through college. I was going to college for a degree in finance and got kind of disillusioned with that entire program. But I needed to finish my degree because I had been at it for four years. It was right around when I was graduating when Bryan [Moon], asked me if I would be interested in starting a restaurant. I wasn't really looking forward to diving into financial internships, and it sounded like a really cool opportunity, so I jumped at it. And yeah, I'm still doing it three years later. We've been doing these pseudo pop-ups the last year and a half. Most recently, we've been at Baby's All Right, the venue. It’s great to be there, but I'm really excited because we're finally securing a new location for ourselves, which will let us keep growing.
I've always really enjoyed cooking. I don't remember this, but my mom told me when I was three, I was sitting on the stovetop. She doesn't know how I got up there, but I was sitting on the stovetop and attempting to scramble eggs in a pan. So yeah, I've always been drawn to it. I guess I should say I am adopted. I'm Korean American and my parents are, uh, very Caucasian. I didn't really start cooking a lot of Korean food until I moved out. We'd always moved around. We used to live in Baltimore, but I moved away when I was six to the Midwest for ten years. As you might imagine, Asian grocery goods are pretty far and few in between in rural Minnesota. For the most part, when I was younger, I baked a lot, I made candy, and I cooked Italian food. I was obsessed with pasta.
Cooking for myself now, I usually keep it pretty simple. I'll have, on hand in my kitchen, ingredients like olive oil, eggs, tomatoes, and mushrooms. That's a lot of what I eat at home because I like doing things that are quick. I'll get home from work and it'll be after midnight and I'll be hungry and want something pretty instant. I don't want to sit over the stove and usually I don't like super-processed foods like ramen. So I'll make myself a little omurice or something. It's pretty quick. There are usually a lot of eggs in my house because they're so perfect. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and you can just insert a blank before that. It could be like a roasted vegetable, or an egg, or a piece of toast. That's what I eat by myself.
Cooking’s a tool I used when I was younger, especially to bridge gaps between people. I moved a lot as a kid. We moved every two to four years so I was always in this continual process of being the new kid at school. I found that inviting someone over for a meal--it doesn't necessarily mean you're cooking for them--but sharing meals has always been the easiest way for me to meet people. Cooking’s a nice central activity no matter what. Meeting new people, it's easiest when you have a nice central activity to steer a conversation.