I’m dedicating this particular post to my best friend from Restaurante Martín, Hyun-Ju Chong, also known as Iontxu, Yun, Yan, and various other mispronunciations and misnomers.
Hyun was my first friend at Martín and so much more. When I arrived in pescados and our jefe de partida was a yelling maniac at the time, she taught me the meaning of tranquilidad. She taught me how to work hard and work smart, what to do and what not to do. She lead by example, always moving speedily yet elegantly, working quickly yet meticulously.
I learned not only how to work smarter within the kitchen, but also outside of the kitchen. I learned not only how to reexamine my life as a woman, Asian, chef, and artist, but also how to appreciate everything more. Hyun taught me value, and like a 师傅 (shifu//master) and Unni (sister) she continues to instill admirable virtues of patience and altruism. For this and more, I am thankful. I feel so humbled by her presence, so peaceful in her grace and consider myself very fortunate to have met a ‘soul sister’ (or in this case, Seoul sister) with whom I can connect on so many levels.