Over at the online magazine Gazillion Voices, Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard—the team behind Midtown Global Market's "Korean fusion" stand the Left-Handed Cook—interview each other about their takes on authenticity in Asian food, whether or not you always need chopsticks, and that dreaded term of chefs, "fusion." Here are two excerpts from the full interview:
From Kim, on whether he has ever felt pigeonholed into cooking Korean food just because he's Korean: "I don't know if I've been pigeonholed into specific cooking, but I know that I've made conscious decisions to fight against perceived stereotypes when it comes to what I can and can't do. When people have felt I should cook Korean food, I've made sushi. When people have felt I should do sushi, I've made burgers. I don't want to do things I don't feel like, and hopefully the idea of going against the grain hasn't altered my true self."
From Melgaard, on defying categorization and 'Korean fusion': "I think the mindset of defining who you are on your own terms is very much a part of second-generation Asians' and adoptees' thought processes. We are always questioned by the outside concerning who we really are. I think this makes us the 'New American,' which is why when we first started The Left Handed Cook, I really liked the idea of using the phrase 'New American Country Cooking' when describing our food. The phrase turned out to be too much to explain. So unfortunately, the default 'Korean fusion' is used, but I really, really dislike saying it."
· New American Cooking [Gazillion Voices]
· All Coverage of the Left-Handed Cook [Eater MPLS]