Hamish Neale, the executive chef of Andaz Seoul Gangnam, has led the hotel's Jogakbo restaurant since its opening in September last year, bringing together traditional Korean ingredients and international cooking styles.
|Hamish Neale, executive chef of Andaz Seoul Gangnam / Courtesy of Andaz Seoul Gangnam|
The restaurant, located on the second floor of the lifestyle hotel brand of Hyatt International, is divided into three sections following a kitchen concept, consisting of the Middle House, South House and Long House.
"Jogakbo is different dining experiences in one space," Neale said. "Much like the name suggests, the Jogakbo menu is a patchwork of different dishes, influenced by different cuisines around the world."
The items on the menu offered by the restaurant include several European dishes that incorporate Korean ingredients, such as ssamjang garlic cream tripoline pasta. Ssamjang is Korean soybean paste.
"We also steam our clams and mussels in the Belgian style. However, we use makgeolli (Korean rice wine) for soup," he said. "We have our beef burger that has a cucumber namul and gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste sauce) mayonnaise."
Neale said local seasonal ingredients, followed by ensuring quality and sustainable farming practices, have been the most important factors for him in exploring and discovering ingredients.
"Once we have our market list, we then develop dishes that are unexpected and unique experiences, which are aligned with our Andaz brand promise," he said. "We like to offer dishes that are a new experience for people or a twist on a popular dish."
The chef from New Zealand said food and entertaining has always been an important part of his life as he spent a lot of time at hotels owned by his father's friends, working at kitchens and doing chores, since he was a kid.
"On my first day at a university to study accounting, we were having an orientation of the campus. When I came across the catering faculty, I wondered why I was studying to work in a boring office," he said. "After a few months, I withdrew from the business degree and went to study catering. It was the best decision I made."