'Korea_Grandma' YouTuber cooks food for Thanksgiving with US embassy - Korea Times
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'Korea_Grandma' YouTuber cooks food for Thanksgiving with US embassy

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YouTuber Park Mak-rye, right, and American Charge d'Affaires to Korea Chris Del Corso pose before cooking food for Thanksgiving at Habib House in central Seoul, Tuesday. / Captured from Instagram
YouTuber Park Mak-rye, right, and American Charge d'Affaires to Korea Chris Del Corso pose before cooking food for Thanksgiving at Habib House in central Seoul, Tuesday. / Captured from Instagram

By Lee Hae-rin

Elderly YouTuber Park Mak-rye, also known as "Korea_Grandma," was invited by the U.S. Embassy, Tuesday, to cook food for Thanksgiving with U.S. Charge d'Affaires Chris Del Corso.

Park and Del Corso cooked traditional Korean dishes "japchae" (stir-fried glass noodle) and "galbijjim" (braised beef short ribs) and shared traditional American dishes at Habib House, the residence for the U.S. ambassador to Korea in central Seoul, to celebrate Thanksgiving, according to the U.S. embassy and Park's Instgram.

"She is a role model that demonstrates how vital it is that the voice of the elder generation is represented in the digital space. And she has such a huge influence on the young generation who are digital natives. We wanted to learn more about her stories so we could understand traditional Korean culture through her experience. And we wanted to experience for ourselves the honest, candid personality that so many viewers can relate to," an embassy official told The Korea Times, Thursday.

"Del Corso enjoyed cooking with Park, saying that he could now make japchae for his wife and his extended Korean family. Even more than the cooking, Del Corso loved getting to know Park, hearing about her experience running a diner in Korea, her trips to the United States, and her upcoming plans," the official said. "He also appreciated her humor and candor, particularly when she critiqued his chopping technique."

Park also posted a message in Korean on Instagram after the event: "Wow, today was such a 'daebak' (awesome). I was so happy. I went to the U.S. Embassy. Thank you, Chris. Thank you for the invitation. Thanks to my fans for making this possible. Please invite me again, thanks to the embassy staffers. I was really happy. Stay tuned for the YouTube video."

Park, 74, is a YouTube creator with 1.3 million followers. She and her granddaughter Kim Yu-ra started the YouTube channel in January 2017, to record and cherish their daily lives as Park was diagnosed as being at high risk of developing dementia.

Since her debut, Park has been a phenomenon on Korea's content creation scene. The young generation admire Park's candid personality, sense of humor and easy cooking tips for traditional delicacies. Her young fans say they see their own grandparents in Park and come to understand older people better.

In April 2019, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki met Park during her visit to Korea. "Your story is an example of a story that otherwise couldn't have been told," she told Park, according to a video clip on Park's channel that recorded the meeting. Park was also invited to the Google IO 2019 to represent Korea and meet Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

From her life-long experience as a restaurant owner and operator, Park published a recipe book titled "Don't Be Fooled, You're Not Full" in September 2020. She also launched her own homemade meal kit brand "Victoria Mak-rye." Park's recipe videos of Korean dishes on YouTube have over 28 million views, according to Changbi, the publisher of her book.



Lee Hae-rin lhr@koreatimes.co.kr


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