Behind The Apron: Moon Kyung Soo (Mikuni | Fairmont Singapore)

From using a syphon to create bonito broths to soaking octopus with sparkling water to keep its meat tender, the kitchen is Chef Moon Kyung Soo’s science lab. The Korean-born chef readily admits that being a Japanese chef, he has to work extra hard to differentiate himself from his Japanese counterparts. Indeed, Mikuni’s Executive Chef’s techniques have shown how blending century-old Japanese cooking methods with modern techniques such as dehydration and sous-vide cooking can create unique dishes with differing levels of flavours and textures.

His hard work has also paid off. Having worked at some of the best Japanese kitchens in Japan, Korea and the United Arab Emirates, he has cooked for numerous luminaries including the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, and even fellow Korean superstar, Rain.

But of course, it’s not all work no play for the jovial chef. We find out that he is actually a boy at heart.

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How did your passion for Japanese cuisine come about?

My passion started fifteen years ago and it stems from my love for the Japanese culture. Back then, J-pop, Japanese drama and fashion were very popular in Korea. Whenever there was a new Japanese drama, everyone wanted to watch it. However, I couldn’t understand a word as there was no translation.

So I started to learn the Japanese language. I even had a pen pal in Japan to practice the language with. My pen pal would send me all sorts of Japanese things – from Japanese dramas and music to Japanese instant noodles.

One day I came across an article about a Japanese chef who said he could give his heart to his guests through cooking. It was a powerful and beautiful message that appealed to me. For other cuisines, the chef may not know who he is cooking for. However, as a Japanese chef, I can give the food that I make with my hands and my heart to my customer.

Because of my love for the Japanese culture, I have completely changed internally to adapt to the Japanese way of life.

What is Chef Moon’s style?

As a Korean cooking Japanese cuisine, my nationality is my weak point. So I need to work harder than a Japanese chef. During my off-days, I don’t eat Japanese cuisine. I try all types of cuisines. My current favourite is Thai cuisine. It is very simple and natural in its flavours. I’ve started to learn how to cook Thai cuisine and I’m exploring possible ways to integrate Thai cuisine with Japanese cuisine. I am constantly learning and evolving in my cooking. Because I am still learning and developing my style, I can’t pinpoint my exact style at the moment. I don’t even know what my signature dish is because it is different every year. Chef Moon is constantly studying.

Who is the most memorable celebrity that you have cooked for?

I am a huge fan of South-Korean footballer Park Ji-Sung, who played for Manchester United. When I saw him at my restaurant, I asked him for his autograph. Instead of autographing on a piece of paper, he asked me for my chef’s hat and signed on it. I still keep that hat till today.

What do you do when you are not in the kitchen?

I love sports and camping. I have two kids so I’m always looking to go camping and fishing with my family. We enjoy cycling around Pulau Ubin where I can teach my kids about nature. I love fishing too. We would catch some fish and have Korean BBQ after that. This is my life outside the kitchen.

You need to enjoy life.

What type of food do you usually prepare for your kids at home?

My wife would prepare Korean food while I would make my kids some Japanese food. I would prepare some sukiyaki and shabu shabu. My kids love beef and mushrooms.

I also like to make tuna and avocado rolls for my kids. They are good for brain development. My daughter started eating sashimi at the age of two!

For more on Chef Moon Kyung Soo’s food, check out our review of Mikuni Japanese Restaurant.

Interview

4 Responses to Behind The Apron: Moon Kyung Soo (Mikuni | Fairmont Singapore)

  1. Mable says:

    i really like this segment of the blog! always find it interesting to go behind the scenes and get to know what the chefs are like :) especially liked this cos i’m quite a fan of japanese food.

  2. […] 20 July to 7 August 2015, expect to be enthralled by Unagi-themed dishes created by Mikuni’s Executive Chef Moon Kyung Soo that can by enjoyed during lunch (5 courses for $120++) or dinner (8 courses for […]

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