From Michelin-starred names and celebrity chefs to experiential cooks and local restaurateurs, Expo 2020 Dubai is a culinary hub like no other. In this series, we present the chefs invited to be part of the World’s Fair and get an overview of the menu they have put together for the most demanding diners.
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Located in the Opportunity Pavilion, is a restaurant that reflects a modern home in Seoul, filled with quirky sculptures, quirky lighting fixtures, and high-end craftsmanship. This is Kojaki, which has a cuisine that blends Korean and Japanese flavors, and a dining room that aims to promote a sense of sharing and socializing.
“The Kojaki experience is a concept of social catering and is about having a good time. We want customers to feel a sense of warmth and friendliness when they walk through the doors, ”said South Korean chef Jin Chul Kim, who called the experience both authentic and innovative.
“Our goal was to keep the authenticity of Korean flavors, but add a modern touch with some Japanese essence. We took inspiration from other cuisines and dishes that evolved over various wars, especially traditional street food, and implemented them into a “Kojaki-style” dish, he says.
Korean cuisine has grown in popularity around the world and in Kojaki, diners can enjoy popular dishes but with a different twist. “My goal is that when people taste my food, they feel like they have a homemade dish, but just a little higher,” Kim explains.
On the menu, small bites such as kimbap (Korean sushi roll), fried baby squid and puffy shishito peppers; appetizers such as mun-eo gui (slices of octopus in sesame sauce), karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken), fried tofu and chamchi (tuna stew); and main dishes such as Korean mac and cheese, kimchi stew, tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes), and jajangmyeon (Korean noodles in sauce).
“My favorite ingredient has to be garlic. It’s an ingredient that can enhance any dish and is essential in Asian cuisine, ”says Kim, who also helped open Hashi at the Armani Hotel Dubai.
Hashi aside, Kim has helped open several restaurants in Dubai and Seoul, including Junsui at Burj Al Arab and Nama at W Hotel, Seoul. He also worked at the Japanese restaurant Hanazono at the Ritz-Carlton, Seoul.
The chef attributes his ready-made culinary techniques to his mentor David King, Director of Culinary Asia Pacific at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “I consider him to be the most creative chef when it comes to Asian cuisine and have learned from his crazy mind to be innovative and unique,” he says.
However, it was his brother who sparked Kim’s interest in cooking when he was 14. That’s when I decided I was going to be a chef, because I felt so happy cooking for others.
Reservations for Kojaki at Expo 2020 Dubai can be made on 052 500 9299
Update: October 25, 2021, 3:21 a.m.