Season 10 Top Chef Winner Kristen Kish is teaming up with Jongga, the leading producer of kimchi in Korea and the leading imported Korean kimchi brand in the United States, to support the brand’s new Generation Preservation campaign. We caught up with the co-host of Netflix’s Iron Chef to chat about the campaign, kimchi, and her upcoming projects.
JL: How did you end up teaming with Jongga Kimchi?
KK: Kimchi is one of my favorite dishes and is a staple in my pantry, so partnering Jongga – the number one kimchi brand worldwide – felt authentic to me and my Korean heritage. When Jongga approached me about their Generation Preservation campaign – which is raising awareness around plant biodiversity and preserving plant-forward foods, I knew I was interested in teaming up with them. As a chef, food preservation has always been important to me, and I’m thrilled to help Jongga spread the word about this important issue.
JL: What are some of your favorite recipes using kimchi?
KK: Where do I even start? You can use kimchi in pretty much any recipe. Some of my favorites are Jongga Kimchi and Ham Puff Pastry Rolls, which are the perfect appetizer for your upcoming holiday parties. They’re like piggies in a blanket, but with deeper flavors & spices and an extra crunch! I also love making Jongga Kimchi Creamed Corn Croquettes, which is another delicious, comforting recipe you can enjoy as a side dish or a snack. The combination of soft potatoes and crunchy kimchi is so satisfying!
JL: Why is it important for preserving plant biodiversity?
KK: Jongga saw studies showing that 75% of all plant diversity – and specifically 95% of all cabbage varieties that existed a century ago, are now gone. This alarming statistic led Jongga to imagine a world without all the delicious ingredients that Jongga Kimchi is made of, as well as other fruits and vegetables we take for granted. Seeing that cabbage is one of the leading ingredients in Jongga Kimchi – which is a fermented food, the brand knew they needed to raise awareness around the importance of preserving plant biodiversity so that generations to come don’t need to worry about losing their favorite vegetables.
JL: What was the Top Chef experience like for you?
KK: It was unexpected! It wasn’t something I particularly wanted to do but it really worked in my favor. I took the whole experience 1 day at a time and had the mindset of “let’s just get through a challenge at a time.” Being on the show has given me the opportunity to have a platform to talk about things that are important and exciting to me. It also reminded me that I am good enough!
JL: What are some projects that you are working on now that we can look forward to seeing in the next few months?
KK: My National Geographic show “Restaurants At The End Of The World” will be coming out in 2023 on Disney+ which I’m very excited for. I also have a line of Soju alcoholic beverages that are expected to be available to purchase by the end of the year. If you are in Austin, we also will be bringing back the yurts at my restaurant Arlo Grey from November to March for patrons to enjoy.
JL: When will your cookbook come out and how can we purchase it?
KK: My cookbook is out now and is available wherever books are sold.
Get recipes and find out more about Jongga at www.JonggaGlobal.com.