From the menu right down to the design of the chairs and the fresh flowers on display, Edward Kwon’s newly opened The Mixed One Buffet & Dining is an embodiment of the chef’s personal tastes.
“If you want to be a chef, you need to do everything,” he said. “If you only know how to cook, then you are just a good cook.”
Coming off the success of his Hannam-dong fine dining restaurant, The Mixed One, the celebrity chef who started out as a server and worked his way up the ranks has opened up a second branch of his restaurant ― this time, his first-ever buffet restaurant rather than the fine-dining restaurants he is known for.
|Celebrity chef Edward Kwon is at work at his newly opened The Mixed One Buffet & Dining restaurant in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province. (EKFood)|
“You know, many people have asked me why I decided to open up a buffet restaurant,” Kwon said. “This is what I do. I am a hotel-trained chef...with what I have learned in all my previous experiences, I can handle a lot of different cuisines.”
The buffet restaurant opened its doors on March 1 and along with offering diners some 250 different types of dishes from around the world including Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Middle Eastern, the restaurant also offers diners the unique opportunity to indulge their taste buds with sous-vide style cooking. Sous-vide is a French method of cooking meat in vacuum-sealed plastic bags in a bath of water to contain the meat’s juices. The process is expensive and time consuming, taking nearly a day for the entire process to be completed and, according to Kwon, is one in which many chefs have never been trained.
“One guy told me that he has been working as a chef at a buffet restaurant for 12 years and said, ‘I’m sorry chef, but this is a pain in the ass. ... Why do you not just cut the beef, grill it and give it to the customers?” Kwon explained. “I said, ‘Then what makes us different from anybody else?’”
“I always want to provide customers with top-quality products. When you just grill beef, you lose about 15 percent of the blood, but with the sous-vide technique, you only lose around 2 percent.”
|An array of desserts at The Mixed One Buffet & Dining (EKFood)|
The chef, who only found his passion for cooking after getting a job in a kitchen following high school, has worked in some of the world’s top hotels including the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, where he was the hotel head chef. However, fueled by the desire to change the food culture of Korea, Kwon returned home.
“The reason I came back to Korea is because I wanted to make a change in the way we see food here. Koreans are so focused on technology, but how much is too much?” he said. “If you don’t have a smartphone, you can still survive, but without food, I’m sorry, a few days and you’re gone.”
With the prices of the buffet’s lunch and dinner menu ranging from 20,000 won to 40,000 won, the concept behind Kwon’s new buffet restaurant is to maintain an atmosphere of fine dining while serving customers a wide range of hotel-style, high-quality foods at affordable prices.
“The one thing I want to tell people is not to focus on the price, but rather, focus on the quality of the food,” the chef said. “We (chefs) are not technicians, but rather we are like artists. Artists use paints to create their works, we use ingredients.”
By Julie Jackson (email@example.com
)The Mixed One Buffet & Dining
● (031) 709-2788
Poonglim I Want Building 2nd floor, 255-1 Seohyeon-dong, Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi Province
Weekdays 11:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. (lunch) & 6 p.m. -10 p.m. (dinner); Weekends 11:00 a.m. ― 1 p.m. (lunch session 1) & 1:30 p.m. ― 3:30 p.m. (lunch session 2); 4:30 p.m. ― 7 p.m. (dinner session 1) & 7:30 p.m. ― 10 p.m. (dinner session 2)