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Garde-manger Yoo Hye-in

With the motto of "Let's make the most of life's ever-flowing opportunities," Solbam’s Garde-manger Yoo Hye-in fills her daily routine with joy and vitality.



How did your journey in cooking begin?

During my time in elementary school, I played the cello with the intention of becoming a musician. However, due to my allergy to lacquer, I found it difficult to continue playing the instrument. Hoping that the allergy would improve as I grew older, I persevered, but even as a middle school student, I still experienced discomfort. It became clear that pursuing a musical path through studying abroad would be challenging. Realizing this, I decided to explore other possibilities.


Being naturally inclined towards variety, I abandoned the cello and ventured into different fields. I even considered becoming an athlete. During this time, I became engrossed in reading numerous books until I had a sudden realization. I contemplated what I enjoyed the most and what truly brought me happiness. Cooking stood out, as I had always cherished the moments spent assisting my mom in the kitchen. Fueled by this passion, I enrolled in a cooking academy.


You know, the physical demands of cooking are not easy. Nevertheless, the joy and immersion I experienced in cooking kept me going, solidifying my commitment to this path. I eagerly participated in various international cooking competitions, which took place in Singapore, China, Thailand, and the Philippines. These experiences broadened my horizons and even resulted in a few accolades. To further deepen my culinary expertise, I pursued a college education dedicated to the art of cooking.


What kind of career have you had?

During my third year of college, I embarked on my career by joining the popular “Bawi pasta bar” in Seoul as an open member. Working there for about a year and a half, I gained invaluable experience and knowledge. It was my first official job, and I didn't have a specific cuisine in mind at that time. I was more interested in the owner's philosophy and values, so I followed the chef-owner’s vision and the way he managed the restaurant.


As time passed, I had room to ponder my culinary path. My first job experience was more focused on a kind of Japanese-Italian cuisine, but I found myself eager to infuse Korean flavors into it. Also, I personally studied traditional Korean liquors and even obtained a certification in that field. As I delved into this, I discovered a profound appreciation for the intricacies of Korean cuisine. The ability to reinterpret traditional Korean flavors in a modern context fascinated me and fueled my desire to take my career to the next level.


It's fascinating that you have a qualification as a Korean liquor sommelier.

I agree that food and cooking cannot be rigidly divided into categories, and the art of making alcohol shares similarities with cooking. Incorporating traditional liquors into desserts and skillfully pairing them with creations can truly enhance the dining experience.


What is your role at Solbam?

Currently, I work as a Garde-manger, primarily responsible for preparing cold dishes. I handle seafood such as lobsters, scallops, and abalones. During service time, I take charge of preparing the fried sweetfish, one of our amuse-bouches, and also have the pleasure of engaging with our guests by providing the signature abalone course through gueridon-service.


How do you feel about working at Solbam?

Solbam radiates a unique energy and vibrancy. It is renowned for its strong sense of teamwork. While many people may perceive the fine dining kitchen as strict and harsh, I consider myself fortunate to work in an environment that embraces warmth and friendliness. If I make a mistake, my seniors take the time to explain why something should be done differently instead of criticizing. This doesn't mean that this kitchen is "easy," but rather, it fosters an environment of improvement and growth.


For instance, when working with seafood, details like placing a tray on ice or carefully monitoring the temperature of the cutting board may seem trivial to some, but having chefs who pay attention to these details and set clear standards is incredibly helpful. The emphasis on mastering the fundamentals here motivates me to work with even greater passion.


Furthermore, I am learning a great deal about the power of communication at Solbam. Effective communication among team members in the kitchen, seamless coordination between the kitchen and the dining hall, and engaging with our guests - these aspects all play a vital role in my personal and professional growth.


What is the charm of pursuing cooking as a profession?

I find the charm of cooking lies in the honest results it yields, directly reflecting the efforts put into it. It's about delivering delightful food to others. The thought that my creations serve as a medium through which people connect with me fills me with excitement. Since cooking is an inherently honest activity, there is no room for deception or false pretenses, which emphasizes the importance of authenticity and integrity.


When do you feel stressed, and how do you relieve it?

I don't experience frequent stress, but whenever I feel like I'm not meeting others' expectations at work, I don't feel good. So I strive to do my best. During my free time, I love watching movies, especially sci-fi films or fantasy genres, as they unleash the power of imagination. The Harry Potter series holds a special place in my heart. Additionally, I find enjoyment in visiting exhibitions. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Kim Hwanki Exhibition at the Hoam Museum, and it was a truly enriching experience.




What do you envision yourself being like in 20 years?

I am not one to meticulously plan out life. However, there is one thing I am certain of—I want to lead a happy life and share positive values with those around me. I'm not sure whether I will still be working in the kitchen or not, but I have a vague sense that culinary expertise will continue to be a meaningful aspect of my life.


Cooking for others brings immense satisfaction to me nowadays, but the future is always unpredictable, so I want to keep my possibilities open. Even if I don't become a chef, there are ways to work in this industry, such as marketing or restaurant planning. I firmly believe that the experience of honing my cooking skills and establishing high standards will undoubtedly contribute to my journey, regardless of its direction.


What is your motto in life?

I would say my motto is "Let's make the most of life's fleeting opportunities." Life rarely unfolds exactly as planned, both in my personal journey and in the world around me. My motto reminds me to adapt with a positive mindset, give my best efforts, and embrace life with laughter!

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