The story of our pastry team crew, Johyun Won, who discovered the true depth of her passion for her craft through the sheer immersion and joy she experienced while working.
How did your interest in cooking develop?
From a young age, I've always been fascinated by food, which eventually led me to pursue a major in food and nutrition during college. As I pondered my career path, I found myself drawn to a job involving product development at a food company. This realization prompted me to learn how to cook in a more practical and hands-on manner. Although my college studies primarily focused on the theory of food and nutrition, I yearned to delve into the actual creation and development of culinary delights.
That's when I decided to enroll at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Initially, my main goal was to learn how to cook, but as I delved into the program, I discovered my true passion for baking. The process of delicately following recipes and creating delectable treats became not only suitable for me but also incredibly enjoyable. After completing the cooking and confectionery courses, I realized that baking was inseparable from my newfound culinary journey, so I decided to further my skills in that field as well.
What kind of career have you pursued?
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, I embarked on an enriching journey in the culinary world. I started with a two-month internship at the esteemed bakery 'Patisserie Fine,' where I was part of a team creating delightful petit gateaux. Following that, I had the incredible opportunity to intern for four months at Hotel de Crillon, a prestigious five-star hotel. During my time there, I gained valuable experience in both baking and cooking.
In the confectionery department, I participated in various aspects, such as handling room service orders, managing orders from restaurants, and being involved in the production process. On the cooking side, I got firsthand experience in the high-pressure environment of a Michelin 1-star restaurant kitchen within the hotel. Reflecting on those days, I vividly remember the Christmas season when I had to wake up at 4 a.m. and wouldn't return home until after 8 p.m. The physical demands were indeed challenging, but amidst all the hard work, I had a profound realization: "I truly love this job."
The demanding nature of the work allowed me to develop a greater sense of responsibility and a dedicated mindset towards my chosen career. These experiences have solidified my passion for the culinary arts and reinforced my commitment to this profession.
How did you end up at Solbam?
During my internship, my fascination with Michelin-starred restaurants and fine dining grew significantly. After returning to Korea from my experiences in France, I decided to work part-time at a dessert cafe to pursue licenses in nutrition and hygiene, which I had postponed while studying abroad. As I began considering official job opportunities, several places caught my attention, but Sol-Bam stood out the most. What left a lasting impression on me was the menu featuring the names of all the team members, showcasing their collaborative approach. My interest grew even further as I explored Solbam's Instagram and website, appreciating their dedication to the finest details, akin to preparing chopsticks with sandpaper. Luckily, when a job opening was announced, I eagerly joined the team.
What are your responsibilities at Solbam now?
Currently, I work in various aspects of the dessert department. Last winter, I had the chance to create sweet potato bread to complement caviar. Whether it's baking cookies or crafting milk foam fries, I contribute to the delightful desserts that we offers. Additionally, I take pride in baking our final course, known as the "Scone for the Next Day."
What can you tell us about Solbam from your perspective?
If I had to describe "Solbam" in just one word, it would be "teamwork." The atmosphere here is filled with such bright energy that it often makes us wonder if there's another place with such fantastic teamwork. Whenever people discuss our daily lives at Solbam, we can't help but feel an immense sense of pride in our strong team spirit.
Are you a fan of desserts in general?
Absolutely! I have a real fondness for desserts. Among them, mousse cakes and petit gateaux hold a special place in my heart. Crafting a petit gateau requires quite a bit of effort, but the result is delicately beautiful, visually stunning, and, above all, incredibly delicious. My favorite variation is the one made with seasonal fruits, as it offers a delightful array of flavors that simply melt in your mouth.
You mentioned that you used to bake at home before attending school. Do you still find time for personal baking endeavors?
Since starting my current job, I haven't had as much opportunity to bake personally. However, I'm gradually adjusting to my current life, and I really look forward to finding some time to bake again when things become a bit more relaxed. There's immense joy in baking delicious desserts and sharing them with the people around you. I'm excited to experiment with new recipes and even have to prepare for a staff cooking contest at work, which adds to the anticipation!
Can you tell us about your aspirations for the next 10 years?
Currently, I don't have any specific plans laid out, but I envision the upcoming years as a period dedicated to skill improvement through gaining experience step by step. Ultimately, my dream is to establish my own store that offers a delightful selection of simple brunches featuring seasonal ingredients, accompanied by high-quality French desserts, wine, and tapas, all of which can be easily enjoyed during the evenings. However, I must admit that as much as this vision excites me, it also invokes a sense of apprehension, as I become more cognizant of the various aspects to consider when embarking on such an endeavor. Nonetheless, I remain determined to explore this path.
That sounds like an ambitious plan. As of now, what steps are you taking towards achieving your long-term goal?
At this moment, I believe it is essential to focus on learning and excelling in my current role at Solbam. Being a full-time employee here is my first experience, and I aim to acquire foundational knowledge that will serve as a solid base for my future aspirations. Working in Solbam's pastry team presents opportunities to delve into various fields, including baking snacks, crafting ice cream, plating desserts, and creating seasonal treats. If possible, I intend to expand my horizons and gain insights into the overall business operations. I view this as an opportunity to adequately prepare for the future and establish a strong foundation, and I am giving my best efforts during this phase of my journey.