Mingoo Kang of Mingles in Seoul, South Korea, has been named the 2021 recipient of the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award. Voted for by his fellow chefs on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, the award acknowledges Chef Kang’s contributions to Asia’s culinary scene.
Kang’s flagship restaurant, Mingles, first appeared on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 at No.15. As well as earning the Highest New Entry award, it was also named The Best Restaurant in Korea, – an honor it has retained for five consecutive years.
Drawing on his culinary heritage, Kang uses jang (a trio of Korean traditional fermented sauces) and seasonal local herbs to capture authentic Korean flavours. While Mingles’ inspired seven-course tasting menu honours traditional hansik (Korean cuisine), it also showcases Kang’s technical expertise, creative flair and international experience.
In July 2020, Kang brought his innovative interpretation of Korean cuisine overseas for the first time with the opening of Hansik Goo in Hong Kong. Presenting a progressive interpretation of beloved Korean dishes, Hansik Goo celebrates one of the cornerstones of Korean culinary culture, the authentic, family-style dining experience.
“Through the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, Chef Mingoo Kang’s peers have shown their respect for his craftsmanship and artistry, as well as his ability to articulate Korean culinary culture on the international stage,” William Drew, Director of Content at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants,. “Chef Kang reinterprets Korean cuisine in a modern context by combining contemporary techniques and local elements, striking a delicate balance between innovation and tradition.”
“I am a native Korean chef. Instead of studying at international culinary institutions, I gained my experience working at various locations around the globe – the US, Spain, France, the Bahamas – wherever I could enhance my culinary knowledge,” said Kang.
Returning to Seoul, Kang focused his attention on Korean cooking and traditional temple cuisine. To refine his culinary philosophy, he consulted with local food experts, including Buddhist monk Jeong Kwan and respected chef Cho Hee-sook, the 2020 recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award. In 2014, Kang opened Mingles in Seoul’s bustling Gangnam district and introduced his signature style of melding eastern and western cuisines and techniques.
“I am very grateful to receive the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award. I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow chefs who voted for me,” said Kang. “This award is of special significance because it was voted for by other chefs who share my passion for excellence. While I still have a lot to learn, this award motivates my team and me to reach new heights.”
Berta Rius, Marketing Manager Asia and Pacific for Damm, added: His passion for innovation, while remaining true to tradition, has enabled him to evolve Korean cuisine to the point of delivering a gastronomic experience at the highest level. His creativity, experience and culinary skills have earned him this well-deserved award, which has been voted for by his peers in the industry.”