If you don’t know this talented chef who has inspired French modern cuisine but still find him really familiar, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is now the co-host of the cooking and travelling series, Kimchi Chronicles. He and his wife, Marja Vongerichten, travel across Korea, discover the culture, the famous, traditional Korean dishes and recreate in their way. This show gives us a further look on Korean cuisine, people in the same time with a variety of amazing recipes that can be easily remade in a home kitchen, especially when you’re in love with Korean flavors.
Though he’s one of the world’s famous chefs, his skills extend far beyond the kitchen. A savvy businessman and formidable restaurateur, Jean-Georges is responsible for the operation and success of a constellation of three and four-star restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Born and raised on the outskirts of Strasbourg in Alsace, France, Jean-Georges’ earliest family memories are about food. The Vongerichten home centered around the kitchen, where each day his mother and grandmother would prepare lunch for the almost 50 employees in their family-owned business.
He trained in a work-study program at the Auberge de l’Ill and as an apprentice to chef Paul Haeberlin, later working with Paul Bocuse and masterchef Louis Outhier at l’Oasis in the south of France. With this impressive three-star Michelin training, Jean-Georges traveled to Asia for positions in Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, , the Meridien Hotel in Singapore and the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong.
It was during this time spent working and travelling in Asia where he developed his love for the exotic and aromatic flavors of the East. His signature ‘vibrant cuisine’ abandons the traditional use of meat stocks, instead featuring intense flavors and satisfying texture resulting from the use of vegetable juices and fruit essences, light broths and herbal vinaigrettes. Jean-Georges’ culinary vision and execution have defined both professional standards for the industry and the way in which Americans eat.
New York wrote that in the past two decades, no single chef has had more influence on the way New Yorkers dine out—or on the way other chefs cook and other restaurants look. “He invented America’s answer to nouvelle cuisine,” says Mario Batali. “When I first came to New York, his book Simple Cuisine was the holy grail for young chefs, and JoJo was the hottest ticket in town.”
Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987, but the French chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres has disputed that, arguing that such a dish already existed in France. According to Vongerichten, he pulled a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was done and found that the center was still runny, but was warm and had both a good taste and a good texture.
Throughout his career, Jean-Georges has published cookbooks reflecting his influential style of cooking, including Simple Cuisine (Wiley, 1990), Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef (Broadway Books, 1998), for which he won the Best Cookbook Award from the James Beard Foundation in 1999, Simple to Spectacular (Broadway Books, 2000). In October 2007, Asian Flavors of Jean-Georgeswas published, featuring beloved recipes from his restaurants Spice Market, Vong and 66. 4 years later, in November 2011, Home Cooking with Jean-Georges followed the success and became one of the kitchen favorites.
Involved in every aspect of his restaurants, from concept and menu to architectural design, staff selection and finishing touches, he and partner Phil Suarez have worked together for over 16 years to create restaurants that are both timely and enduring. Inspired by his travels, Jean-Georges is constantly creating fresh ideas and evolving as a chef and restaurateur, both adapting to and impacting the global culinary landscape. Until now, he owns more than 30 luxury restaurants all over the world.