P|R|O| F| I | L |E
.Graduated from the photograph department in Seoul Institute of Art at 1991
.Entered MBC as actor of public invitation at 1998
.Owner Chef of loose kitchen from 2009, July
Chung Shinwoo(CHUNG), the First Male Food stylist in Korea, has always a word of flourish. Before the Sookmyung Times (SMT) decided to interview with him, the flourish became burden because it made his image not only majestic but also proud, another word, arrogant. However, as entered loose kitchen located around Hongik University and talked with him, SMT realized his warm and kind personality towards not only food but also people. On the contrary, the honored title as the first male food stylist shades his humanism. The Food stylist CHUNG needs any decoration because he is brilliant with only his humanism.
SMT You are the first male food stylist in Korea. So I think you had a lot of difficulties when you
started this job. Please tell me about one of those.
CHUNG Since I have already been known to the public, people don’t look at me strangely now when I go to see dishes and items related to the food style, however, it caused a lot of misunderstanding at first. People often said that I am not only a gay but also chose this job to approach rich women who participates same job. Recently, the prejudice to the food stylist has been mostly resolved and does not bother me, but still exists. Most people bring to mind metro-sexual image about man food stylist. Of course, this job requires delicate and sense of beauty but most male food stylists are manly than metro sexual. Without challenge, economic power, physical strength and endurance, one could not keep on working in this field.
SMT Are these things (challenge, economic power, physical strength and endurance) virtue for
becoming food stylist?
CHUNG It is not virtue but the basic condition for food stylist. Financial support, strength and
endurance are prior to challenger spirit. Without these three conditions, becoming food stylist is too
hard. This job needs enormous economic power. Not only under educational institution, no matter
how short, it would be about three to four years, but also during assist in training, this job is almost
non-income. Without other job, even with other income, this job pressures student. Therefore, in this field, most food stylists are daughter of wealth family. Therefore, if you don’t have economical
supporter, you need to endurance and strength to fill the economical burden. Not only economical
problem, this job is above the average to use up one’s strength because the work is not only
concentrate on just cook, but also setting and even mediate between photographers and director.
SMT Are there any hardship because of lack among these three conditions
CHUNG Needless to say I underwent the hardship, especially, from the economical pressure. Once I met the matter, I was skeptical about my job. During the skepticism, I met my mentor and masters. If I didn’t meet them, I cannot accomplish my present status. However, I don’t think the thankful karma is not just coincidence. Up to this karma, I did my best. I worked with enthusiasm and passion so that whoever saw me can recognize how I love this job. During these moments, the karma just comes to me.
SMT In your blog and cafe, your nickname is butterfly for appetite, shicktamnabi. What does it mean?
CHUNG Not only have I thought butterfly is mysterious existence but I have many interesting Eastern ideas. In the Zhangtsu’s book, the butterfly is depicted as pursuing Utopia. It is just my desire pursuing continuously beauty, especially, gourmandism, in Korean sikdorak.
SMT What is specific means of gourmandism, sikdorak?
CHUNG Surprisingly, there are many people who really don’t understand about pleasure from food.
Many people access to food as concept of quantity over quality. I NEVER intend to say that people should take luxury food. Getting pleasure from luxury food is not shikdorak but misik even both are translated in English as gourmandism. Shikdorak and misik are completely different concept. I mean shikdorak is pleasure looking for foods which maximizes satisfaction with minimum price. It means having composure in looking for tastier noodles that fill one’s satisfaction even it takes 3500 won.
SMT Do you have something to want to talk to the youth?
CHUNG Never follow the money instead of realizing your dream. Every working is not easy but these days, the youth are subject to judge their course or future by an annual salary. The students who want to be a food stylist always ask “How much is your pay?” If one chooses this job just because he or she wants to make a big money or one estimates only the splendid external features, I would say they may as well give up doing food stylist. All jobs are the same. Even if one makes a lot of money, it is not meaningful where one doesn’t find job which they really like to do, and doesn’t do their best. So I hope that people find the job or work which they enjoy and like to do. Also, I hope that people spend their enthusiasm for pleasant life.