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“Prime” time culture clash at Bon Appétit’s Vegas Uncork’d

4 years, 6 months ago Comments Off on “Prime” time culture clash at Bon Appétit’s Vegas Uncork’d


Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport, Marja Vongerichten, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Photo by Isaac Brekken, Bon AppétitA clash of cultures. There’s no other way to describe combining the very differing cuisines of Korea and France. Although seemingly incompatible, renowned French Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his wife Marja, host of “Kimchi Chronicles” on PBS, have found a way to not only make the cuisines work beautifully together, but marriage too.

Vegas Uncork’d attendees were offered a front row seat to the inner-workings of the couple’s relationship in addition to a lunch the duo created combining Korean and French food during Chronicles of A Couple That Cooks Together at Bellagio’s Prime steakhouse.

The first thing Marja ever made for the famed French chef was Mac ‘n Cheese with four cheeses (mild, cheddar, extra sharp and Havarti) with no breadcrumbs or Roux. When asked if Marja was nervous the first time she cooked for Jean-Georges she replied that she told him, “If you don’t like it, I don’t want to hear it.”

One thing the inventor of the Chocolate Molten Cake realized soon after meeting Marja was that “you didn’t have to cook something for 24 hours, you could make something in four minutes and without a ½ lb. of butter,” he jested.

Chef Jean-Georges and Marja learned to combine the food cultures of their two countries and presented us with a taste. Guests began the Korean/French food journey with Herbed Mung Bean Pancakes, which were very much like a crunchy potato latke. Calling it “a very traditional Korean dish that’s peasant food” Chef Jean-Georges offered his influence by adding smoked salmon and caviar.

In addition to the planned courses, guests were treated to Korean side dishes of spinach, seaweed, bean sprouts, daikon, sour pickles, and Kimchi. Of the sides Marja told the crowd “no Korean cooks this at home, forget it, it takes to long.” Chef Jean-Georges jumped in to add, “The first time I opened the refrigerator after moving in with her, I thought someone had died in there,” he reported of Kimchi’s distinct aroma.

For our main course we were encouraged to combine Kobe Ribeye prepared “Bulgogi” style with Marja’s Korean sides and Kimchi fried rice by rolling everything up in lettuce tacos. The Wagyu beef was very rich and the sour pickles and seaweed made a nice complement to its rich taste giving texture and crunch to the beef.

Although Marja prefers a savory way to finish a meal, we had a Passion Fruit Sunflower, complete with crisp meringue and vanilla pastry cream that was like a mousse. Between the citrus of the passion fruit and the sweetness of the vanilla cream it was a very refreshing way to finish a spicy meal. As for dessert at the Vongerichten house, Marja prefers it as her first course so she can go to bed with a savory taste still on her tongue.

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