SARAH H LEE
Originally from Chicago, Sarah left an interior design career to engage various opportunities in the food industry, starting with her own catering business Hanuri. As a Director of Sales in New York, Sarah introduced Kyotofu’s gluten-free dessert line into Whole Foods Market. As Manager of Events for Barn Joo, Sarah generated sales while overseeing operations to open the first Korean gastropub in Manhattan outside of Korea Town. In 2015, Sarah joined the Star Chefs team to coordinate the International Chefs Congress in Brooklyn. In Seoul, she worked as Global Marketing Director for celebrity chef Edward Kwon, while helping friends in the Korean American community launch now proven restaurant brands. Sarah’s acclaimed food blog Seoul in the City has been featured in international food and travel magazines. Lunar New Year 2016, Sarah and her mother, the source of her food inspiration, were featured in a KBS Korean food documentary, airing nationally in Korea. Sarah and her partner Chef Wonil Lee opened Kimbap Lab in 2017 at the Williamsburg Whole Foods, introducing the first all gluten-free Korean Kimbap concept in New York.
Do you have an off-menu family recipe (or description) or a personal intergenerational food story to share?
I don’t have any off-menu family recipes that I can share at the moment, but a little family/food background: My great grandmother-Kang Dong Sun is the founder of the first ‘Pyongyang Nangmyun’ (North Korean Cold Noodles) restaurant in North Korea in 1909.
My parents had a ginseng farm in the 80’s in Wisconsin, and my mother opened the first Korean Samgaetang restaurant (Whole Chicken Soup with Ginseng, sweet rice) in Chicago.
What does being a part of the LUCKYRICE Feast signify to you?
We really support what lucky rice does for the Asian/Asian American food scene across the U.S.!!! You are the leaders in bringing together so many chefs/restaurants in this community, and binding everyone in such a way that allows all of us to be excited again to bring something special to the table. That table is now shared, unifying all of our amazing stories and palates!
What do you think of the Asian food moment right now?
Popularity of different Asian cuisines have been trending in the U.S. at different times. For us, this is an exciting time to share with others what Korean food means to us. I grew up with an American palate, with my mom’s palate, and with my time working in the food industry in Seoul, I was able to learn a lot about what Korean palate truly is. A culmination of all of this is how I am able to reinterpret what Korean food means to me. Kimbap Lab brings a little bit of all of this!
Join Sarah and Kimbap Lab at our BREAKING BAO: INTERGENERATIONAL CULINARY EXPERIENCE – NEW YORK CITY on November 16th at The Bowery Hotel.