—Korean Medicinal Cuisine Chef
Ellis Jung, currently located in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a Korean medicinal chef and Youtuber. Her love of kimchi compelled her to launch her first cookbook on Korean Kimchi.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
After I met my Korean husband (5 years ago), and studied his family Korean cooking recipes, we opened the first Korean restaurant in Georgia. We were running this restaurant for 3 years but due to our family situations, we closed the restaurant and now we promote Korean food and culture via our YouTube channel and Social Media. I am currently engaged in a detailed study of Korean Court Cuisine and Herbalism.
What was your first encounter with cooking/first awareness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
My introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Korean Traditional Medicine came through cooking. In Asian countries, food and medicine are one and the same in my opinion. For better nutrition, you also need to know medicine. Korean cuisine and medicine is based on the infusion of fundamentals from China and is complemented by local specialties, ingredients, and research. Korean Traditional Medicine book has the name Dongui Bogam (동의보감). This was compiled by the royal physician, Heo Jun (1539 – 1615), and was first published in 1613, during the Joseon Dynasty of Korea.
What are your must-haves in your kitchen?
I can't imagine my kitchen without a supply of kimchi. It is the main side dish on the Korean table and the main ingredient in many dishes. Also, I always need a steamer. In Korean traditional cuisine, there is no baking in the oven and this kind of food is cooked in a steamer.
What's your opinion on "food as medicine"? What is a food-based item that you take/consume for wellness?
In my opinion, proper nutrition is medicine. Nutrition according to the seasons and, accordingly, the individual characteristics of the body is the best medicine and prevention.
My regular consumables are ginger and honey. I take them as tea and use them in my diet. And I eat Kimchi every day! Kimchi is a natural probiotic for the intestinal microflora, therefore it helps to strengthen the immune system, reduce weight, and fight inflammation. Kimchi is also rich in antioxidants.
Briefly describe the style of your cuisine in a couple of sentences.
The style of my cooking is based on the seasonality of food and yin yang school system (음양오행설/ five elements, five cardinal points, five flavors, five colors) as the basis of Korean cooking, especially the Joseon Era Court Cuisine. Incorporating all five colors and flavors into Korean dishes as a culinary embodiment of the cosmogonic idea of harmony in all things in the universe. The uniqueness of Korean cuisine lies in the combination of visual and flavor codes in each dish.
Which body constitution do you have and how will your daily ritual change after finding out?
I have long wanted to know my body constitution and I was finally able to do it on your website! My body constitution is Phlegm-Dampness 痰濕. This information helped me better understand why despite the small and seasonal dietary portions of food, an active lifestyle, I have difficulty losing weight. This knowledge made it more clear on how to plan my diet and lifestyle.
Find out your body constitution here!