British food fans are being offered a chance to cook with Michelin-Star chef Marco Pierre White, and famed former S Club 7 Star and 90s icon Rachel Stevens in an exciting Korean Kimchi competition announced today.
Two competition winners will have the chance to become the two celebrities’ sous-chefs for the day, to create a show stopping dish, centred around their own recipe – a traditional Korean dish, Kimchi.
In the last 18 months, Google trends shows that Kimchi related searches have increased by 50%, with 60,500 searches in January 2020 to 90,500 searches in June 2021. Now widely available at supermarkets, restaurants and eateries, five years ago it was barely on the radar for casual diners, with searches at around 400% higher now than in 2016.
Previously the youngest chef to hold three Michelin stars, and now a leading restaurateur, White said: “Korean food is among the most flavoursome cuisine to cook, and its rice, seafood and vegetable dishes tell the unique story of Korea’s traditions and culture.
“Kimchi represents the essence of Korea, it is served with almost every meal, and it’s inspirational as a palate cleanser, perfect to enhance the flavours of classic British dishes such as a pork pie or scotch egg. More diners and cooks in the UK are becoming intrigued by it. So, I’m excited to show our winners how it can be cooked, eaten and shared at home.”
Rachel Stevens joined the competition to represent the UK’s increasing interest in Korean food and culture. Speaking of her love for the cuisine, Stevens said: “I was fascinated by Kimchi for a long time. It appeared exciting, daring and colourful and I loved the traditions behind it. When I finally got to try it, Korean food became my go-to for takeaways and eating-out, and it still is.
“I think Marco is the perfect chef to demonstrate that dishes like Kimchi can be made and enjoyed in any kitchen, at any time – and I can’t wait to join the winners in learning how it’s done!”
The sudden popularity of the Korean delicacy has been remarkable. Many exporters previously believed that Kimchi was an acquired taste at-odds with western preferences. But the science of gut health and a wave of interest in Korean culture has generated new intrigue in Kimchi.
Korean kimchi is traditionally a vegetable dish that has been salted, seasoned and fermented. Napa cabbage and Korean radish make up a large part of the dish, with additional seasonings that can differ from one recipe to the next.
Scientists now believe that the stomach is more essential to overall health than previously thought. A healthy gut is now understood to help prevent cancer and diabetes and guard against several neurological diseases.
And the growth of South Korean culture – via K-pop and Oscar winning cinema – has spiked curiosity regarding Korean food culture. It is now often presented as on-trend and aspirational, with Kimchi emblematic of this cultural and culinary rise.
Joining Marco Pierre White and Rachel Stevens are Korea Agro Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, who, given the new interest in Korean dishes, will film the winners cooking with Pierre White, in the grounds and kitchen of his beautiful eatery near Bath, The Rudloe Arms Hotel and Restaurant.
The competition is open to amateur cooks of all abilities to enter between the 21st June – 25th July, simply visit Instagram @kookingkimchi_ to find out how to enter.