K-Pod Ep. 9: Jenny Kwak (Chef & Restaurateur)




Jenny Kwak put Korean food on the map when she opened the restaurant Dok Suni in New York’s East Village in 1992 when she was just 19.  Later, she opened a second successful restaurant, Do Hwa, where Quentin Tarantino was famously an investor. Catherine and Juliana catch up with the pioneering chef-restaurateur at her new Brooklyn restaurant, Haenyeo, where she’s flexing her creativity with dishes like cajun-inflected dduk boki. Jenny talks about her thwarted plans to be a painter; the rollicking early days of Dok Suni; her ambivalence about celebrity chef culture and her close relationship with her mom (who still keeps her kimchi recipe a secret, even from Jenny).

Follow Haenyo @haenyeobk and Jenny Kwak @jennyk.bk on Instagram.


K-Pod, a production of KoreanAmericanStory.org, is a series dedicated to the stories of Korean Americans in arts and culture. Hosts Catherine Hong and Juliana Sohn talk to artists, writers, designers, directors, musicians, chefs and other creatives about their work, their lives, and how they came to forge their careers.

Follow on Instagram: @kpodpod
Watch on YouTube: youtube.com/koreanamericanstoryorg
Questions or Comments? k-pod@koreanamericanstory.org



Juliana Sohn has photographed portraits, interiors, food, travel, and documentary for New York Times, T Style Magazine, Topic Magazine, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair and many others. Her personal work highlights the stories of young people. You can follow her on Instagram @juliana_sohn and @anditwasalright. Check out her website at julianasohn.com.


Catherine Hong has worked as an editor at Vogue, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, Us Weekly, W magazine, and InStyle. These days she’s a freelance writer focusing on design, food and children’s books. You can follow her on instagram @catherinehong100.