Female monk, a culinary icon in Asia

Members of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Academy declared a female Buddhist monk from South Korea as a culinary icon in Asia for 2022. Jeong Kwan, who at age 17 left home to join a Buddhist monastery, immersed herself in the centuries-old traditions and cooking techniques of temple cuisine. On receiving the award, she said: "I am extremely honoured to receive the 2022 Icon Award. I am aware of the difficulties caused by the global pandemic and hope that the situation will improve so we can meet again to share food and positive energy."
Although she has never worked in or owned a restaurant, Jeong's innovative cuisine places her in the vanguard of visionary chefs. The awards-giving body explained that her impeccably crafted dishes reflect her innate creativity, technical skills, and deep respect for seasonal ingredients.
Her culinary creations also caught the attention of international celebrity chef Eric Ripert when he visited Baekyangsa, a seventh-century temple in South Korea. This temple is where Jeong creates her culinary offerings. Enchanted by her dishes, Ripert invited Jeong to New York in 2015 to prepare a meal for select guests. This event led to more international publicity for Jeong, who continues to cook at the hermitage she shares with her fellow monks. Within Jeong's modest kitchen, visitors learn the Buddhist principles that underpin authentic temple food. Her food continues to attract a growing number of devotees to Baekyangsa Temple.

(Image Source: 50 Best)

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