Hi, I’m Lis. I love food and I love to cook. I’m an ordinary, everyday person but I’ve been cooking almost everyday for the last 15 years or so. In that time, something happened that I didn’t intend: I became a cook.
My roots began in Halmoni’s kitchen. Halmoni is my Korean grandmother. As a child, I loved this world full of weirdly awesome ingredients. Spicy gochujang, fermented bean paste, ginseng soup, quivering tofu, pickled daikon — I loved it all! We squatted on the kitchen floor, mixed food by hand, and tasted everything together.
When I left home, The Food Network became an easy source of inspiration. I watched lots of Ina and Giada. My table reflected their influence: I cooked like I lived in the Hamptons or came from an Italian American background. Culturally and geographically, this did not reflect my life at all! But the food was good and the recipes easy enough to execute.
Then my best friend gifted me The America’s Test Kitchen Cook Book. I dived into this recipe book, loving all the technical details. That’s when I really started experimenting and focusing on technique. I read all the cookbooks I could find.
When I became a mom, my kitchen took on another dimension: messy, joyful, chaotic, fun. I cooked with a baby strapped to my back and a toddler sprinkling oregano bits onto the floor. I invited my kids into my kitchen and we cooked and tasted together. During this time, I began cooking more comfort food from my childhood — Korean banchan (side dishes), soups, and stews. I wanted my children to know and taste the joys of perfect rice, seaweed soup, fluffy steamed egg, and spicy pickled kimchi.
Through it all, one thing never changed: there always seemed to be an excuse to invite someone over for dinner. I grew up in a house where the door was open and the table full of food. Hospitality was embedded in my family genes, you could say. Even though I learned how to cook for my family of five, it wasn’t enough. It became a habit to invite people over for a meal. Nowadays, I host between 4-10x a month. When it’s been more than a week without company for dinner, it just doesn’t feel the same.
I love to cook because I love the way food brings people together. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. When you sit down together over a meal, you will find commonality around the table.
I’ve thrown big parties (50+) and small parties (4-6), and everything in between. No matter where I’ve lived, or the size of my home, people have always come over for a meal! There have been plenty of spectacular failures, too. But each time, I’ve learned a little bit more about what works and what doesn’t work. Now I hope to share that love of food and bringing people together with you.
I believe we each have a mission to create love and kindness in the world. My mission is at the table. It may not seem like much, but the table is more powerful than you think. Through a simple, ordinary meal we take a step towards breaking down the many divisions between us.
World peace has to start somewhere. Why not at the table?