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Every day is a new tasting day in Korea

Chef ’s Special: Frederic Nef

May 07,2009
Frederic Nef, Executive Chef JW Marriott Seoul
Frederic Nef’s criteria for good food are met when the plate is empty and your stomach is full, an order he is finding is not hard to fill here in Korea.

Nef, the executive chef at the JW Marriott Seoul in southern Seoul, says he didn’t know much about Korean cuisine before arriving here earlier this year, and he hadn’t expected to see so much culinary diversity in one place.

Korean restaurants are a rarity in Nef’s home city of Paris, where foreign restaurants focus mainly in Mexican, Cantonese and Chinese food. Now, every day is a new tasting day, he says.

Things got even better three weeks ago when his Korean friends took him to Nolboo Yuhwang Ori, a restaurant that serves grilled sulfur-fed duck in Banpo-dong, southern Seoul. He has been back twice already and is well on his way to becoming a regular customer.

Nolboo Yuhwang Ori’s grilled sulfur-fed duck. Provided by the restaurant
The duck is served whole and stuffed with 23 ingredients including rice and nuts and cooked in an earthenware oven for 3 hours. At 55,000 won ($43.40) it is certainly a serious meal, but diners are not likely to leave hungry. “The dish has a good combination of nutrition,” he said.

After Nef and his wife’s first visit to the restaurant, three weeks ago, the plate was clean. It would seem Nef’s criteria for good food were well met.


To reach the restaurant, take Express Bus Terminal subway station, lines No. 3 and 7, exit 7. Opening hours are from noon to 10 p.m. Reservations are necessary. For more information, call (02) 6282-5292 or visit www.nolboo.co.kr.

Frederic Nef has worked as an executive chef for the Marriott chain since 2005, when he was hired by the Beirut Marriott Hotel in Lebanon. Before coming to Seoul in January this year, he was the executive chef for the Marriott Paris Rive Gauche Hotel for a little over a year. He has 27 years of experience in the kitchens of hotels and military clubs in Europe, the Middle East and Russia.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]



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