[SO WHAT ELSE ... ?]The pain it takes to do a job easily

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[SO WHAT ELSE ... ?]The pain it takes to do a job easily

"He can do it pretty quick," we say of someone who carries out his task effortlessly. That was the case with Eleazar Martinez, the Honduran chef at Korean restaurant Woo Lae Oak in New York City.

When he held a pair of long chopsticks to cook Korean noodles in the hot frying pan, he made it seem as if anyone could do it -- stir, shake and toss again, finishing up with the best-tasting japchae. But those elegant movements took him 14 years to learn. The time included walking, hitch-hiking and working his way on a long, life-threatening 5,000-kilometer journey from his hometown in Honduras to California. He washed dishes and rice. He made dumplings, countless numbers of them, while learning Korean curses from his angry bosses. He sent his money home so that his poor family could survive, but he lost his mother: As he speaks, his eyes moisten.

The recipe of life: Talent often is developed by pain and time. Eleazar Martinez is featured on Page W-4 today.

E-mail me at inescho@ joongang.co.kr.
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