For foreign housewives, some help in the kitchen

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For foreign housewives, some help in the kitchen

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Foreign housewives are busy cooking at the CJ Cheiljedang cooking class [JoongAng Ilbo]


For foreign housewives completely unfamiliar with Korea, making friends and learning the ins and outs of the Korean kitchen can seem daunting - even impossible.

Enter the Cook and Talk program.

Started by CJ CheilJedang and the Multicultural Family Support Center in Seoul, the program aims to promote cross-cultural friendships. As an added benefit, women learn useful tips in the kitchen.

Not only do participants learn from some talented chefs, but costs are considerably lower than conventional classes - most only charge for the ingredients. The classes promote the products of the host companies.

Teams consist of three members, two Koreans and a foreigner.

“I wanted to make food that my husband likes, but since my mother-in-law is too old to teach me, I wasn’t able to,” said Lee Hyo-dong, a Chinese woman who married into a Korean family four years ago. “All the Korean housewives I meet here are like mothers and sisters to me.”

Cheon Ji-hoon attended Sempio Foods’ organic bean cooking class.

“My children, who usually hate bean paste, are able to get used to it by making it themselves. It is a good opportunity to change their eating habits,” she said.

The Sempio cooking class is popular with housewives because they say it is a guide to a healthy diet - while at the same time bringing the family together.

“The classes are more fun than video games, because I am with my family,” said Lee Ji-hyun, an 11-year-old girl who went to a cooking class with her mother and older brother.

To participate in the classes

* CJ CheilJedang Cook and Talk class collaborates with Seoul’s regional multicultural support centers and invites 15 foreign housewives each month. To get involved, visit the Naver cafe at http://cafe.naver.com/cjcookntalk or call (02) 6740-0765. The classes are free.

* Sempio Foods introduces recipes with bean paste, soy sauce and red pepper paste. The last Tuesday of each month is reserved for a men’s cooking class. The classes are free, but there is a small charge of 10,000 won ($8.95) for ingredients. For more information, visit http://222.sempio.com or call (02) 3393-5593.

* Phillips invites popular cooking bloggers as instructors for its cooking classes. For information, visit www.philips.co.kr or call (02) 3459-8000.

* Pulmuone provides a cooking class and a chance to visit its tofu factory in Eumseong County. All expenses will be covered by the company. For more information, visit www.pulmuone.co.kr or call (080) 022-0085.

* Dongwon F&B provides themed classes that can be enjoyed by the whole family. For more information, visit www.dongwonmall.com.

* Rinnai provides a cooking class called Oven Cook Yori Cook, which focuses on recipes using a Rinnai oven. The classes are free. Visit www.ovencook.com or call (02) 320-5762.

* Dongyang Magic conducts classes according to each housewife’s familiarity with the oven. They have a beginner’s class and an expert class twice every Thursday. There is a limit of 10 people per class. Visit www.magic.co.kr or call (02) 2240-7605.

* Fissler hosts classes according to the cooking ability of each housewife. Costs of the lessons differ according to the theme, but do not surpass 10,000 won. For more information, visit www.fissler.co.kr or call (02) 3448-0266.


By Seo Jeong-min [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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