Tranquil dining in Seoul’s secret sanctuary

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Tranquil dining in Seoul’s secret sanctuary


Hans-Werner Vogt Executive Chef Sheraton Grande Walkerhill

Cooking isn’t all that difficult, according to Hans-Werner Vogt, the executive chef at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in eastern Seoul.

All you need are good ingredients, some simple equipment and the desire to cook for those you love.

Vogt’s philosophy as chef coincides with his specialty, which is always based on fresh ingredients and tasty food such as regional dishes from Europe and simple but tasty Asian food.

This is Vogt’s second time in Korea. He worked as an area executive chef at the Westin Chosun Hotel from 1997 to 2004 and he’s been executive chef at the Walkerhill since 2006.


Mandarin chicken salad. [JoongAng Ilbo]

“I came to Korea a second time because I like it here,” he says. “I like the people and many of its traditions as well as the four seasons.”

There is one more reason: He enjoys the many fine restaurants in town, especially Zen Hideaway, an Asian dining and wine bar in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul.

“Whenever I take my friends to Zen Hideaway they’re surprised to see such a tranquil dining place in the busy streets of Seoul,” he says. “It’s Seoul’s secret sanctuary.”

The ethnic interior design gives him a feeling of comfort and relaxation, and he likes the artificial pond outside the restaurant’s garden surrounded by tropical trees and plants.

The menu includes a range of Asian dishes, from pumpkin croquet (10,000 won, $7.24) and salmon vegetable roll (16,000 won) to spicy chicken, mushroom salad (19,000 won) to tuna garlic steak (24,000 won).

There are branches of Zen Hideaway in Sinsa-dong, Myeong-dong in central Seoul and in Hongdae, northern Seoul.

To visit the Sinsa-dong branch, go to Sinsa Station, line No. 3, exit 1. For reservations, call (02) 541-1461.

Hans-Werner Vogt, the executive chef at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill, is from Germany. He started his career as a chef in 1966 as an apprentice in his home country. He has worked in many Asian countries including Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand.

By Lee Eun-joo []
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