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La Yeon’s chef on being the One To Watch

The Korean restaurant has only been opened for one and a half years and has already made a mark on regional rankings.

Last week, La Yeon in Seoul which serves traditional Korean cuisine in a fine dining setting, not only made its debut in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant awards at number 38, but was also named ‘One to Watch’. The award is given to chefs and restaurants with potential as it might further scale the rankings. Here, chef Kim Sung Il tells us more about his win.

What was the first thing you did after finding out?
I sent a text message to the La Yeon team back in Korea. I wanted to share the good news with them. La Yeon is truly a team effort and without my team I would not have been able to go up on stage and receive that trophy. This has been a great experience for the whole team and we will work harder to provide fine-dining experiences.

Did you expect this? Why?
As La Yeon has only been open for just over a year and a half, we did not expect to be included in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list or win the One to Watch award. We feel very honored to join such a prestigious list and it came as a surprise which was completely unexpected.

What did you do and where did you go to celebrate?
The award was so unexpected it all seems like a dream. After the awards ceremony we stayed on to congratulate and celebrate with the other Chefs. The next evening we celebrated by going out for some local Singaporean food. I will celebrate with the La Yeon team back in Seoul.

How do you think things in the restaurant will change?
Hopefully not much. La Yeon perfects the delicate refinement of Korean Haute Cuisine. We want to capture the elegance, propriety and dignity of traditional Korean cuisine. Providing our guests with a dining experience that can be considered a celebration of Korean culture and history. The La Yeon team and I will continue to work hard to be able to share this with as many people as possible.