Galleria holds first cooking contest for non-Koreans

Today, grocers aren’t merely just food providers, they’re often purveyors of food culture.

With Korean movies and music–Gangnam style by Korean rapper PSY having gone viral recently–hotter than ever, especially among non-Koreans, it’s not a surprise that Korean food has also gained popularity in the mainstream population.

Galleria's Jeffrey Min welcomes media, guests to the cooking competition.

Knowing this, one of Canada’s leading ethnic grocers, Korean grocer Galleria Supermarket, held its first annual Korean cooking contest for non-Koreans at its York Mills branch last Friday to raise awareness of Korean food and culture.

“We are not just a supermarket, but a an ambassador for Korean culture,” said Jeffrey Min, owner of Galleria Supermarket.

Among 30 entries to the competition, sponsored by Liberterre, eight were selected to compete, consisting of three men and five women.

There were 8 contestants in the cooking competition.

Competitors had to create two dishes in one hour.

Galleria aims to be the Korean culture ambassador.

Competitors were selected from 30 entries.

Each contestant had to create two dishes; the first one was the classic Korean side dish, kimchi (pickled spicy cabbage); the second was a creative dish using kimchi as one ingredient.

Various dishes using kimchi as ingredient.

Galleria's Jeffrey Min, tastes tests the dishes.

The judging panelists included: Luis Londono (director of LiberTerre Meat;, Jina Choi (head chef, Galleria Supermarket); Paul Hwang (food journalist, Korea Times Daily); Amy Rosen (Chatelaine food editor); and Nancy Kwon (managing editor, Canadian Grocer).

All the judges were impressed by the talented group of competitors, and were impressed by the various dishes created.

“I thought all of the dishes were really flavourful and cooked from the heart,” said Amy Rosen, food editor of Chatelaine. “No fancy stuff, just good home cooking with lots of spice. That’s what I look for in my Korean food.”

First prize went to Phyllis Au-Yeung for her mixed rice dish with pork and vegetables, who won a $300 gift certificate to Galleria; second prize won $200; third prize $100.

The first prize winner, Phyllis Au-Yeung, with Jeffrey Min.