Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Woosong Culinary Takes Top Awards in World Chef’s Competition

Winners Group Photo Woosong culinary students won 27 medals at a major international culinary competition held in Daejeon in May. The awards included one gold medal won by third year university student Lim Jae Hoon, and 13 silver and 13 bronze medals won by 20 university and college students collectively. The competition was part of the World Association of Chefs Societies’ (WACS) Biannual Congress, which has an 82-year history. In addition to the awards, the five-day event gave Woosong students the opportunity to meet and share ideas with professional chefs and other culinary students from over a dozen countries and all over Korea.

Food1 Woosong students began training for the contest well in advance. “I was in a club to prepare for the competition for five months,” silver medal winner Kim Jina (21) said. Kim and some other students admitted that they did not exactly volunteer for the extra work on their schedules. “I was forced by my professor,” said Kim. However, she appreciates the effort and resources Woosong put into her training. “I didn’t regret joining at all,” she said, “All the fresh materials that I needed were already prepared and enough to use.”

Food2 Some students did not receive the same kind of support that Kim did when preparing for the competition. Gold medal winner Lim Jae Hoon said that after working at SolBan each day, he would practice at home with materials and tools he bought himself. Likewise, graduate student Lim Hyeon Woo (26), who won silver and bronze medals, said that getting ready for WACS was very expensive. “I even had to travel to another city to buy materials,” he said.

According to Lim, he owes his success, in no small part, to the people in his life who helped him in many ways. Lim said that the manager of the restaurant where he works let him use the kitchen to practice, his colleagues assisted in the kitchen, and his parents lent him the money to buy the tools and materials he needed.

Food3 Lim was not the only one to get a little help from his friends. Lee Geon Huae, a double silver medal winner, confesses to stacking the deck in his favor with a little interior decorating advice. “Actually, my girlfriend’s major is design and she designed the wallpaper,” he said, “I heard from someone that I got extra points for the wallpaper.”

Many of the students who won medals have mixed feelings about their experience at WACS. Silver medal winner Lee Mijin (21) said that the event left her feeling “empty.” “WACS made me feel that I have to prepare for other competitions.”

Joo Miran (21) summed up her silver medal win as “the result of a lot of hard work.”

Food4 Sin Joon Cheol, who also won bronze, described the competition as exhausting. “You had to divide your strength day by day strategically,” he said. “Actually we couldn’t sleep for five days.”

Kim Jina said, “I was embarrassed…approximately two hours before starting the competition, the cuisine that I was supposed to make had been changed all of a sudden. So I messed up.”

On the other hand, most students agreed that their medal announcement was a strong emotional experience. “I felt like on cloud 9, and lots of my friends texted me to celebrate,” said Lee Mijin. “It was like a dream,” said Joo Miran. “I didn’t even think that I’d get a bronze, but I made more than bronze.” Lim Hyeon Woo said that after winning his medals he mostly felt really grateful to his parents for their monetary support.

Food6 Students also said that, in the end, they were glad they had participated. “Preparing for this competition was pretty hard,” said Kim Jina, “but looking back on it, I learned a lot, and my cooking skill is much improved.”

Lee Geon Huae said, “As an international competition, the awards could be advantageous to me for getting jobs and promotions.”

“The purpose of the competition was not the medals,” said Sin JoonCheol, “but the experience is really important. I felt it was hard work, but I got many things from it. When I make my resume I will be proud of myself that I got a good score in an international competition.”Food5

Staff writers Jung Seunghwan and Park Seil are currently  Woosong University students majoring in English.


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