IF YOUR MIND IS A PRISONER OF YOUR LIMITED THOUGHTS, HELP IT BREAK FREE. TRAVEL

- SAJJID MITHA

IF YOUR MIND IS A PRISONER OF YOUR LIMITED THOUGHTS, HELP IT BREAK FREE. TRAVEL
- SAJJID MITHA

ASIA’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS ANNOUNCES CHO HEE-SOOK IS ASIA’S BEST FEMALE CHEF 2020

Cho Hee-sook, a respected authority on traditional Korean cuisine and chef-owner of Hansikgonggan in Seoul, has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2020. Chef Cho will be presented with her award at the ceremony for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, on Tuesday 24th March in Saga Prefecture, Japan.

Mr William Drew

The award forms part of the 50 Best organisation’s mission to honour role models who have made a positive impact on Asia’s restaurant scene. William Drew, Director of Content at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “The Best Female Chef award celebrates female chefs whose dedication, skills and creativity set new standards in gastronomic excellence. Cho Hee-sook epitomises the spirt of this award with her lifelong commitment to advancing Korean cuisine through training, education and mentorship.”

Described as the godmother of Korean cuisine, Chef Cho has spent most of her career sharing her in-depth knowledge of Korean cooking with young chefs, ensuring her country’s unique culinary traditions and recipes are passed on to future generations. Celebrated chef Mingoo Kang of Mingles restaurant in Seoul credits Chef Cho as one of his most influential mentors, adding she has “spent her life developing Korean cuisine”.

Cho developed her cooking skills working in the kitchens of Seoul’s premium hotels before being appointed executive chef at the South Korean embassy in Washington DC, USA. Returning home in 2006, Cho focused on culinary research, exploring local ingredients and nurturing young talent. She inspired many gastronomy students as a professor at Woosong University.

Chef Cho Hee-sook

Cho developed her cooking skills working in the kitchens of Seoul’s premium hotels before being appointed executive chef at the South Korean embassy in Washington DC, USA. Returning home in 2006, Cho focused on culinary research, exploring local ingredients and nurturing young talent. She inspired many gastronomy students as a professor at Woosong University.

In 2019, Cho’s career took a new direction when she became chef-owner of Hansikgonggan, an intimate Michelin-starred Korean restaurant located next to Seoul’s Changdeok Palace. Specialising in royal court cuisine, Hansikgonggan celebrates centuries-old dishes that date back to the Joseon dynasty. While Cho honours traditional Korean cooking techniques, she has reinterpreted the historic recipes through modern ingredients, fine-dining elements and stylish plating. Refined yet accessible, the eight-course dinner menu is respectful of Korea’s culinary heritage but is designed to appeal to a new generation of diners. Hansikgonggan illustrates Chef Cho’s combination of expertise and creative vision to move her national cuisine forward through dishes such as her interpretation of Korea’s traditional pine nut porridge, enriched with abalone, shrimp and scallops.


Accepting the prestigious award, Cho says: “Having mentored many young chefs throughout my career, I hope this award serves as an inspiration for other Asian female chefs to follow their passions, be ambitious and share their knowledge with others.”

The Best Female Chef Award series

The Best Female Chef Award – which features as part of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants – celebrates and rewards successful women who have risen to the top of the gastronomic world.

Previous holders of the Asia’s Best Female Chef title include Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava from Thailand (2013), Lanshu Chen from Taiwan (2014), Hong Kong’s Vicky Lau (2015), Margarita Forés of the Philippines (2016), May Chow from Hong Kong (2017) as well as Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun (2018) and Garima Arora (2019), both based in Thailand.

Winners of The World’s Best Female Chef Award include Anne-Sophie Pic, Elena Arzak, Nadia Santini, Helena Rizzo, Hélène Darroze, Dominique Crenn, Ana Roš, Clare Smyth and Daniela Soto-Innes. In Latin America, the title has been held by chefs Elena Reygadas, Roberta Sudbrack, Kamilla Seidler, Leonor Espinosa, Pía León and Carolina Bazán.

How the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled

The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’, with a 50/50 gender balance in the Academy. There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. For more details on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit: https://www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en/voting/the-voting-system

ENDS

Notes to Editors:
William Reed Business Media
The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is published by William Reed Business Media, which also publishes The World's 50 Best Restaurants, launched in 2002, and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, launched in September 2013, as well as The World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars. William Reed Business Media is entirely responsible for the organisation of the awards, the voting system and the list.

Host Destination: Saga Prefecture
Saga is blessed with abundant nature, including two unique seas: the Ariake Sea, with expansive mudflats to the south; and the picturesque Genkai Sea to the north – as well as clean water springing from gently sloping mountains and vast, fertile plains. This has allowed Saga to produce the best quality nori (dried seaweed) in Japan; the Saga beef brand; sake awarded first place at the International Wine Challenge, and many amazing products. Saga is also the birthplace of Japanese porcelain, being home to Arita ware, which enthralled European nobility in the 17th century.

Main sponsor: S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna

S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna are the main sponsors of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna are the leading natural mineral waters in the fine dining world. Together they interpret Italian style worldwide as a synthesis of excellence, pleasure and well-being.

Other partners:
Miele – Official Kitchen Appliance Partner, Presenting Partner of #50BestTalks and sponsor of Miele One To Watch Award
American Express – Official Credit Card Partner and sponsor of American Express Icon Award
Inedit Damm – Official Beer Partner and sponsor of Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award
Gin Mare – Official Premium Gin Partner and sponsor of Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award
Valrhona – Official Chocolate Partner and sponsor of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef Award
Beronia – Official Wine Partner
Aspire Lifestyle – Official Concierge Partner
The Dalmore – Official Whisky Partner
illycaffè – Official Coffee Partner
Cinco Jotas – Official Ibérico Ham Partner
Legle – Official Porcelain Partner and sponsor of Highest Climber Award
Frontier Tojo – Official Sake Partner

Non-commercial partners:
Food Made Good Global – Sustainability Audit Partner
Deloitte – Official Independent Adjudication Partner

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants – social media
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This release is also available in the following languages:
English, Japanese, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. The official language of the press office is English.

Note to media: To register for and access the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants online media centre, please visit

For press enquiries, please contact CatchOn, A Finn Partners Company
Email: asias50best@finnpartners.com
Telephone: +852 2566 8988


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