Michelin star chef collaborates with hotel to offer affordable gourmet

By Yun Suh-young
Chef Lee Jong-guk
Bukkake udon, one of the “jipbap” dishes created by Lee Jong-guk

Chef Lee Jong-guk’s Korean fine dining restaurant, Gotgan, on Yeouido received two Michelin stars in the first edition of the Michelin Guide published about Seoul, in November last year.

Perched on the 50th floor of the Federation of Korean Industries building, the restaurant was reviewed as one “worth a detour” for its “expertly crafted dishes” with seasonal ingredients. Lee is known for bringing out the elegance and taste of authentic Korean dishes.

The price, however, is set high (between 150,000 to 300,000 won per person for lunch), targeting CEOs and high-income businesspeople in the area. For young people, it’s beyond reach.

But the chef is now offering food that is at the opposite end of the price range. Ranging somewhere between 10,000 won to 30,000 won, the food at Hot Eatsue is affordable and comfortable.

Lee is collaborating with Hot Eatsue, a restaurant located on the top floor of a local boutique hotel, Hotel Cappucino, in Gangnam, southern Seoul. The hotel is owned by Kolon Group, a local textile company expanding its business into the lifestyle sector. Hotel Cappucino is its first boutique hotel in Seoul, other than a couple of resorts it owns in other parts of the country.

Apparently, Kolon Group Chairman Lee Woong-yeul personally recommended Lee as the hotel’s collaborator out of affection for the chef’s creations. Chairman Lee is known to love dining at the hotel, sometimes seen three times a week dining at Hot Eatsue.

Chef Lee Jong-guk began collaborating with the hotel from last November and initiated a “jipbap” (home-cooked meal) style menu ranging from Korean to fusion such as jackmackerel tomato stew and curry “soup.” Using common ingredients, he decided to create dishes that he would serve if he were inviting guests to his house. He will soon be introducing a spring menu starting in May, which he is still developing.

By the end of this year, there will be several differently themed menus created by Lee launched one after another.

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