Leave it to a hip young chef to launch a project devoted to, well, other hip young chefs. New York chef and Eater Young Gun Deuki Hong is doing just that with his forthcoming hospitality group, which will function similarly to a talent agency for the burgeoning culinary crowd.
The Momofuku and Culinary Institute of America alum recently left his role as chef at the beloved New York outpost of Korean barbecue chain Kang Ho Dong Baekjong to focus on the endeavor. However, he says he has no plans to grow it as large as restaurant powerhouses like Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group.
Instead, the agency will serve as an incubator for restaurants from chefs who, like Hong, are young and talented, but may lack resources. He hopes to assemble a cadre of young talent that will be, as he tells Eater NY, “an Avengers of the food world.”
Among the hospitality group’s first projects will be a casual restaurant focused on fermentation, to open as early as next year. Fermentation has become increasingly trendy in the culinary scene, with restaurants like LA’s Baroo garnering praise for their inventive uses of the technique. Hong tells Eater NY the forthcoming downtown Manhattan restaurant will have Korean influences.
Hong has received plenty of acclaim for his talent in the kitchen, even releasing a cookbook earlier this year, but says he isn’t interested in having chef-driven restaurants be the focus of his new hospitality group.
"Let’s keep the focus off the celebrity-ness and chef-ness," he tells Eater NY. "It’s great, but at the end of the day, we’re here to serve you guys."
• Chef Deuki Hong Is Starting Hospitality Group With a Fermentation Restaurant [ENY]