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CJ CheilJedang Held the bibigo Chef Challenge Cook-off for the U.S.'s Budding Chefs

2019.07.23

CJ CheilJedang has embarked on nurturing chefs who will lead the globalization of Korean food in the United States. On July 15, CJ CheilJedang announced that it had participated as a sole sponsor in a cook-off event hosted by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) located in New York and held the bibigo Chef Challenge Cook-off. One of the world's top three culinary schools, the CIA has produced some of the best chefs in the United States and holds an annual event where the best recipes for the year's theme are selected.

A chicken dish that used bibigo Kkakdugi and bibigo Gochujang was picked No.1 at the cook-off

The winner of the cook-off held at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York smiles in a commemorative photo shoot after receiving prize money of 5,000 USD from CJ CheilJedang's Food Marketing Division general manager Eun-kyung Son
▲ The winner of the cook-off held at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York
smiles in a commemorative photo shoot after receiving prize money of
5,000 USD from CJ CheilJedang's Food Marketing Division general manager Eun-kyung Son

The students who participated in the cook-off were tasked with developing new, creative Korean dishes using one of bibigo's main products: dumplings, gochujang, seaweed, kimchi, and bulgogi sauce. Eight finalists were chosen in a video contest that took place in May, and ultimately, three final contestants were selected from among them. The winner was awarded 5,000 USD, and the runner-up and the third-place finisher were given 3,000 and 2,000 USD, respectively.

The winning dish was "Go Go Chicken Biscuits with Radish Salsa," which was created using bibigo Kkakdugi and bibigo Gochujang. The dish features crispy pieces of chicken tossed in gochujang, which are stuffed in biscuits and eaten together with a salsa made using finely chopped kkakdugi.

The final screening was participated in by CJ CheilJedang's Food Marketing Division general manager Eun-kyung Son, CIA professor David Kamen, CEO of digital food channel Foodbeast, and other New York food influencers. The judges assessed the dishes based on criteria such as understanding of bibigo and Korean food, and the creativity of the dish as well as of its plating. The dish that was chosen as the winner captivated the taste buds of all judges with its original and creative taste. That the dish reflected American local food culture while staying true to the original taste of Korean food was also a big factor in its win.

The runner-up spot was taken by "Kimchi Rice Quesadilla with Seaweed Chips," which is kimchi fried rice quesadilla sprinkled with seaweed chips. The dish was received favorably because the quesadilla was made using kimchi fried rice to facilitate the eating of kimchi without feeling any aversion and then sprinkled with seaweed chips made using bibigo Seaweed for added crispiness. The third-place finisher was "Dirty Water Buddha Dog," a spicy sausage stew-themed hot dog made using bibigo Kimchi and gochujang sauce. Of the event and his prize win, third-place Michael Gottschau said, "I think my dish received good marks because I added a Korean flavor to the hot dog, a food that is enjoyed most commonly in the U.S., at places such as food trucks. The cook-off provided me with an opportunity to learn about the charm of Korean food."

U.S. millennials showed great interest in the Korean food cook-off, livestreaming it on social media

Through the cook-off, CJ CheilJedang has raised awareness of Korean food and the bibigo brand not only among CIA students who are soon going to work as chefs in the U.S. but also among local millennials. The CEO of Foodbeast which runs a digital food channel popular among millennials, as well as other famous food bloggers, livestreamed the cook-off via digital channels and social media platforms, eliciting great interest in the dishes created by the final three contestants.

"This cook-off was planned to promote the excellence of Korean food and the Korean food brand bibigo, and at the same time to nurture talented Korean food chefs," said CJ CheilJedang's Food Marketing Division general manager Eun-kyung Son. "Tasting the excellent dishes created by fusing American local food culture with bibigo products convinced us that the globalization of Korean food is truly possible, and bibigo will take the lead on this mission."