Meet Hi Soo

Hi! I was born and raised in Chung-ju, South Korea. I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul and a “certificate” from Le Cordon Bleu de Paris, France. In my senior year, my first novel, “The Beautiful Prisoner’s Suit” won the grand prize in a prestigious national novel contest. It was published, serialized in a newspaper and made into a movie by Korea’s eminent director, Shin Sang-Ok. I married my American husband, Larry, and moved to Seattle in 1962. We and our daughter, Sonya, returned to Korea on Larry’s Fulbright in 1969 and for the next 25 years we travelled around the globe according to his assignments as a professor and administrator for the University of Maryland University College. During our life in College Park, Maryland, Heidelberg, Germany, Seoul, Korea and Bangkok, Thailand, we met many different and interesting people and studied their languages and cultures, especially their food culture. I soon realized that people knew little about Korean food and, in fact, I felt Korean food culture was close to losing its identity. I put my novel writing aside to focus on Korean food. Looking for a stage, I hit upon the idea of using my family kitchen of the 1930’s and 40’s to portray Korea’s authentic traditional food culture and way of life. Our three generation family–grandmother, mother and father and we twelve children under several roofs, but in one compound–was a most conservative and sternly traditional upper class family. Our kitchen was like a small exclusive restaurant where our mother, with her servants, plus us girls (including me as a reluctant errand girl who hid in the attic reading and had to be dragged out by the back of the neck into the kitchen). Every meal was elaborately layed out for more than thirty people. We worked in a frenzy to serve our fastidious elders, boys and guests who demanded nothing but the best, served in the proper Confucian manner. I did not realize this nightmare of my childhood kitchen was my first Korean cooking lesson. Today we live in beautiful Rappahannock county Virginia, next to the Shenandoah National Park. We enjoy offering Korean Cooking workshops, Kimchi Making, and Cooking with Kimchi workshops. Please watch for our kimchi cookbook that will be published shortly.