Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Visionary pastry chef mastering the art of indulgence in tune with the seasons
Photo by Matty Kim
From the time she lived in Busan, South Korea, when Eunji Lee dreamed about one day being a pastry chef, to becoming the Executive Pastry Chef of the two-Michelin starred restaurant Jungsik in New York City, there was a decade of hard work in France in between. She joined the Institut National de Boulangerie Pâtisserie in Rouen, followed by the prestigious pastry school Ferrandi before landing in the Michelin-starred Asian French fusion, Ze Kitchen Galerie with Chef William Ledeuil. As she wanted to focus on Pastry, she joined the Hôtel Le Meurice where she worked directly with Pastry Chef Cédric Grolet.
Later on, when New York was calling, Lee decided it was time for change. She became Executive Pastry Chef at the modern Korean restaurant, Jungsik, where she’s now expressing her art, passion and expertise in a brilliant five-course dessert tasting menu inspired by her Korean heritage mixed with traditional French technique, sprinkled with some New York flair. Advocating the use of seasonal fruit when it's at its best, Lee creates her menu according to the seasons. As a Pastry Chef of one of the most renowned fine dining restaurants in the city that never sleeps, it would seem that her childhood dream has come true.
Today, she shares with us her passion and vision, from South Korea, where she returned during the pandemic to pursue her art while Jungsik in New York is closed.
Welcome Eunji Lee to Chefs for Impact!
By Eunji Lee as told to Chefs for Impact
What led you to working in a two-Michelin starred restaurant in New York City?
I was born and raised in South Korea. After high school, I decided to move to France to pursue my dream of becoming a pastry chef. I spent 10 years there studying, working hard and learning from the best. In 2016, I got an amazing opportunity to move to New York to be an Executive Pastry Chef at the two-Michelin starred restaurant Jungsik. I was offered a position of sous-chef in Hôtel Le Meurice at the exact same time. I hesitated for a while, then I took the decision to go on the New York adventure.
As soon as I joined Jungsik, I wanted to offer my own version of desserts combini