Hi everyone! My name is Mina and I am a self-taught chef. My passion has always been to expand minds and palettes through Korean fusion and global cuisine. I am half Korean and half Persian, born and raised in L.A. What I loved most about growing up in L.A. was the beautiful diversity of culture and cuisine. To me, food and culture are synonymous.
My love affair with Korean food began when I was 7. My parents divorced and my mother, siblings and I moved to be closer to my mother’s family. I had a hard time assimilating as it wasn’t very diverse in the city we moved to. I spent most weekdays after school at my “Halmoni’s” – (my Korean grandmother’s house). I looked forward to her delicious soups, pungent stews, sticky rice and my favorite, stinky, spicy kimchi! My cousins had to have her rinse the spice off their kimchi, but not me!!! I revelled in the spiciness! She watched me delight in every bowl and joyfully patted my hand throughout each meal. She didn’t speak a word of English and I mean not a single word, and I was never taught Korean. So that was how we communicated, through food. It was our little love language: eating, smiling, and sharing time at the kitchen table.
After she passed away, I felt very little connection to Korean culture. It was as though the only conduit to that part of my heritage was gone. So I tried to start cooking to create that joy I felt through her cuisine. I remember the first dish I prepared off script – it was horrible. I put way too much vinegar and I remember thinking, “this is ugly, tastes bad, wow, I’ll never be a chef.” I threw it in the trash.
My mother worked long hours but cooked when she could. I loved watching my mother cook. I started cooking with her. That’s when we started to really bond. She would fuse Asian with Western cuisine and was making incredible Asian fusion before it was popular. I grew up cooking this way, utilizing fresh ingredients to conjure the most fragrant and interesting flavors. Meal by meal, I learned more about flavor and what makes a dish “pop” in my mother’s words. I learned when to add heat, when to add acid. I loved the chemistry behind every complex layer of taste.
My mom and I still cook together every chance we get. We have so much fun creating new flavors using traditional ingredients. When my siblings and I can visit, like most families, we spend most of our time in the kitchen. It is the heartbeat of the house for us.
So grab your friends, family, partner, kids, or even fry solo and let’s cook together!
My dishes are imaginative, flavorful adaptations to make Korean food accessible to everyone! My vision is to share my creative interpretation of global cuisine through a unique lens.
I still miss my Halmoni but I hope she’s gazing down with her bright smile, proud that I’m embracing and sharing Korean food with the world. After all, a delicious meal prepared with love transcends all language barriers.
I hope you all try my recipes and please like, comment, and SUBSCRIBE!
Reserve your spot in my next cooking class here: https://www.airsubs.com/pros/mina-cucina
Thanks so much for letting me share!