Mother’s Day is all about honouring motherhood as mothers try their hardest to give their children the best they can. But let’s be real, we can never thank our mom enough in a lifetime, much less a day. Kelly from Korea would know it, as her mom, Una, who spent 12 years in the fashion industry, went from not knowing how to cook to going to Britain to prepare meals for her daughter, to opening a Korean restaurant, to getting listed on the Michelin Guide — all because of Una’s dedication to providing healthy food to her daughter. How exactly was Una inspired to open a restaurant, and what does cooking mean to the mother-daughter duo?
From working mama to cooking mama
“We used to cook together and also go for picnics in summer, which is when I realised that I wanted to cook and share my food with others.”
Una had been working in the fashion industry for 12 years, when Kelly studied in Britain, she was worried Kelly would not be able to eat healthily. She flew there to learn English and cook for her. Kelly, like a lot of us, was not the biggest fan of vegetables, and Una, like almost every mom, racked her brains to conjure up delicious and nutritious meals to get Kelly to consume more greens . Kimbop without any additives and MSG is her solution, and she found her true passion when she prepared food for Kelly, which is cooking.
A restaurant named after her own daughter… with menu items being all her favourites
“I want my customers to know that the food I cook is for my daughter Kelly and therefore I try my very best to make the meals nutritious, healthy and also delicious all at once. I often tell my customers that every menu I make at the shop is what I cooked for Kelly when she was at school and they are all Kelly’s favourite menu items.”
You don’t get a nod from Michelin for nothing. Una always cooks like she’s cooking for her own daughter, hence the name of the restaurant. She wants the food to be nutritious, healthy, and delicious. And clearly her effort is recognised.
“You can consume 8 different nutrients in one bite of (this) kimbop - and it is also delicious and flavourful.”
Kimbop is a staple in Korea, but it is not as popular as Korean barbeque and fried chicken in Hong Kong. Una wants to make it more popular, so every kimbop is made with fresh ingredients. One will be delighted to see how much vegetable she puts into each kimbop! She even cuts it into eight pieces as “eight” in Chinese means lucky.
Support from her daughter, recognition from Michelin
“It was definitely a surprise as she was in the fashion industry for a very long time, but I knew she liked cooking so I told her that I would support her in her new business.”
Una and Kelly became even closer through cooking together, as they share the passion for it. Indeed, food and cooking brings people together!
“Shocked, surprised and super delighted all at once! We weren’t aware that there was a street food section of the Michelin Guide and we were super delighted to find out that we had been listed .”
It may have been a shock to the ladies, but we are hardly surprised at the listing (which was since 2015!) – it is a deserving mention given their passion and insistence on using only the best and healthy ingredients.. Recipe for their success? Look (by look, we mean taste) no further than their kimbop. Fresh, delicious, healthy. Or their fried chicken bites that go irresistibly well with their secret sauces.
Two cooks are better than one
“I have liked cooking from a very young age and we used to cook together a lot, so it brings back childhood memories too!”
Kelly helps out at the restaurant at times, but her favourite times of the day is always when they cook dinner together or even brunch on the weekends. Kelly makes appetisers and dessert while Una does the main courses.
Their favourite food…
Both Una and Kelly adore Italian cuisine; while Kelly doesn’t eat her greens so much, she can never resist Una’s kimchi soup.
How they are going to spend this year’s Mother’s day…
They do not have a plan yet, they may dine out or have a hearty meal at home.. But it seems they fancy having Korean hot pot with a few glasses of wine this year.