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Jan 23, 2018
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Hana Chung’

Ones to Watch 2018: Hana Chung

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Line Cook, Vista Ramen
Age: 30
Why Watch Her: She’s cooking circles around all the dudes in town.

If the restaurant inside Hana Chung’s mind was a dinner party, you’d so want that invite. The table would be crowded with everyone from her Korean-born parents to her pizzaolo husband and the buddies she’s met inside the long list of local kitchens on her resume: folks from Byrd & Barrel and Juniper swapping stories with her current Vista Ramen kitchen mates.

The music would be loud and the guests would be louder; wafts from the kitchen would be salty, sweet and acidic. The food: “hardy, home-ish” Korean dishes her mom and grandma used to make her
back home. “Right now, food is kind of weird, almost segregated,” Chung said. “You have your really fancy food that only a small percentage of people in St. Louis can eat. I think there’s a market for good, local food that everyone can afford, and that’s my main goal.”

Despite her high-profile resume, Chung had one request when she began at Vista. “By choice, Hana kind of wanted to get back to just cooking. She’s a line cook here,” said Vista chef-owner Chris Bork. “That’s her position, but she’s a lot more than that. She will cook circles around a lot of the dudes that I’ve known. She’s just hardworking, and you could see instantly – Hana knows how this works.”

In an industry known for tempers that flare higher than kitchen fires, Chung has the rare gift of an easygoing attitude. “She was with us toward the end of Randolfi’s,” said Mike Randolph, chef-owner of the now-closed restaurant. “Those were some pretty hairy times. She kept us sane through really long hours and short staffs those last weeks. She would leave these little notes of encouragement around the stations for the cooks. She was a positive influence at a time when we really needed one.”

So, what’s next for Chung and her Korean street food spot dream? For now, Chung is learning more about her craft and spreading good vibes wherever she goes. “How can you not be happy when you’re in the kitchen dancing to Aretha and making food you like?” she asked. Preach.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Stacy Schultz is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

 

The Scoop: Good Fortune finds a home in Botanical Heights

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

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{ Rendering of the future home of Good Fortune in Botanical Heights }

 

Highly anticipated Chinese-American restaurant Good Fortune has finally found a home. Co-owner Corey Smale announced today, Feb. 8, that the restaurant will open this July in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.

Smale, former co-owner of Strange Donuts, purchased a building at 1654 Tower Grove Ave., with attorney James P. Sanders and realtor Chris Hulse. The trio will be the landlords, with Good Fortune as the tenant. The upcoming eatery is also co-owned by Bob Brazell, Ryan McDonald and Hana Chung of Byrd & Barrel.

Good Fortune announced its inception last year and was on the hunt for a location for several months. The team hosted several pop-ups and collaboration dinners around town, introducing people to its takes on Chinese-American fare.

J.P. Burcks will provide arts and graphics for the project, and Gabe McKee and V Three Studios will handle architecture duties. The building, which was constructed in 1954, was most recently a day care facility. Smale said there’s a lot of work to be done before the doors open.

“It’s pretty gnarly right now,” Smale said. “We’re going to keep the bricks and floor and whatever we can. We’ll make it ours.”

While construction is underway, Good Fortune will host some more pop-up events to whet the public’s appetite, including a 12-course collaboration with chef Mike Randolph at Half & Half in Clayton on Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25.

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