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Korean Temple Food Experience Event held at New York
The Jogye Order held “Korean Temple Food Experience” event in Manhattan, New York on September 20 with over 500 in attendance. The media along with many renowned artists, chefs, and celebrities attended to taste Korean food, which has a 1700 year-old tradition. Ven. Jaseung and his visiting team attended along with Yoo Sun-taek, the wife of Ban Ki-mun and New York Consul General, Kim Yeong-mok.
Several nuns and one monk, renowned for their culinary skills, personally prepared the temple food. Mr. Jeong Jae-deok (a chef for Baru, the Jogye Order vegetarian restaurant) and Hwang Ji-hee (Korean Traditional Temple Food Research Team) also contributed to the preparation.
There were 43 different dishes such as sushi, lotus leaf wrapped rice, and persimmon kimchi. All dishes were 100% vegetarian. Most dishes were very simple without a lot of spices. Even the colors were natural to give a modest appearance. The general response from the New York participants was very positive, often repeating the word, “wonderful.” Although many participants were not vegetarian, everyone seemed to enjoy the clean and fresh taste of Korean temple food. Mathew Conway, a food importer said, “I agree (with temple food philosophy) with thinking about where the food comes from, what we put into our body, and how it affects the environment.”
Department Head at CIA, the American culinary school, Brad Bonds said, “Korean temple food is very appealing because of the long history and interesting ingredients. I think it has the potential to be very popular, not only among New Yorkers but to the entire world.” Member of the U.S. House of Representative, Charles Rangle said, “I’ve enjoyed Korean food for a long time. Today’s temple food, being the cream of Korean food, will surely be popular with Americans.”
The Korean and local media were so busy with interviews; they tasted the food later than everyone. After sampling, the general sentiment was that Korean temple food would contribute to the world movement of changing from a meat-eating diet to a vegetarian diet.
Ven. Jaseung said, “We should not eat food just to satisfy our desires, nor should we eat to preserve our health at the expense of the lives of living beings or the environment. We shouldn’t take lightly the lives of living being. We should eat with gratitude for the all beings that brought together even a single meal.”
Ven. Hyotan, Director of Jogey Order Department of Cultural Affairs, was in charge of this event. She said, “Temple food is healthy, vegetarian food, which has been prepared with the sentiment of the world community. It is a food with gratitude and peace for all life.”
New York Consul General Kim Yeong-mok said, “I ate with many Americans today and heard many compliments such as easy to eat, delicious, and good appearance. I’ve been to many American restaurants, and this food could compete with any of them.”
There were many volunteers, CIA students, Korean American Buddhists, and the visiting monks, nuns, and chefs from Korea who came together to make this event a success. The “chef nuns” could not have done this with all the helping hands. After the event, there was a group photo and everyone celebrated the event to show the world the goodness of Korean temple food.