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D.C.’s First-Ever Korean Restaurant Week Kicks Off With a Quickfire Challenge

The inaugural “K-Food Week” runs through October 6

An assortment of traditional Korean dishes.
Photo: K-Food Restaurant Week
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The inaugural K-Food Week 2017 — a debut event featuring 20 local restaurants — lands in the D.C. area next week with a Top Chef-esque challenge between three area chefs well versed in the cuisine.

“I can’t really plan anything,” says 1789 Restaurant chef Samuel Kim, one of the contenders in a culinary cook-off scheduled for Sunday, October 1. “We show up and we’re given a pantry of ingredients and 45 minutes to come up with a dish.”

Contestants don’t know the featured protein or what’s inside the mystery pantry. Local distributor Rhee Bros is providing Korean spices for the battle.

Kim is up against Chiko co-founder and The Source alum Scott Drewno, as well as Spoken English chef James Wozniuk, who is prepping to debut two new eateries inside the much-anticipated The Line hotel with restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang.

Judges include: PBS Kimchi Chronicles host Marja Vongerichten, who’s created her own line of Korean food products; Chiko co-founder Danny Lee; and Takorean’s Mike Lenard. The prize for winning the time-crunched food fight: a trip to Korea. The restaurant week, which kicks off the day after, is sponsored by the Embassy of Korea.

Kim, who grew up eating his native cuisine, admits the competition is a sharp turn from his day job; 1789 recently went the prix fixe route. He reveals some upcoming changes to the Georgetown staple: 1789 is undergoing a new round of construction updates to expand its currently “cramped” five-seat bar, he says. Also look for new bathrooms on the first floor, as well as the merging of part of its private events space into the dining room to create additional seating.

The renovation should be completed by the holidays, Kim tells Eater.


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