Asian-American Chef Jiyeon Lee Creates Southern Palate BBQ Sides Adapting from Korean Banchan

Chef and ex-pop star Jiyeon Lee creates traditional Korean Banchan (light side dishes) inspired southern BBQ sides. At the Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta, Lee prepares authentically flavored and balanced side dishes to play up the meats on the menu.

Who Is Jiyeon Lee?

Jiyeon Lee started her career as a pop singer in Seoul. Long before the BTS phenomenon, Lee had four bestselling albums in Korea under her resume. She retired early from the world of music to attend culinary school and give wings to her other passion. Though still widely recognized by pop fans in South Korea and making appearances in almost her every return, Lee is now much more comfortable in expressing her creativity through the medium of culinary art. She also is an avid supporter of the organizations working for the Asian-American community in Atlanta and works in causes concerning Atlanta restaurants.

The Culinary Inspiration

BBQ and southern meat-and-three are Lee’s favorite American foods. The chef generally prefers meat-centric restaurants, but often gets disappointed by the heavy or hearty sides served there, and misses light and refreshing Korean side dishes (or Banchan) complementing heartier meals. According to Lee, any Korean restaurant or home-cooked meal always serves hearty meats with light digestive sides like daikon or radish banchan, which helps in breaking down the protein and fat contents of the meat.

Developing Signature Style

Drawing inspiration from the traditional Korean dining experience and authentic flavors, Lee and her husband chef Cody Taylor prepare signature Southern-Korean side dishes to pair with the main barbeque served at the Heirloom Market BBQ. She loves the Southern-style collard greens, which brings back the childhood memory of her grandmother’s cooking. Based on such childhood food memories and the blending of two different culinary influences, Lee approaches developing unique fusion recipes like kimchi-slaw, green tomato kimchi, grilled sesame squid, spicy scallion, and onion salad, and customer-favorite pickled cucumber-radish salad and sweet & spicy crispy tofu. The ex-K-pop star’s BBQ fusion is surely in tune with times!

Restaurant Chains Are Offering Free Goodies For Health Workers

Doctors and Nurses have been working tirelessly to fight the vicious pandemic that has been spreading around the world. Health workers are risking their lives daily and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. As a result, many restaurant chains decided they will be offering tons of free goodies to hospital staffers and emergency responders. These are the little things that warm our hearts.

Restaurant Chains Are Offering Free Goodies For Health Workers

Free Coffee

The first who initiated the idea was Starbucks. CEO Kevin Johnson announced that all the cafés across Canada and the US will be giving free coffee to anyone who identifies themselves as health workers. Even though some branches are now operating as drive-thru locations, free coffees will be given to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and hospital employees until May 3rd, according to Johnson.

Everyone Can Use A Boost

Another popular chain, Tropical Smoothie Cafe also wanted to help. The CEO Charles Watson announced they will be giving away 100,000 free smoothies. “Our safety is dependent upon the selfless, hard work of our local healthcare workers and first responders and we want to help them in any way we can.” He said.

Donuts Giveaway For A Good Cause

Krispy Kreme also joined the good cause. They decided to spread the love and give health workers free boxes of donuts. The first box was given on the National Doctor’s Day, and obviously they were super excited to receive the goodies.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

The notorious shoe company Crocs also wanted to do their part and help the health workers. Crocs are perfect for hospital staffers because they are easily cleaned and not sticky. The company decided to give away free shoes via their website as a thank you to the health workers. That was a thoughtful way to do it.