For those westerners who are accustomed to eating a main dish at mealtime, Korean-style table settings that present various ‘Banchan’ (side dishes) as well as ‘Bap’ (cooked rice) and ‘Guk’ (soup) are really quite unfamiliar. But this is not the case for Mr. Jean-Philippe Baudrey, the Director of the Environment and Energy Committee of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK), who likes particularly the ‘Bapsang’ (table setting) that presents kimchi, ‘Godeungeo-gui’ (grilled mackerel), ‘Dotorimuk’ (acorn starch jelly), ‘Nakji-bokkeum’ (stir-fried octopus), and cooked seaweed as Banchan, as well as Bap and ‘Kongbizi-jjigae’ (soybean curd residue stew). He also likes ‘Hanbang-samgyetang’ (chicken soup with ginseng and medicinal herbs). Although he has French and Portuguese citizenships, he likes traditional Korean menus that only native Koreans seem to like. He highlighted the harmony of various tastes - sweet, salty, spicy, and delicately-flavored tastes - as the most attractive and charming quality of Korean cuisine.
Mr. Baudrey said with a smile: “In most European countries you can gain weight easily by just eating a small amount of food. But in Korea you can hardly gain weight no matter how much you eat. In my case, I am now so Koreanized that, if I see there is poor presentation of Banchan on the table, then I can be put off wanting to eat a meal.”
Mr. Baudrey also likes Korean alcoholic drinks. Like many foreigners, he is not that fond of the strong ‘Soju’ (distilled potato liquor) but enjoys trying ‘Hongsam-ju’ (red ginseng wine) and good ‘Makgeolli’ (a coarse unrefined rice drink) in jovial atmospheres. To get rid of a hangover or unsettled stomach, he gulps a ball of ‘Mul-naengmyeon’ (buckwheat noodle in chilled broth). To be sure, he is that much used to the Korean drinking culture.
Mr. Baudrey is as much interested in Korea, the country and the people, as he likes Korean food. After graduating from a lycee in France, he acquired a license with which he can teach Taegwondo in a Taegwondo institute. He is fully absorbed in Taegwondo using, as it does, skill and strategy and, based as it is, on a fundamental respect for one’s opponent.
Mr. Baudrey said: “Back in France my friends are interested in Asian countries like China and Japan, but they do not know much about Korea - the two Koreas indeed. Learning and teaching Taegwondo and getting to know many Koreans, I grew fond of Korea and fell into its charms.”
Mr. Baudrey majored in Korean Studies at a French university and so has knowledge of Korean culture, history, language, and politics. He came to the country as an exchange student in 2004 and studied in the Chungang University for a year. He fell in love with a Korean girl there and they got married. Later he returned to France and finished his maitrise in international politics.
Last year Mr. Baudrey came to Korea again and now works as the Director in the Environment and Energy Committee of the EUCCK. He is presently concentrating on environmental conservation in Korea, and in facilitating amicable relationships between Korea and European companies and Korean government. He sees himself as acting as a bridge between Korea and the European world.
Hoping to live in Korea happily ever after, Mr. Baudrey will continue to work towards his professional goal of contributing to making Korea an environmentally good place to live in by grafting Europe’s environmental merits onto Korea’s situation. He said: “I have no interest in making a lot of money. I’m proud in that I can be part of solidifying the relationships between European countries and Korea.”
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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