Features 2 minutes 26 April 2024

The Journey to the Origins: Chef Taegyun Yoon of L’impression

Chef Taegyun Yoon of L’impression, recently promoted to a One MICHELIN Star restaurant, emphasizes that trusting the natural flavours of ingredients and honing one's own intuition are crucial to his journey in discovering the essence of good cuisine.

Promoted from the MICHELIN Guide Seoul to Busan 2024, L’impression, a one MICHELIN star restaurant, presents dishes that epitomise the essence of ingredients under the motto of "refinement" and "essence." Chef Taegyun Yoon's menu showcases a harmonious and intuitive blend of each vibrant ingredient, inviting gourmets on a flavourful journey.

Located in the bustling heart of Seoul, L’impression captures the changing seasons through the trees visible from its windows, infusing the space with a seasonal ambiance. From snowy winters to lush summers, L’impression brings the essence of nature to the city centre.

“Trust the natural intuition of ingredients, and nurture your own intuition”

According to chef Taegyun Yoon, the path to gastronomic essence lies in eliminating the unnecessary. The dish's identity is established by carefully selecting which ingredients take centre stage. Then, through the chef's intuition and meticulous refinement of details, the dish is perfected. While it may be tempting to add more elements for visual appeal, chef Yoon believes that true essence is achieved through restraint and control—stripping away rather than adding.

He stresses that one must thoroughly comprehend the ingredients to excel in cooking.

"If I don't fully grasp an ingredient myself, I cannot expect my colleagues to either. To achieve this, one must truly understand the ingredients. The best way to achieve understanding is through observation. Stepping back and studying the ingredients reveals their unique characteristics."

Therefore, L’impression designs its menus around individual ingredients. Though seemingly straightforward, the vibrant and varied flavours of these ingredients stimulate all five senses during the dining experience. The culinary aesthetics that celebrate the inherent power of ingredients, embracing the beauty of each season and nature, represent the 'source of taste' that L’impression strives for. The underlying theme of this culinary journey—from Genesis to MICHELIN—is rooted in this intuitive approach.

Three Signature Dishes by Genesis, MICHELIN Guide and L’impression

Asparagus, Cuttlefish, Cuttlefish Ink Peanut Sauce, Potatoes
Asparagus, Cuttlefish, Cuttlefish Ink Peanut Sauce, Potatoes

This dish features asparagus, symbolising spring, accompanied by a delicate touch of ink peanut sauce and potatoes. Asparagus, a quintessential spring symbol, bursts forth dynamically each day, shedding the remnants of winter as it emerges from the soil. Chef Taegyun Yoon meticulously selects and prepares the most tender and flavourful parts of these ingredients to evoke the onset of a new season. "To highlight the asparagus's finest qualities, we delicately peel and gently cook it at low heat, trimming away the tough base and utilising only the top 4 cm. We meticulously remove the outer layer of the cuttlefish to eliminate any unwanted texture, showcasing only its sweetest and most tender essence."

Complementing this is L’impression's exclusive cuttlefish ink peanut sauce. The dish combines the crispness of asparagus with a grilled cuttlefish in garlic clove oil, alongside a sauce that amplifies the potato's richness—blanched in chicken broth, then baked in refined butter with peanut oil.

Scallops, Wild Strawberries, Crème-Fraiche, Summer Truffle
Scallops, Wild Strawberries, Crème-Fraiche, Summer Truffle

A signature offering at L’impression, this dish pairs fresh scallops with raspberry crème-fraiche atop savoury summer truffles. Beginning with fresh scallops, the combination is enhanced by wild strawberries and crème-fraiche infused with summer truffles. Chef Yoon emphasizes balancing flavours when incorporating shellfish and berries. The gentle acidity of the crème-fraiche enlivens the dish, while the wild strawberries contribute a subtle wit in both aroma and texture. Notably, L’impression's crème-fraiche is crafted by blending cream with yoghurt, fermenting it at room temperature for 36 hours, straining out the whey using a coffee filter, and infusing it with pickled black truffles and anchovy oil, resulting in exceptional richness.

"Scallops and black truffles make a classic pairing, though it can become a heavy dish. Considering the spring season, this dish is lightened by the delicate aroma of summer truffles, offering a savoury profile reminiscent of raw chestnuts."

Abalone, Porcini Sauce, Jamon, Chives
Abalone, Porcini Sauce, Jamon, Chives

The straw-smoked abalone dish, adorned with harmonious elements like olives on a rustic porcini sauce, delves into the delicate balance between familiarity and uniqueness. Beginning with a meticulous two-day aging process for the abalone, followed by vacuum-packing with butter and herbs for a gentle four-hour steam, the result is a tenderly cooked abalone infused with smoky flavours. The abalone is then smoked twice to enhance its depth. Topped with mushrooms, chives, garlic, and olives, the dish is finished with a rich sauce crafted from reduced dried porcini mushrooms and an emulsification of mushroom and onion water with butter.

"The concept was inspired by the 'Surf & Turf' menu, combining seafood and meat, akin to Korea's 'Samhap.' We explored a trio of abalone, mushrooms, and jamon in a distinctive L’impression style. The straw-smoked abalone naturally complements the aged aroma of jamon. To infuse the mushroom sauce and butter with a hint of acidity akin to vegetables, we introduced green olives and pickled garlic in sherry vinegar."

Journey to the Origins: Unveiling Chef’s Source

“When I comprehend myself and establish my own logic, the essence unfolds.”

For a chef, crafting a remarkable dish is akin to embarking on a journey back to the roots—the essence of ingredients. The most daring and intuitive culinary ideas stem from a deep understanding of the environments in which ingredients thrive and develop. Embracing the ethos of simplicity amidst a world of complexity and splendour, L’impression unveils a new culinary sensibility. Please join this journey of self-discovery, exploring the essence presented by Genesis, the MICHELIN Guide, and L’impression.


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