Story | The Unexpected Business trip to South Korea

 

The four leaf clover mission

Work sent me to Seoul, South Korea for a very special project. For an advertising stunt,  I had the mission to find a table full of four leaf clovers (in WINTER)  and then smuggle that table into the Canadian Olympic House.  Crazy eh ? When my boss asked me to start searching I thought she was joking.  I was like, well that’s impossible but I’ll tryI understood it would be even harder than I thought  when I started making calls and realized very few people spoke English in South Korea, as specially not agricultural producers.  Luckily Sid Lee (the ad agency I use to work for)  was working with a company in Korea at the time and they had a partner named Pierre Joo helping them communicate with their client.

From Canada, I had to arrange the set up of the table in the Canadian Olympic House and also set up a film crew that would give us high quality images we could use in the video campaign. We were going to do all of this from a distance,  but we came to the conclusion that someone HAD to go to South Korea to make it happen.  The next day I was on a place to Seoul thanking the Universe, and Sid Lee. Believe it or not I accomplished the mission (See proof below).

AUTHENTIC KOREAN BBQ (BEST EVER)

Since then, every time I think I cannot do something I remember my shamrock adventure in South Korea and I’m like, yup I can do this. I was in South Korea for about a week and although the food in Seoul is absolutely DELICIOUS sometimes you crave a little comfort food. Pierre and I decided to go out for a Korean BBQ meal anI told him how much I would love to have a good glass of wine.  Koreans drink mostly beer and Soju which you could compare to the Korean version of Saké and I found it rare to find good wines at the restaurants I went to. Later I found out it's not that good wine is rare in Korea. It actually isn't. But the problem is that, on account of taxes, it is incredibly expensive. If you want to find a decent bottle, you have to be prepared to pay around three times as much as you would in Europe or America. So wine bars tend to cater to richer patrons and it's not surprising that most of them are to be found in the Gangnam/Apgujeong area.  I was only in Seoul for a few days and chose not to go to Gangnam because hanging out in a wealthy, fancy skyscraper neighbourhood is simply not my style. 

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ONE LAST DRINK ?

Pierre and I finished our meal, left the BBQ place and he said  the classic : wanna go for one last drink ? We all know how that ends… He brought me to his friend’s place in Hongdae, aka the coolest neighbourhood I’ve ever set foot in and we ended up at this super cute, feminine and cozy restaurant located on the second floor of a building. We walked in and this beautiful Korean woman seemed very happy to see Pierre. This woman, Su-yeon Lee is a sommelier, wine writer, and wine bar owner who has been working in food and wine industry for 10 years.  He made my dream come true, have a delicious glass of wine (or 10)  on my last night in Seoul. 

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It was the highlight of my trip. She served me BEAUTIFUL wines and CHEESES! She even spoke French.  The place was warm and cozy.  And we ended up drinking 4 bottles of wines, tasting porto, kimchi and smoking cigars inside. 

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SU-YEON LEE

A SOMMELIER IN SEOUL