Hanging with Deuki Hong is like hanging out with a human version of a hug.
He has a heart and kindness to him that underlies everything he does. There’s no ego or brash masculinity that’s known for dominating the calibre of kitchens that Deuki has worked in - which is crazy, because he grew up in restaurants. He started cooking professionally at the age of 15 (!).
There’s none of that annoying bravado of someone who grew up cutting their teeth on the line - just a disarmingly deep empathy that took us aback.
Don’t mistake his kind eyes for weakness - Deuki is a deeply knowledgeable human + skilled cook first. He is the former exec chef of NYC hotspot Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong and author of the wildly popular Koreatown: A Cookbook. (PS. Vanessa had this cookbook in her arsenal long before we started working with Deuki!)
Passion is a term often thrown around in the restaurant and hospitality industry - but Deuki truly embodies this. Throughout our robust process, it was clear how deeply he cares about doing right by his people and his ingredients.
This pandemic shocked the entire industry (and will continue to have devastating repercussions on the community for years to come), and Deuki’s concerns remain with his team. The Sunday Family, his pioneering restaurant group, has temporarily shuttered two of their locations.
And despite having that classic NYC resilience (“to our detriment - [we] hustle no matter what, push through, and [have] a pride in the grit”), he drew the line at risking his crew.
It’s this heart + vulnerability that makes us so excited to welcome Deuki into our Phamily as our Korean Tastemaker. You can bring The Sunday Family into your home with our sweet and smoky Korean Spicy Bulgogi Starter -- a reflection of a fiery, yet kind human we’re lucky to have in our corner.