Angliss alumni Jung Eun Chae receives Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s Trailblazer Award
Despite the challenges the hospitality industry faced in recent years, Angliss Alumni Jung Eun Chae's innovative restaurant, CHAE, placed her front and centre of the Melbourne food culture. Since opening in 2019, her establishment has been reviewed and shared by many food and lifestyle publications such as Good Food, Broadsheet Melbourne, TimeOut Melbourne, SBS and more!
"People appreciate that I focus more on cooking and less on running a business. I free myself from conventional business management by running a one-person, micro-sized restaurant. I'm able to focus on delivering quality dining experience, using ingredients which I either make myself or know their origins," said Chae.
Chae's success is the culmination of her time training at Angliss, working in fine dining restaurants such as Lume, Cutler and Co and most of all, the influential and invaluable lessons passed on from her mother and grandmother.
"I grew up watching my grandma and mum fermenting various condiments such as Gochujang (Chilli paste), Doenjang (Bean paste) and Kimchi. They always keep a massive amount of stock, and they never run out. I caught on by observing and helping out. In South Korea, at least in the country, fermentation is naturally passed on from one generation to another, and it's a way of living."
Chae moved to Australia over 15 years ago and when faced with a decision to choose a career listed under the Skilled Occupation List, becoming a Chef sounded like something she could do.
"In the beginning, it served as a pathway for me to stay in this beautiful country but I came to love it and continued to want to improve my skills!"
"One of the biggest advantages of studying at Angliss is you learn from experienced chefs with in-depth knowledge and rich experiences in the industry. The lessons I've learned at Angliss are very hands-on and immediately applicable in real-life kitchen scenarios."
After years of making her rounds in the dynamic fine dining scene, Chae thought it was time for a change of pace due to a car accident a couple of years ago. Her passion for creating exceptional dining experiences remains and, with CHAE, she could continue her work without sacrificing her health.
"The dining experience at CHAE is exclusive. I only serve a homestyle degustation that's centred around traditional Korean ferments for a maximum of six guests."
It didn't take long for people to notice and by May 2021, CHAE was booked for months with a waiting list of over 6,000 people.
"There is growing interest in Korean cuisine and fermentation in general. I am looking to host cooking workshops and share tips and knowledge on fermenting authentic Korean condiments."
So what's the secret to Chae's success?
"I guess it's vital to believe in your vision, keep your own pace and not be distracted. Everyone, including my mum and husband, laughed it off when I shared my thoughts about starting a small home-based restaurant. I decided not to care about what other people think and just followed my dreams."