Spence News

Restaurateur Ellia Park Talks About Changing the World

Spence’s Asian Affinity and South Asian Affinity students hosted acclaimed NYC restaurateur Ellia Park at an Upper School assembly to learn more about her passion for Korean culture and cuisine. The student-led assembly was planned as a celebration of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage month. Senior Yawen Y. and Juniors Alexy C. and Ivy J. led the assembly that engaged Park in conversations about the connections between food and culture and her experience of migrating to the U.S. and starting her own business. In the last decade, Ellia and her husband, chef JungHyun Park (JP), have successfully opened four award-winning restaurants in New York City that have redefined the fine dining experience with innovative Korean cuisine.

Park recalled that when moving to the U.S., she asked her husband about what he wanted to achieve: “I'm gonna change the world in a more beautiful, more impactful way,” he responded.  This remains an inspiration for the couple who have created a “legacy for Korean culture” through their restaurants. “For me, food is culture,” shared Park as she explained that when they first started their business, “not everyone knew about some of the ingredients.” Emphasizing the power of language, she explained how they try to educate the guests through their experience and incorporating many different cultural factors in their restaurant: “Every single course comes with a paragraph about chef's inspiration and the history behind it…the guest is not only eating the food, they can experience all the culture.”

Student questions focused on learning about why and how food became an important part of Park’s life and her experience as a female entrepreneur in a new country. Congratulations to the Asian Affinity and South Asian Affinity for an informative and engaging assembly.
A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


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