29/03/2019 |

Chung Jae Lee: My Korean heritage

Our Chef Ambassador Chung Jae Lee took a DNA test to discover more about his Korean heritage. We spoke with him to find out what he learnt and what surprised him most from his results.


I am a 14th generation Korean and was born and raised in Seoul. My mother was the first daughter of 7 sisters, so she was always cooking, looking after her siblings and the house, I learnt lot of the Korean recipes he uses today from her.


My mother learnt from her mother, and her mother learnt from hers, all their recipes are passed down through generations.


For a lot of Korean recipes there aren’t specific measurements it’s mainly just from taste and memorising the balance of flavours to create the dish.


I grew up living above my parents’ restaurant, so food and cooking has always been a large part of my life. I fondly remember preparing Kimchi during the winter months.


We’d always make kimchi ready for the colder months and store them because there weren’t many vegetables available over the winter season.


What surprised me the most about my AncestryDNA results was that I’m 3% Japanese (and 97% Korean!). One of our ancestors must have been a bit naughty!


My mum said she thinks it must be my kidney transplant, that my kidney must have been from a donor with a Japanese background!


I would like to look more into my heritage and my wife’s in the future to find more about both our families, so we can teach our daughter more about our cultural backgrounds.


I think it’s all quite interesting, I’d love to see what my wife’s results are from a DNA test to learn more about what kind of mix my daughter’s DNA could have.


If I  attended an A Taste of Harmony event, I would bring Kimchi. Korean food is all designed to share so eating in my home country is a social event for every meal and never tastes as good if eaten alone!


Chung Jae Lee is Executive Chef and owner of Little Miss Korea. His cookbook Korean Cookbook: A twist on the traditional is available to purchase here.


Thanks to Ancestry for being a supporter of A Taste of Harmony. To learn more and do your own AncestryDNA test visit their website.

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