12 days of christmas: kim… (2018)

Canapé: Sea Urchin

As I have noted many times in the past, one of the best things about the Twelve Days of Christmas is the cultural exchange that happens in the kitchen among visiting chefs and the cooks at The Restaurant at Meadowood.  Often working across language barriers – as was the case with Byung-jin Kim, chef of the three Michelin-starred restaurant Gaon in Seoul, South Korea – the high level of coordination and collaboration required by all (both front and back of the house) is a testament to the universality of food, cooking, and hospitality as a language.

Arriving from Seoul, along with the restaurateur of Gaon, Lucia Cho, who proved to be an extremely articulate translator and passionate ambassador of Korean culture, Kim was the sixth chef to cook at this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas with hosting chef Christopher Kostow.

Kostow, Kim

Dinner started with a collection of small plates in the kitchen – sea urchin cradled in a crispy, seaweed chip; a ripe fig with a milky sauce of burdock and yuzu; and a tasty beef tartare and mushroom “snack” served alongside a fried piece of eggplant with gochujang.

Kim’s menu was the shortest of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas dinners – five courses. I enjoyed the conciseness, especially because every single course Kim served was excellent.  Particularly outstanding were Kim’s akamatsu course – a buttery fish (black-throated perch), served with a comforting rice porridge and daikon – and his version of beef bulgogi with jangajji (a variety of pickled vegetables).

Byung-Jin Kim  The Twelve Days of Christmas

To align with the flavors of Kim’s cooking, The Restaurant at Meadowood served a course that I thought was very expressive of East Asian cooking.  Whole napa cabbage leaves were completely dehydrated to concentrate its flavor.  The rehydrated leaves were wrapped around abalone, sauce with brown butter, and topped with black truffles.  The flavor of the dried and rehydrated cabbage overlapped exceedingly well with the abalone – an exceedingly successful and, to me, familiarly Asian layering of flavors.

Kostow also revived one of my favorite dishes – squab cooked in local clay (from nearby Calistoga in Napa Valley). The birds were wrapped in cherry leaves, completely sealed in the clay, and baked.  The result is a super-tender, moist breast, which was sliced and served with a sauce with mustard seeds.

3rd Course: Akamatsu  Akamatsu

Koreans (and East Asians broadly) do not have the concept of a dessert course, as Westerners do.  Kim explained this to the staff at line-up.  So, in faithful representation of his Korean cooking, he chose to end the meal with a couple of small, fruit-based candies – one made from jujubes, another from mandarin – and lotus root tea.  Out of respect for Kim’s cooking style, The Restaurant at Meadowood also refrained from serving a dessert course.

Following is the entire menu from the sixth night of the Twelve Days of Christmas with chef Byung-jin Kim of the three Michelin-starred Gaon in Seoul, South Korea.  Here is a link to all of the photos.

Beef  Kim, Kostow


Sea Urchin, Seaweed

Mushroom-Beef Snack

Gochujang, pollack.

Burdock, yuzu.


1st Course
Spot Prawn
Pear, tomato, cucumber, citrus dressing.

2nd Course
Dried cabbage, brown butter,
black truffle.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

3rd Course
Rice porridge, daikon, mitsuba.

4th Course 
Squab Cooked in Calistoga Clay
Cherry leaf.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

5th Course

6th Course
Lotus Root Tea, Jujube, Mandarin, Bellflower

Warm Chestnuts
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Wine pairings.

Wine Pairing

Château Peyrassol, Côtes de Provence, 2017

Qupé Roussanne, Santa Maria Valley, 2007

Nicolas Joly, “Les Vieux Clos,” 2015

Jean Floillard “Fleurie,” 2015

Dominus, Napa Valley, 1997

Day 6: Kim

Below are links to my posts and photos from all Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended. Each chef is listed with the restaurant with which they were cooking at the time they participated in the event (some have moved on to other projects and restaurants).


Scott Anderson (Elements; Princeton, New Jersey)
John & Karen Shields (Formerly of Townhouse; Chilhowie, Virginia)
Phillip Foss (EL Ideas; Chicago, Illinois)
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions; San Francisco, California)
Jason Franey (Canlis Restaurant; Seattle, Washinton)
Matthias Merges (Yusho; Chicago, Illinois)
Mori Onodera (Formerly of Mori Sushi; Los Angeles, California)
James Syhabout (Commis; Oakland, California)
Nick Anderer (Maialino; New York, New York)
David Toutain (Agapé Substance; Paris, France)
Josh Habiger & Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat; Nashville Tennessee)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon & New York, New York)
Rodolfo Guzman (Boragó; Santiago, Chile)
Carlo Mirarchi (Blanca and Roberta’s; Brooklyn, New York)
Tim Cushman (O Ya; Boston, Massachusetts)
Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner; Raleigh, North Carolina)
David Chang (Momofuku; New York, New York)
Matthew Accarrino (SPQR; San Francisco, California)
Mark Ladner & Brooks Headley (Del Posto; New York, New York)
Rasmus Kofoed (Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine; San Francisco, California)
David Kinch (Manresa; Los Gatos, California)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Matthew Orlando (Amass; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Frank Castranovo & Frank Falcinelli (Frankies 457, Prime Meats; New York, New York)
Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf; Dranouter, Belgium)
Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère; La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn; Lummi Island, Washington)
Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s; Portland, Oregon)
Virgilio Martinez (Central; Lima, Peru)
Grant Achatz (Alinea; Chicago, Illinois)
Corey Lee (Benu; San Francisco, California)
Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo; Oslo, Norway)
Ignacio Mattos (Estela; New York, New York)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad; New York, New York)
Nenad Mlinarevic (Focus; Vitznau, Switzerland)
Christian Puglisi (relæ; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil; Mexico City, Mexico)
Joshua Skenes (Saison; San Francisco, California)
Matthew Wilkinson (Pope Joan; Melbourne, Australia)
Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan ([One]; Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Isaac McHale (The Clove Club; London, The United Kingdom)
Kyle Connaughton (Single Thread; Healdsburg, California)
Atsushi Tanaka (A.T. Restaurant; Paris, France)
Justin Yu (Oxheart; Houston, Texas)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Mark Lundgaard Nielsen (Kong Hans Kælder; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Manish Mehrotra (Indian Accents; New Dehli, India; New York, New York; London, U.K.)
Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hauske Valtierra (Contra & Wildair; New York, New York)
Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon & Tallula’s; Santa Monica, California)
Ben Sukle (birch & Oberlin; Providence, Rhode Island)
Sean Brock (McCrady’s, McCrady’s Tavern, Husk, & Minero; Charleston, South Carolina)
Yoshiaki Takazawa (Takazawa; Tokyo, Japan)
Thomas Keller (The French Laundry; Yountville, California)
Eric Werner (Hartwood; Tulum, Mexico)
Jock Zonfrillo (Orana; Adelaide, Australia)
Alexandre Couillon (La Marine; Noirmoutier, France)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique; San Juan, Puerto Rico)
David Pynt (Burnt Ends; Singapore)
Jessica Largey (Simone; Los Angeles, California)
James Lowe (Lyle’s; London, The United Kingdom)
Kamilla Seidler (formerly of Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Byung-jin Kim (Gaon; Seoul, South Korea)

Day 6: Kim

Photos: Sea urchin and seaweed canapé by chef Kim; Kostow and Kim plating; Kim at line-up; Christmas trees in the Bar at The Restaurant at Meadowood; chef Kim serving up akamatsu with rice porridge; akamatsu with rice porridge; chef Kim plating bulgogi with jangajji; Kim and Kostow plating akamatsu; wine pairings; Kim with the team at The Restaurant at Meadowood; table set in the Bar at The Restaurant at Meadowood; Kostow’s squab baked in Calistoga clay, plated.

4th Course: Squab Cooked in Calistoga Clay

~ by ulterior epicure on December 27, 2018.

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