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Chef Sang Yoon, Cookin' and Bookin'

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Chef Sang Yoon, Cookin' and Bookin'

Chef Sang Yoon, Cookin' and Bookin'

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Our summer reader this week is chef and self-proclaimed beer sommelier, Sang Yoon. He joins us from his home in Los Angeles.

Welcome to the program.

Mr. SANG YOON (Chef): Hi.

HANSEN: What have you been reading this summer?

Mr. YOON: You know...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YOON: ...chefs don't get to read very much, but I just picked up Are You Really Going to Eat That?

HANSEN: Rob Walsh?

Mr. YOON: Exactly, yeah. I take that on plane trips with me, and it's a renegade, Indiana Jones, kind of reminds me of an old explorer. It's kind of cool how someone goes around the world looking for, you know, a perfect cup of coffee, and I'm really intrigued by stories like that.

HANSEN: What else have you been able to read recently?

Mr. YOON: Well, I just took up, for instance, I just took up Pilates. I don't want to be a fat chef.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YOON: So I just picked this book called Your Ultimate Pilates Body Challenge, by someone named Brook Siler. Its got pictures in it and I can do the moves, because it makes sense.

HANSEN: Huh. Do you tend to gravitate toward books by chefs or books about food simply because that's the industry you're in?

Mr. YOON: Well, naturally, yeah. I mean, there's sort of that, you know, voyeuristic aspect of it. You know, I loved Kitchen Confidential from Anthony Bourdain. And you know, there's a lot of truth in that book. And yeah, I mean, of course I gravitate toward that. But I don't always like reading about other chefs. But I tend to stay away from fiction books, just as a rule.

HANSEN: Why?

Mr. YOON: I've got enough drama in my life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: So if you had all the time in the world and could settle in to read one book, what would it be?

Mr. YOON: I got this book. It was a long-awaited cookbook by Chef Pierre Ganaire. It came out last year. I got it as a gift. I was excited, unwrapped it, only to find it had no recipes in it. So I put it away, angered.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. YOON: It had no recipes in it. It's more like a culinary, gastronomic haiku poetry book by a world-famous French chef. And I want to read it. It's just - it's kind of painful to read, but I do want to read it, because it's kind of like his own reflections.

HANSEN: How about cookbooks? Do you read them?

Mr. YOON: I tend to stay away from cookbooks...

HANSEN: Really?

Mr. YOON: ...as a general rule, yes. Like I said, the only cookbook that I really wanted to read - there's two in my life that I really wanted and that was this Pierre Ganaire cookbook and the French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller. And those are the two sort of ones that I really wanted, academically, to really get into these guys' heads.

Other than that, I've had formal culinary training almost my whole life and I really don't understand the need for cookbooks. I think they're great for consumers and great for people who aren't in the business. But for people like myself, they're - they just sort of like become technical manuals.

HANSEN: Chef Sang Yoon joined us from his home in Los Angeles.

Thanks a lot.

Mr. YOON: My pleasure.

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