Chef Table's Jeong Kwan

If you have Netflix, catch the Chef Table ep about Jeong Kwan, the nun without a restaurant. Her thoughts on life and creativity are profound. Via Eater:

The most breathtaking episode of Chef’s Table to date focuses on cooking as a form of communication. Jeong Kwan is a 60-year-old Zen Buddhist nun who prepares vegan meals for her community (and the occasional visitor) at Baekyangsa Temple, which is located 169 miles south of Seoul. Chef Eric Ripert and writer Jeff Gordinier can attest to the fact that her food is delicious, but it also has a greater purpose beyond being a satisfying form of nourishment. Here are some takeaways from this stunning installment of David Gelb’s Netflix documentary series, Chef’s Table:


Eric Ripert, sitting in the dining room of Le Bernardin in New York City, says that he met Kwan while traveling through Korea. A devout Buddhist, the chef was curious about visiting a temple and trying the cuisine. Ripert remarks: “She’s extremely compassionate. She’s very advanced in Buddhism, and she happens to be a great cook… Jeong Kwan is very spontaneous in her cooking. At the same time she keeps a certain tradition, but she breaks a lot of rules and that makes her very exceptional as a chef, as a cook.”


Eric Ripert says Jeong Kwan “has no ego.” The nun herself has a lot of thoughts on this subject:

“Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly. Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment. You must not be your own obstacle. You must not be owned by the environment you are in. You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you. You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind. This is being free. There is no way you can’t open up your creativity. There is no ego to speak of. That is my belief.”

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