HyoJu Park: 30 Under 30

Published on 15 June 2022

Photo: HyoJu Park (photo: Clint Peloso).

HyoJu Park always dreamed of baking and making desserts, but her parents wanted their daughter to have a white-collar job. When she turned 19 she was accepted into university in Korea, but a part-time job at a small Italian restaurant would reroute her destiny. The kitchen looked like a magician’s house, she says, and it was there she fell in love with the idea of becoming a chef. After stints in London and Korea, she found her way to Attica, rotating through each department of the kitchen before settling into the role of head pastry chef.

Hi, my name is Hyoju Park. Most people call me Ju.

Right now I’m working at Attica as head pastry chef.

Before I started here, I worked at Mingles restaurant in Korea, which is run by owner-chef Mingoo Kang, a leader in modern Korean cuisine. Before that, I worked at the Langham Hotel in London for three years with chef Andrew Gravett, who is the most creative and knowledgeable pastry chef that I’ve ever met.

All up, I’ve been cooking for eight years, three of them in Victoria.

And I’m passionate about combining new flavours, knowledge related to all types of ingredients, pastry technique, collecting pastry tools, bean-to-bar chocolate and testing new recipes that I’ve never tried before. My passion for pastry came from my appetite for dessert. I love and am passionate about literally everything related to pastry.

Which means I like cooking things like cake, cookies, dessert or ice cream with a combination of nostalgic flavours and native ingredients.

At 30 Under 30 I’ll be cooking a hallabong-inspired dessert. Hallabong is also known as satsuma mandarin, which is a specialty of Jeju Island in Korea.

My dessert will look like a hallabong, but the inside will be filled with white chocolate and yoghurt cream, lemon myrtle hallabong jam, a mini Earl Grey roll slice and wattle seed feuilletine.

The person I’m most looking forward to working with for 30 Under 30 isJoane Yeoh. Before I signed up for 30 Under 30, I saw her Instagram by accident and I loved the style of her desserts: neat, beautiful and skilful. I always wanted to meet her in person and talk about dessert. So I am very excited to meet her soon.

My favourite thing to eat in Victoria right now is the dessert from Sucre du Jour. They always try to make new flavour combinations with a fine touch; delicious!

In terms of savoury, I quite like the sushi place called Uminono. They maintain top-quality fish and sushi even though they sell out every day. 

Finally, the big change I'd like to see in our food and drink scene in the next 30 years is the culture of chocolate.

A lot of people might or might not know the inconvenient truth of chocolate. Nowadays, we can buy chocolate everywhere, whenever we want because it is cheap. In fact, chocolate is a kind of luxury product and it shouldn’t be cheap if the company or chocolate maker we buy it from pays for their cacao beans properly. The meaning of "properly" here is paying the price that means the farmer can afford to live without making their children work at the cacao farms instead of sending them school.

A few weeks ago, I read an article from Dani Valent about chocolate and it reminded me of the inconvenient truth of chocolate that I knew but had forgotten as time passed, and a few weeks later we changed our chocolate supplier at Attica.

As a business owner, it was not an easy decision, but chef Ben didn’t hesitate to change suppliers even though we needed to pay almost double the price for the chocolate. At Attica, we do things right and we take part in changing the world for the better. I wish in the next 30 years more people and businesses will care and take part in solving social problems such as child labour, slave labour and environmental issues. 

Catch Ju Park at the 30 Under 30 Gala dinner on Thursday 28 July and at the 30 Under 30 dinner at Society on Wednesday 10 August. Follow her further adventures at @sugar_rushju

 

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