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Eunyoung Yun: “I love to mix and try new flavors and ideas”

Pastry Interviews Yun Eunyoung

May 21, 2024
Santiago Corral
Pastry Interviews Yun Eunyoung
Eunyoung Yun: “I love to mix and try new flavors and ideas”

North Korea and South Korea have been divided for more than 70 years, ever since the Korean Peninsula became an unexpected casualty of the escalating Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. 

The division of Korea began on August 15, 1945 when the official announcement of the surrender of Japan was released. Ever since, the country brought thousands of American soldiers to South Korea, bringing along with them guns and armory but they also brought chocolate bars, “Hershey bars”, and chewing gum. These two items were quickly accepted among the South Korean population eager to embrace all things American.

Lotte’s origins traced back to post-World War II in Japan, founded by Shin Kyuk-ho, a native of Korea in 1940.  Lotte Confectionery was born in Seoul in 1967 and today is the third-largest chewing gum manufacturer in the world. The company’s true breakthrough came during the 1960s, with the introduction to the chocolate market. In 1964, it produced its first milk chocolate, called Ghana, an adaptation of Swiss-Style chocolates.

Last March, the prestigious Korean pastry chef Eunyoung Yun, better known as Garuharu, invited me to see the fantastic Chocolate Pop Up that Lotte had organized in the capital of South Korea to promote the milk chocolate bar Ghana and in which she participated as a guest chef. I took advantage of my visit to talk to Yun not only about the pop up, but also about her role as a teacher or her next publishing project in collaboration with Books For Chefs.

Pop up

Tell us about this chocolate Pop Up?

This is a Pop Up made by the Lotte Company, they have a lot of business for department stores. We are promoting one of the confections they make, which is the Ghana milk Chocolate Bar.

This is an industrial chocolate so the company promotes it with these chocolate pop ups but this is the first one in three years. Now that Covid is over, they started doing the chocolate pop ups again, so they invited me to participate as a guest chef. For this occasion, I have prepared plated desserts and a chocolate box with five different petit fours inside that include a Mexican Origin Chocolate, corn crunch and tequila chocolate cake, a passion fruit white chocolate mousse cake, a baba rum, a strawberries and cream eclair, and a chocolate tea cookie.


Why did Lotte invite you to participate in this pop up?

I guess in this industry you can buy chocolate very easily. The customer thinks they want to have a high-end experience with chocolate, so they ask me to come up with some desserts with this chocolate. I proposed some desserts to the branding company and together we came up with the perfect match for this concept. The idea is to bring the chocolate to high-end establishments like hotels and restaurants.


“The idea, with this pop up, is to bring the chocolate to high-end establishments like hotels and restaurants”


How do you see the Chocolate market in South Korea? Do you think Koreans eat a lot of chocolate?

In Korea we have a tradition of giving chocolate as gifts and we do it on different occasions like Saint Valentines and Christmas. We have a White Day celebrated on March 14 where men give chocolates to women.


Between Pop up, master classes, and your pastry shop, where do you find time for yourself to create beautiful desserts?

I love teaching and traveling. I get my inspiration from the places I visit and the people I meet. I like to play with ingredients when I am creating, I love to mix and try new flavors and ideas. 


What is your favorite place to visit and why?

I love Spain, in particular Barcelona, and I also love Mexico. Both cultures are very similar and the people there are always welcoming and very nice. Plus the food is something that I love when I visit these places. They are very skillful, very different. They are more creative and inventive than French Chefs, who are very classical and follow many rules.


“I like to play with ingredients when I am creating, I love to mix and try new flavors and ideas”


Who are the students who come to learn at your culinary school and how many classes do you teach a year?

For me I teach about fifty classes a year and my students come from all over, but mostly from Korea. They are restaurant pastry chefs, or they come from professional schools to learn more advanced and technical pastry techniques.


Tell us what has been the most challenging book you have written and why?

Actually, I am preparing a book for Book for Chefs, which is the most challenging. We still don’t know when it will be published. It will be a great book once it’s finished.