dezi bonow at dahlia.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Dezi Bonow's kimchi has got some kick.
Dahlia Lounge sous chef Dezi Bonow has come a long way since his days

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Dezi Bonow's Kimchi Is a Firebomb of Flavor

dezi bonow at dahlia.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Dezi Bonow's kimchi has got some kick.
Dahlia Lounge sous chef Dezi Bonow has come a long way since his days slamming 3,000 burritos out for lunch at Taco Del Mar, which he talked about in part one of this week's Grillaxin' Q&A. He collaborates with Dahlia's chef de cuisine Brock Johnson on the menus at Tom Douglas's flagship restaurant and slips his signature kimchi into various preparations. Check out the pork belly with kimchi, which is kind of like an Asian version of sauerkraut and sausage.

In part two, he shares some kimchi secrets learned from a master at the mini mart.

SW: How did you fine-tune your kimchi recipe?

Bonow: When I started playing around with making kimchi, I would bring some into this Korean dude who was always sitting there eating it at the mini mart where I bought beer and cigarettes. At first, he would look at me and go nah. But I didn't care. I kept bringing it to him and eventually he told me how to make it better. To put in more dried fish or dried shrimp. He wanted me to use fresh oysters, but I haven't done that yet.

dezi's kimchi.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Napa cabbage kimchi often stars on bites from the Sea Bar.
SW: The kimchi most familiar to most people is the Napa cabbage, but what are some of the other veggies you can use?

Bonow: You can probably do just about anything. I've done a lot of cucumbers and radishes. You could also do mustard greens, turnips and rhutabaga. Maybe kale.

SW: And where does it show up?

Bonow: We've used it in a bunch of dishes. We've got one on now that's steamed clams, pork belly and kimchi. We've done vegetarian hot pots. It's on the Sea Bar.

SW: So, what do you cook on your own time?

Bonow: I like to eat real simple at home. Maybe just some bread and cheese and sardines and a salad. I like to keep it pretty peasant at home, food with soul. I like to graze and hang out.

SW: Where do you go out to eat?

Bonow: I like to eat casually. I like to go to Seven Star Pepper and to Maneki to eat sushi. When I go out to fancy places, it's almost feels like work. I'm casting a critical eye on things. I love sitting and eating at a bar. Night Kitchen is good. When we get done late, we go to Ga Ga Loc, greasy ass good Chinese food. My friend just opened a cute place over on Denny, a taqueria called Barracuda. They make their own tortillas.

SW: Do you ever see yourself opening your own place?

Bonow: Yeah, sure. I like to feed people and for people to have a good time. I'd like it to be really accessible. I love doing fancy food and the whole fine dining thing, but I think if I opened a place, it would be more casual.

SW: And you'd have kimchi, right?

Bonow: Of course.

Tomorrow, in part three, Boznow serves up a double dose of bivavles in his Kimchi Clams.

 
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