After honing his skills in some of New York’s top restaurants, chef Deuki Hong is ready to strike out on his own. The multitalented chef wants to build a full-fledged hospitality group—as well as a stripped-down shack devoted to his modern, supremely delicious take on Korean fried chicken. In the first episode of Restaurant Roots, F&W follows Hong as he stages a pop-up to test his recipes on friends and industry insiders.
[MUSIC] When you see somebody do something that they love it's attractive and you're like what is it that they love. That's what brings you in and that's all I want. I don't want it to be like some really fancy, modern looking restaurant. I just want to be talking about fried chicken and cooking fried chicken and serving fried chicken and smiling. That's it. [MUSIC] My name is Deuki Hong. I'm a chef in New York City and today i'm just working on one of my fried chicken concepts. [MUSIC] I grew up in Texas. And I lived in Alabama for a couple years. So that's kind of where I love that southern hospitality [INAUDIBLE]. I just want to relay that to a lot of the concepts that I want. And fried chicken fits. My dream restaurant space. People walk in. They are like, yeah, I get it. I am thinking like a southern chicken shack. Like, one guy frying. Chicken. That's kinda the feel that we wanna go for. So like a really laid back, hip hop, and old chicken shack feel. My current fried chicken is unique in the fact that we serve it half or whole. So fry the whole bird up. We dry brine it to keep that juicy tenderness, but having that signature crispy glass like skin of a korean fried chicken. [MUSIC] We smoke the wings, roast them and then we incorporate it into the spicy sauce and mild sauce. It's kind of my favorite way to have chicken. We also have soup coming out that we use for the bones. We have some chicken skin as a snack. I don't have a lot, so just pick and choose. [LAUGH] I'll come around with it and you guys can nibble on it. I don't know what makes a successful restaurateur yet, I'm kind of working on it. Learning from my food guru and that atmosphere of just being there at that time, next to those chefs definitely does impact me. Even Jon Drews, that attention to quality and details, that it takes to be in a three star Michelin Kitchen, that's definitely in me. Somewhere. I thank all the clinical mentors that I talked to you. Asking them, what have they gone through? They're like we're just looking for the next thing, the better thing that we can do. How do we serve our guests better? And I think that is what makes you successful, hopefully in any industry. I'm not trying to go for a star. I'm not trying to go for a good review. I think for me I'm just kinda in the beginning stages of what it's like to cook my own. [MUSIC] Just give me very simple not complicated things I just kept through what I love to. No thank you, thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] If I was a chicken I wanna be feet fried in crave fried chicken batter and eaten with a sauce. I'm gonna stop [LAUGH]. [LAUGH]