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Senior journalists discuss syndicating masterpiece columns, news analyses, essaysAt newly opened flag-ship restaurant, Caf? 395, at Millennium Seoul Hilton

Korea’s top senior journalists met at the newly opened Caf? 395 at the Millennium Seoul Hilton in Seoul on Aug. 19, 2014 to discuss ways to proactively meet the fast-changing climate and challenges of the news media world in Korea. The discussion meeting was hosted by Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (member of Korea Journalist Society [KJS]), and was attended by Chairman Kim Eun-koo of KJS (former news editor and senior executive of KBS), Senior Advisor Yun Ik-han (former Vice President Yun Ik-han of The Korea Herald), Secretary General Chung Un-Jong (former editor of Kyunghyang Shinmun), Columnist Lee Kyu-sup (former editor of Kukmin Ilbo) and Editor Sung Nak-oh of KJS Journal (former president of Yeongnam Ilbo daily newspaper).

▲From left: Columnist Lee Kyu-sup (former editor of Kukmin) Secretary General Chung Un-Jong (former editor of Kyunghyang Shinmun), KJS Senior Advisor Yun Ik-Han, Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post, Executive Director Kim Jung-ki of Millennium Seoul Hilton, Chairman Kim Eun-koo of KJS and former President Sung Nak-oh of Yeongnam Ilbo.

The Korea Journalist Society is a senior journalists’ organization in Korea formed with over 600 leading journalists of Korea, who are mostly former presidents and editors of leading Korean media organizations, including daily newspapers, news agencies, TV and radio. As such, they have a great measure of influence (both personal and public) on the incumbent presidents, senior executives and editors of major Korean dailies, TV, radio, news agencies and other forms of media as they had mostly been the former superiors of the incumbent journalist leaders.

Koreans have a common expression, Jeon-gwan Ye-u (前官禮遇), meaning ‘Respect for former superiors.’ Jeon-gwan Ye-u is an almost ‘Unwritten Law’ which is adhered to in various government and other public organizations, especially in the legal circles, where the former superiors have a great measure of influence on the incumbent prosecutors and judges. Some of such influences are exerted for personal interests and gains on the part of some of such seniors but the practices also have strong merits in that the incumbents learn from their invaluable experiences and expertise gained and accumulated through decades of hard work and actual involvements.

High on the list of topics of discussion was formation of a syndicate to tap the uncontested talent and writing skill of the senior journalists who are not in active duty today. Koreans today live 20 to 30 years longer than they did in the past but there is no change in the retirement age, which means that the media organizations are releasing seasoned writers and editors 20 to 30 years before they actually should.

The proposed journalist syndicate could absorb the enormous potential of the former news media reporters, editors and executives, who had been literally forced out of their jobs 20 to 30 years prematurely. They could also include photographers, illustrators, cartoonists and comic strip artists.

▲From left: Senior Advisor Yun Ik-Han of Korea Journalist Society (former vice President of The Korea Herald), Ambassador Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post, Chairman Kim Eun-koo of the Society (former KBS editor/executive officer), Ambassador Mohammed Chraibi of Morocco and former President Sung Nak-oh of Yeongnam Ilbo (daily newspaper).

Demand for masterpiece columns, news analyses, commentaries, essays and other journalistic works is increasing in an ‘exploding’ form as the number of news media, especially in the online world, are growing as if the sky were the limit.

Some experts even predict the advent of an era when the conventional print media will be completely replaced by on-line media. In such an era soon to come, they warn that a single journalist can form an on-line ‘media company’ perhaps with one news input help and one reporter/photographer like the war correspondent who wrote stories and at the time took pictures.

These small media ‘companies’ will grow to hundreds of thousands in number and they will all need stories, photos, illustrations and other news-related materials.

And they are all the potential consumers and clients of the news syndicate contemplated at the senior journalists’ meeting.

Chairman Kim of KJS nodded to the idea and the prospect of the future news world in Korea in that the formation of the news syndicate would also mean an attractive source of income for all the contributing senior journalists.

Having discussed the formation of the news syndicate, it might not be amiss to give a friendly pat of thanks on Executive Chef Hyo-nam Park of the Millennium Hilton Seoul, who is the winner of the much-coveted honor for a chef, the Medaille du Merite Agricole (Order of Agricultural Merit), which was awarded by the French government.

Recognizing the presence of the senior journalist leaders of Korea patronizing Caf? 395, Park came to the open kitchen and personally roasted fresh lobsters for them. ‘Tailor-cooked’ for the palate of each senior journalist, the lobsters were immeasurably delicious.

Lobsters are among the most highly priced at most expensive restaurants in Seoul and they normally cost over 200,000 won to 300,000 won per person or even higher.

Caf? 395 offered a great benefit for the guests as they had as much lobsters as the guests wanted for only 87,000 won (adult) and 56,000 won (child) and, at that, the lobsters were roasted right in front of the guests to meet the individual palate of the guest. If the guest is lucky, Chef Park would be around to cook and serve the guest personally.

There were many other extremely expensive foods at Caf? 395, which included abalone, sea-cucumber, pine-mushrooms, king crabs and large prawns, which, prepared under the personal supervision of Executive Chef Hyo-nam Park, were uniquely delicious and luxurious.

Caf? 395, according to Public Relations Executive Kim Jung-Ki who came to welcome the senior Korean journalists, was opened on the Main Lobby of the Hotel on July 21, 2014 as a result of a three-month-long renovation when Caf? 395 was born as a result of merger of Cilantro on the Main Lobby and the Orangerie International Buffet Restaurant on the 3rd floor.

▲Prize-winning Chef Hyo-nam Park (left) personally roasts lobsters for the senior Korean journalists with his subordinate chefs.

A guest visiting Caf? 395 for the first time is completely surprised at the entirely new concept of the premium international buffet restaurant that is rarely found, if at all, in the entire Republic of Korea.

The foods, as was briefly mentioned earlier, are cooked mostly right in front of the guests at the open kitchen where you can see all the food materials and the neatly clad chefs.

Many of the foods on display there are those that are rarely seen at the buffet restaurant of other five-star hotels in Seoul.

According to Kim, the Millennium Seoul Hilton opened the doors of the new all day-dining, flagship restaurant about two weeks ago.

Here are excerpts from Kim’s introduction of Caf? 395:
Commanding each section (salads, seafood, Korean cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Italian cuisine, French cuisine, grill, desserts and much more), are seasoned chefs who are specialists in those food genres. The open-style kitchen concept brings life and energy to the restaurant, while also providing entertainment to diners as chefs cook up the buffet offerings.

Here are some examples of the delicious fares that will be an offer:
Appetizers Soft Shell Crab, Italian-style Seafood Salad, Grilled Mushrooms, Assorted Cheeses, Smoked Tuna Salad
Seafood Corner Steamed King Crab, Abalone, Whole Tuna Sashimi, Sea Bream, and other seasonal selections
Asian Specialties (Korean, Japanese, Chinese cuisines) Seasonal Namul, Grilled Mero, Soy Sauce Marinated Blue Crab, Lotus Leaf Rice, Beef Tenderloin and Asparagus Stir-Fry, Fried Garlic and Abalone
Western Specialties Foie Gras, French Vineyard Snails, Pasta Made to Order Grilled Section Top Grade Hanwoo Beef, Live Lobster, Tuna, King Prawn, Lamb, Assorted Vegetables, Peking Duck
Cafe 395 has maximized its space for the customers to enjoy a live performance with their full of vibrant energy. It is an ideal place to simply unwind with friends and family throughout the day and into the evening. The restaurant focuses on fresh seasonal offerings presented on an ‘open kitchen’ style international buffet, superior quality a la carte selection and intuitive service from attentive and skilled waiting staff.
It is not only ground-breaking in its concept, but also introducing new ideas in management. This restaurant is helmed by 2 full-time co-managers in order to serve the diner’s needs more effectively. Approximately 70 staff members make up the team at this new restaurant, and all have undergone intensive training spanning several months.
This is due to the fact that the teamwork is a key factor in making a restaurant successful. When selecting a culinary team, skilled cooking techniques as well as excellent communication skills are highly considered because cooperation leads to success, and thus brings a true value to the customers. Cafe 395 creates an experience befitting a flagship restaurant - one that is new, exciting, memorable, and pleasurable to the palate.
Cafe 395 was designed by Aedas, a global design company. Greg Farrell, Executive Director of Asia was in charge of the project. Aedas has worked on major restaurants in Singapore, notably at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, as well as Hilton Beijing, and the Shanghai Peninsula Hotel. Aedas has also been involved in creating landmark government offices, office towers and restaurants in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America.

▲A partial view of the newly opened Caf? 395, flag-ship restaurant of Millennium Seoul Hilton.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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