Judy Joo majored in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in college before taking a job at Goldman Sachs and then Morgan Stanley – working on the trading floor as a institutional fixed income derivatives saleswoman. As one might imagine, the work was exciting, exhausting, stressful, intense and monetarily rewarding – yet, Judy found herself disconnected from what she was doing and burnt-out. She craved work that she felt more passionate about and connected to at her core. It was the push-pull of emotions that eventually led her to make the leap out of the financial world and into the culinary world.
Judy enrolled at The French Culinary Institute in New York City after realizing that on the weekends she spent most of her free time reading cooking magazines, trying out new recipes and daydreaming about being in the kitchen. She grew up watching her mother cook and felt very connected to the Korean philosophy that food is a language of love.
Her time at the French Culinary Institute introduced her to the plethora of ways that she could explore the food industry, and she ultimately decided to take a job with Saveur magazine – working in the test kitchens and writing for them. Working on the media side of the culinary industry would open up even more doors to ways that she could combine many of her interests into one self-created path – leading her to be the first female Iron Chef in the UK, the host of her own show, Korean Food Made Simple, and ultimately opening her own restaurant Jinjuu in London and Hong Kong.
Judy made the decision to make a change in her life, and in the process was not afraid to start again. She knew that she wanted to be in the food/culinary industry so she took a major pay cut, was willing to work long hours and was okay with doing the grunt work that needed to be done in a kitchen in order to learn. It wasn’t always glamorous, but it was something that she was passionate about doing – and that made all the difference.
In the podcast episode we talk about the skills she was able to apply from the finance world to the restaurant world, the importance on being kind to everyone you meet – no matter who they are – and how you find time to just be when you have a packed schedule and two restaurants to run! Listen below to learn more about Judy’s Chapter Be story…
CHAPTER BE QUESTIONNAIRE…
Happy with Yourself!
What’s your favorite quote, story or fact?
Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
Worst work experience?
Juicing 500 lemons with a fork was pretty awful. Pulling two all nighters in a row during my analyst days at Morgan Stanley working on some crazy deal…I showered in the gym across the street.
What is your definition of success?
To be happy with your life.
How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?
Take a long bath with sea salts and aromatherapy candles to clear my mind. I also love Pilates.
What does “to be” mean to you?
Be comfortable with yourself and in your skin. Love yourself for who you are.
How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?
Binge watching Netflix documentaries or TED talks. Crossword puzzles, Scrabble and my latest obsession is this super cute app called Neko Atsume (you collect kitty cats…it’s so strangely addictive).
Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?
- Vanity Fair
- The New Yorker
- Harper’s magazine
- New York Times
- The Financial Times
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Daily Meal website
- The Feed Podcast
- NPR podcast
Favorite song with “be” in the title?
Be Good to Yourself by Journey
LINKS & RESOURCES…
- The French Culinary Institute
- Saveur magazine
- Slow Food
- Iron Chef UK
- Korean Food Made Simple
- Gordon Ramsay
- Cat Cora
- Alex Guarnaschelli
Images via Judy Joo