This was the email I sent to the editor of Gourmet magazine as a response to their article on Korean food.
'Mind, Body, and Seoul', or … Shanghai?
Congratulations, Gourmet magazine! Your article "Mind, Body, and Seoul" in the
March issue was full of fresh takes on Korean recipes. Although I would not use
vinegar in my Kimchi, your presentation was impressive, even to me as a Korean who is passionate (and opinionated!) about her country's cuisine. An authentic, yet
creative, depiction of Korean food (outside of Korea) is a really rare offering.
But I cannot help but ask where the Seoul is in the accompanying photographic spread? To my surprise, it was not Korea in the photos, it was...Shanghai?? The red lanterns, wall décor, table cloths, etc. are all iconic Chinese images. You would not put a cowboy and his chuck wagon in the background of a story about French Provencal cuisine, would you? The level of misrepresentation in the photos is egregious, since the recipes themselves were so incredibly Korean.
I should not complain too much since they got food part almost right. (I WOULD NOT use vinegar in my Kimchi!!!!) But the pictures...... Yes, they were beautiful. But the photos do not show Korea. It was like using a cowboy and his chuck wagon for traditional French Provencal cuisine. Nothing wrong with a cowboy himself but it does not represent French food. Same goes to the photo spread of Gourmet. It does not matter how good the photos are. They are just wrong.