Jeong Kwan

Jeong Kwan (born 1957) is a Seon Buddhist nun and chef of Korean cuisine. She lives in the Chunjinam Hermitage at the Baegyangsa temple in South Korea, where she cooks for fellow nuns and monks, as well as occasional visitors. Jeong Kwan does not own a restaurant and has no formal culinary training.[1]

The fifth of seven siblings, Jeong Kwan was born in Yeongju in North Gyeongsang Province and grew up on a farm.[2] She learned to make noodles by hand at age 7. She ran away from home at 17, and two years later joined an order of Zen nuns, where she discovered her calling of spreading dharma through cooking.[1] Jeong Kwan's recipes use aubergines, tomatoes, plums, oranges, pumpkin, tofu, basil, chilli pepper, and other vegetables, which she grows herself.[3] In addition to being strictly vegan, Jeong Kwan's recipes omit garlic and onions, which some Buddhists believe increases libido.[1][3]

Jeong Kwan has influenced chefs including Mingoo Kang, of the Seoul restaurant Mingles, and René Redzepi, of Noma in Copenhagen. She is friends with Éric Ripert, a fellow Buddhist,[1] who has invited her to New York City to cook for private audiences at Le Bernadin.[1][4] In 2017, Jeong Kwan was featured on the Netflix series Chef's Table.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gordinier, Jeff (16 October 2015). "Jeong Kwan, the Philosopher Chef". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  2. ^ "The Zen Cooking Way". Sha Wellness Clinic. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b Thompson, Jonathan (9 October 2016). "Zen and the art of Korean vegan cooking". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  4. ^ Cheung, Alexis (27 June 2017). "The Most Popular Buddhist Nun Cook — in Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  5. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (20 February 2017). "We sat down for dinner cooked by one of Chef's Table Season 3's chefs". The Independent. Retrieved 3 July 2017.