Deuki Hong CIA culinary arts alumni and executive chef at Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, New York, NY.

Spotlight On: Deuki Hong '09Culinary Arts

Executive Chef, Kang Ho Dong Baekjong
"There is a lot of wisdom in teaching the basics and fundamentals and no other school does it better than the CIA."

Deuki Hong, principle in a newly created hospitality group in New York City, developed an interest in cooking in middle school and, at the age of 15, was hired by Chef Aarón Sanchez to work in the kitchen at Centrico in Tribeca. Sanchez told the budding chef, “You have to go to culinary school.” So, Deuki went home and searched for the best culinary college in the world and found The Culinary Institute of America.

“I wanted to go to the number one school, and the more I learned about the college the more I knew it was for me,” Deuki says. “I got to dive into cooking 24/7. It’s like a chefs playground. I was surrounded by the best of the best and I just absorbed everything.” He even contributed to the curriculum. “Chef Michael Pardus ’81, chef-instructor of the Cuisines of Asia class, asked me if I had any Korean recipes. I gave him my mom’s spicy chicken stew recipe and he liked it so much that it became part of the class. I thought ‘I can cook food from my childhood and it will be accepted.’ It gave me the confidence to do Korean food.”

“There is a lot of wisdom in teaching the basics and fundamentals and no other school does it better than the CIA. The school offers so much but it’s what you take from it that makes all the difference,” he says. “Spend time in the library and use all of the advantages the school has to offer. There is a treasure chest of knowledge at your fingertips.”

When hiring, Deuki looks for CIA graduates. “They’ve invested time and energy and have the hunger, drive, and grit necessary for the profession,” he explains. “And being part of CIA’s alumni network is like being in a fraternity, a fellowship. There’s an instant connection. One of the greatest assets the CIA has is the network of alumni in the top kitchens all over the world. Cooking is global and can take you anywhere you want to go.”

The first project for Deuki’s hospitality group will be a casual restaurant focused on fermentation that will open in 2017. “I was fortunate to meet the right people who put me on the path to where I am now. My education from the CIA gave me all the tools I need for success. For me, it’s all about the people and customers, and the hospitality you bring to the table.”

The Culinary Institute of America

1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499

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