avec jayden toronto

The sous chef at a fancy Toronto restaurant is now selling his own kimchi

When he's not working at popular Financial District restaurant Richmond Station, Jayden Bang is fermenting and jarring up kimchi. 

The junior sous chef works four days at Toronto's upscale restaurant, but on his off-hours, he's at home, working on his own recipe of Korea's deliciously odorous dish for his side hustle, AVECJAYDEN.

Bang and his family arrived in Canada six years ago. The 32-year-old says he's tried kimchi all over Toronto, but has yet to find a brand or style thats hit the spot. 

Like many people who grew up eating kimchi, few versions live up to the one that home-made, usually by a Korean mom. When it comes to both fragrance and memories, there are few foods that evoke sensations as strong as kimchi does.  

Bang says that he and his wife have been working on a kimchi that's basically a reinvention of his own mother's recipe. He's hoping to share those deep and complex flavours with Toronto. 

"I've been growing up watching my mom making kimchi every year when I was young," says Bang.

"That memory can never be replaced. For me kimchi is not just one of the fermented vegetables, it's my soul food." 

Bang says that kimchi should be crunchy, almost fizzy, when you bite into it. Unlike more common versions, he uses Korean radish, or mu, instead of daikon. 

His recipe includes an overnight brine, six hours of straining – minimum – and a paste made of mu, scallions, garlic, apple, ginger and some Korean chili flakes.

What gives Bang's kimchi that extra flavour? "Korean-style dashi," mixed with rice flour.

Fermentation takes up to four days at room temp and then the kimchi heads to the fridge.

Bang says his version is a bit less funky than other versions, meaning it's more accessible for those usually dissuaded by kimchi's strong smell. You can DM him for 500ml jars ($10) or 1 L ($17). 

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