About Sinto Gourmet

Sinto Gourmet Chef Hyunjoo

Chef HyunJoo

 

As a little girl, I learned how to make Kimchi from my grandmother. She was from PyongAn province, a part of North Korea now. When the Korean war broke out, she and her family escaped South to avoid the North Korean soldiers. They settled down in a small village very close to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with the hope that when the war was over, they could return to their hometown. She ran a small restaurant serving Korean and American soldiers near the army base and I was her favorite kitchen assistant.

 

This childhood experience has influenced me and my life in many different ways. I moved to the U.S. in 2003 and decided not to go back to the corporate world.  I instead attended culinary school and started my career as a chef.  I was fortunate enough to work under a very talented Austrian-born master chef, Fritz Gitschner for three years.

 

My husband and I moved to San Francisco from Houston in 2007 and I worked for a time as a line cook at Aqua, a two Michelin starred restaurant in the Financial District. Since leaving Aqua, I have been working as an event chef for Paula Le Duc Fine Catering.

 

In 2008, the world was hit by the economic crisis and so was my job. In order to help make ends meet, I started selling my homemade Kimchi to my Korean friends who were so fed up with store brand Kimchi that is full of MSG and preservatives. Soon, friends of friends and my husband’s non-Korean colleagues also started asked for my Kimchi. This experience helped me see my grandmother’s food from a totally different perspective.

 

In 2010, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, to build a company around what I learned from my grandmother and what I know and love the most. Reunification in Korea has not happened yet and my grandmother passed away without ever visiting her hometown. I hope to pass on her passion for great food and serving people.

What is SINTO?

 

The word “sinto” comes from an old saying in Korea: SINTO BURI. It is written ‘신토불이’ in Korean and it literally means ‘body and soil can not be separated’. Sinto buri means our bodies and spirits are at their best when eating foods that grow on the soil we step on. In Korea it is used to emphasize the importance of local food and where food comes from. At Sinto Gourmet we integrate sinto buri into all the food we prepare and everything we do.

 

When I first moved to San Francisco in 2006, I was pleasantly surprised to see the big movement of local food. The philosophy of food culture is very similar in Korea. Many people drink wheat grass juice for breakfast and eat seaweed during the winter to prevent them from catching a cold. These are the foods I grew up with.

 

My husband, John, and I took a sabbatical vacation to Tibet in 2010. During the visit to countless monasteries, I noticed a lotus flower painted on a red bench which is used as a table for monks to put their belongings such as a tea cup, books, prayer necklace, etc, during meditation. As a buddhist myself, I chose this flower to integrate into my company logo. The shape of my company logo was also inspired by the Lotus Flower Stairway leading to The Temple of Abode Land, a famous temple in Korea.

 

At Sinto Gourmet we make food that is important to Health, Happiness, and Community.  Our company is family owned and operated and based in San Francisco since 2010 with a determination that Sinto Gourmet will always carry on the philosophy of the name and logo.

Lotus Flower Stairway
Fresh, organic ingredients
Kimchi fried rice

Our Promise

 

We source locally whenever possible, which is most of the time.

I try to use locally produced ingredients as much as possible. Local produce not only saves energy, it also tastes better and is better for you because it’s harvested when fully ripened. Although, I do have to admit that a few ingredients, such as Korean red pepper powder are imported and Napa cabbage sometimes comes from outside of California because of seasonality.

 

Absolutely No MSG, NO preservatives, and NO additives are used in our products.

It’s too bad that so many food products on store shelves are still made with things that you cannot even pronounce. Please check out the ingredient list on my labels. All of them are natural and easily recognizable. You know what they look like, what they smell like, and what they taste like.

 

We treat employees fairly.

My company is family oriented and this extends to the treatment of our employees as well. I treat them with simple honesty and respect.