Sunny Anderson's South Korean Military Tour Inspired A Gochujang Love Affair

Sunny Anderson has claimed a special place in many people's hearts from her everlasting co-hosting gig on Food Network's "The Kitchen." Her joyful and playful demeanor offers a refreshing outlook from the usual stone-cold serious chef who thinks they're too cool for school. With her fun-loving personality and loud and proud flavors in the kitchen, people are often surprised to learn about Anderson's vast military background (via the U.S. Department of Defense)

Not only did she grow up with active-duty parents, traveling all around the world, but she also served herself, following in her parent's footsteps. After graduating high school, she joined the Air Force in 1993 and served as an Air Force broadcast journalist in Seoul, South Korea. Her worldly experiences and adaptability to change made Anderson the fantastic, high-energy chef she is. 

She's quick on her feet and insanely creative, always throwing a secret ingredient into her recipes. Whether it's pickled jalapeños or spicy condiments like sambal oelek chili paste, Anderson loves to push home cooks to have fun in the kitchen and try something new. Speaking of getting creative in the kitchen, have you ever tried to put an Asian spin on something simple like mac and cheese with just one simple ingredient? No? Well don't worry, Anderson has you covered.

Gochujang...that special something

The latest and greatest ingredient Sunny Anderson is encouraging people to try is gochujang. And rightfully so! This bright brick-red Korean paste is bursting with flavor. Gochujang has taken the Western world by storm in the last few years, and Anderson was, of course, ahead of the curve due to her tour in South Korea. Celebrity chefs like David Chang have also put Korean food on the map with restaurants like Momofuku, which helped people see how Asian food is much more than Peking duck and sushi. 

A little goes a long way and can transform any dish from "meh" to "Is there any more?" Anderson did just that when she pulled a little trick out of her sleeve to take her mac and cheese to the next level. She shared her innovative recipe on Instagram with her 700k followers, and step three involved the addition of that special something. "Put the pasta back in the warm pot & add a spoonful of Gochujang... I fell in love with it more than 20 years ago while serving in S. Korea & it's finally here. It's funky & earthy in the best way, sweet, tangy & spicy!"

Now it isn't clear if Anderson created this incredibly delicious dish during her time in Seoul or if this is a recent development. Luckily for her fans, Anderson continues to explore new and exciting ways to jazz up classic recipes and enthusiastically shares them.