The Truth About Jae Jung From Top Chef Season 19

Fans who are excited for "Top Chef" Season 19 won't have to wait too much longer to catch new episodes of the show. Bravo has announced that Season 19 will be premiering on March 3, and this time viewers will get to ride along with host Padma Lakshmi and mainstay judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons on their adventures in Houston, Texas. An impressive assembly of luminaries from the culinary world and local chefs will also appear on the show this season, as well as 15 cheftestants vying for $250,000 and the "Top Chef" title.

One competitor, Jae Jung, may have already run into some of the famous chefs set to appear in Season 19. According to Eater, Jung previously worked as a sous chef at the former Café Boulud in New York City owned by Daniel Boulud, who viewers can expect to see this season (via Bravo). Another chef Bravo revealed will be on the show this season is Eric Ripert, who became Jung's mentor after she began working at Ripert's famed Le Bernardin (via The Iconoclast Dinner). Though Jung has certainly worked with some impressive names in the food world, she's also created something unique from her own cooking journey.

Jae Jung has a startup that fuses Korean and Cajun cuisine

From Seoul to New York to New Orleans back to New York and eventually, to Houston, it's no small trek that has landed Jae Jung on "Top Chef." According to Bravo, Jung is from Seoul but her culinary dreams brought her to New York, where she attended the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating, Jung moved to the Big Easy where she worked in lauded restaurants like Dooky Chase (via Bravo). The food she encountered while in New Orleans would eventually play a major role in her cooking.

When Jung moved back to NYC, she couldn't seem to find an adequate version of one of the dishes she had enjoyed in New Orleans. "I tried a lot of gumbo in NYC, and I just didn't like it," she told Eater. So, naturally, Jung developed her own gumbo recipe. Her version came with okra kimchi, combining inspiration from her time in New Orleans and her Korean background. Jung's creativity didn't stop there. According to Bravo, she launched a startup in 2021 named KJUN to serve her takes on Cajun and Korean food. For the near future, it looks like KJUN is pick-up only, but if she were to win "Top Chef" maybe a dine-in restaurant could be in Jung's future.