Cleary Hosts Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration with Marja Vongerichten

May 25, 2018

On Thursday, May 16, Cleary Gottlieb hosted its annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration – Bridging Cultures with Marja Vongerichten, host of PBS’s TV series Kimchi Chronicles and author of the companion cookbook, Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen.

Over 150 guests attended, including clients, law students, alumni, and minority bar organization members.

Marja discussed her remarkable life story as it began in Uijeongbu, South Korea, where she was born to a Korean mother and a U.S. soldier. She was adopted at the age of three by a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, then stationed in South Korea, and his wife, a civil rights attorney, and the family moved to the Washington, D.C. area. With the help of documents provided by her adoptive parents, Marja found her Korean birth mother when she was 19. She also reconnected with her Korean roots, family, culture, and food in South Korea. Kimchi Chronicles is Marja’s journey of rediscovery through a distinct, personal, and authentic lens.

Along with her husband, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Marja opened the Korean barbeque restaurant Chi-Q in Shanghai, China in 2014. Chi-Q won “Best Korean Restaurant of 2014, Shanghai Best 50” from Shanghai WOW and recognition as “The Top 12 Things We Ate in Shanghai in 2014” from Time Out.

Marja has appeared on numerous national and local TV shows such as Martha Stewart, NBC’s Today, CBS’s The Early Show, and various radio shows. She has contributed articles and interviews for publications such as Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Harper’s Bazaar, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Weight Watchers, and The Cook’s Cook. Marja travels the world doing public speaking, cooking demonstrations, and food-related events, and has helped to introduce Korean food and culture to America.