'The Restauranteur Paik' takes cast on a journey of entrepreneurship abroad
Star chef and restauranteur Paik Jong-won, who already has several hit reality television shows, is gearing up to launch another one with tvN.
Called “The Restaurateur Paik," he'll be appearing along with popular celebrities like Yuri from Girls’ Generation, also referred to as SNSD, John Park, Bambam of GOT7 and actor Lee Jang-woo.
“The Restaurateur Paik” follows Paik and the cast as they travel around African countries and Italy — all places where Korean cuisine is not yet as well-known — and attempt to start a restaurant business there.
“When I first got the offer for this show, it triggered my passion for entrepreneurship,” Paik said at the press conference for the show, held at Seoul Garden Hotel in Mapo District, western Seoul, on Wednesday. “The producers said something along the lines of: 'Are you sure you can do this?' And that triggered me. I was motivated to succeed with this premise.”
Paik said that he “cursed a lot” during the process of filming the show, adding with a laugh that his “fellow cast members must have learned a lot of new swear words” from him.
Lee Woo-hyung, the main producer for Paik's new show, said that the program is the result of long, meticulous preparations followed by another long wait due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We had to wait until it was safe enough for us to travel and also adjusted the schedule so that we could work with Paik," said Lee. "We just had to get Paik for this program. Anyone who has watched Paik’s previous shows like ‘Backstreet’ will know what I'm talking about — he is very professional and ruthless when it comes to the food business. It was a must to have someone like Paik to start a Korean restaurant business from scratch in a place where its people haven't really experienced Korean food."
Yuri of girl group Girls' Generation also praised Paik and said that she “learned about life” while shooting the program.
“I was positively influenced by Paik and learned so much from running a restaurant,” she said. “I lived as a Girls' Generation member most of my life, but at the restaurant and in the food business I threw away all my labels and worked as if I was in a war zone. I knew how to cook because I run a cooking YouTube channel, but this was something totally different.”
Actor Lee Jang-woo, who joins the show as an assistant to Paik, said he was surprised by the lack of Korean restaurants on the African continent and how much of a challenge it was to start one there.
“The Restauranteur Paik” airs its first episode on tvN on April 2 at 7:45 p.m.
BY LIM JEONG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]