Each bite of Saehee Cho’s artistic fare comes with a backstory.
What began as a way to pay for art school has taken on a delicious life of its own for Los Angeles-based artist, baker and cook Saehee Cho, who founded her catering company SOO N last year after a four-year stint as wholesale director for designer Clare Vivier (who remains one of Cho’s most loyal supporters). Cho’s stylish and sophisticated food has fast become a word-of-mouth favorite among tastemakers, but perhaps most striking is her attention to detail. “I like to handwrite my work before transcribing it onto a computer,” says Cho, who has a master’s in writing from CalArts. “I use the same process with menu planning. I painstakingly draw out every detail because it forces me to edit the dish and almost always improves it.”
Cho draws on her Korean culture to layer flavors with seasonal produce and exquisite garnishes such as cucumber blossoms or radish flowers, as much for their beauty as their subtle spice. At a recent bridal shower, she was inspired by a favorite family recipe to create delicate short-rib finger sandwiches—a play on Korean braised short ribs and a banh mi with miso-braised leeks and crunchy Vietnamese pickles. Her savory bites, such as gluten-free cornbread with bacon jam or mint and spring pea dumplings, are addictive. But do leave room for dessert—the grapefruit cake with coconut-vanilla glaze, candied citrus and flowers is almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
As a caterer and an artist, she relishes the challenge of designing unique menus for the big day. “A wedding meal is already so symbolic, I love the idea of creating a narrative within the meal,” Cho says. “For example, I’ll create a loose interpretation of a couple’s first date as an appetizer course, or a Mediterranean vacation might become a meze spread for guests to graze on. The references are subtle, and only the bride and groom pick up on these sentimental elements, but I love that food can be quietly evocative in this way.” soo-nfood.com.
Written by HEATHER JOHN FOGARTY.