Date 2023-12-26
We are rooting for the dignified self-reliance of Hui-joon who is being raised by his grandparents.

We are rooting for the dignified self-reliance of Hui-joon who is being raised by his grandparents.


 It is said that the grandparent-and-child families in Korea are spread in the 80% of the households earning the lowest annual income. Korea Welfare Services runs Northern Gyeonggi Foster Home Care Support Center under a contract with Uijeongbu-si, Gyeonggi-do with the aim of providing support to the grandparents in poverty who have to look after their grandchildren painstakingly till the day they die. The center currently gives assistance to about 400 foster families and financial support to them for their livelihood, housing, medical care, and education. Here is the story of a child who is being raised by his grandparents and running toward his dreams with all his might.


 1. Would you introduce yourself and your family? 

 How do you do? I am Hui-joon Choi (fictitious name), a student in the third grade of high school majoring in culinary art and science. I have been living in Gyeonggi-do with my grandparents and my brother five years older than me since I was quite little a boy. My grandfather in his seventies is an owner-cabdriver who assumes the responsibility of supporting all the family. My mother had been out of contact since she was divorced from my father who died 13 years ago out of the blue. Fortunately, my brother and I have been in the care of my grandfather and grandmother and leading our lives to do well at school and build hopes.


 2. You have been an award winner multiple times. What brought you to engage in the cooking contests?

 It is true that my family circumstances were not favorable and I did not do so well at school like my brother did, so I made up my mind to major in culinary art and science at high school with the intention of getting a job. Initially, I participated in a cooking contest held at my school when I was a second grader in high school. I was very strained and worried then. As I took part in such a contest more often and won more prizes, I ended up having interest and confidence in cooking rather than anxiety. I have been awarded in more than 5 contests thankfully.


 3. What is your special dish?

 They often say that I make pasta well enough. I also like it personally.

 I would like to share my recipe for pasta so you can make it easily and enjoy it.


 My own recipe making even those who dislike broccoli eat with relish!


 “pasta with broccoli cream”


 1. boil pasta and apply salt to spaghetti water

 2. slice up broccolis to poach them in vegetable stock water

 3. put in fresh cream and milk and blend them in a mixer to make broccoli cream

 4. fry bacon, eggplants, broccolis, and zucchni and put in broccoli cream to fry more

 5. Put in pasta and sprinkle powdered parmigiano reggiano cheese to adjust the concentration level

 6. season with salt 


 4. How do you feel about the contest held at BEXCO in Busan in September, 2023? 

 I was nervous because it was a contest taking place in the remote place of the country. I was worried over what if I failed to be awarded. But I did well and won the silver medal in the individual pasta competition. 

 My grandfather having a very strict and brusque disposition couldn’t stop laughing and was proud of my achievement. Of course, my grandmother and brother were delighted as well. 

 I am planning to engage in two or three more national cooking contests in future.


 5. Is there anything difficult during the period you prepare for a contest? 

 I feel that I am sort of incompetent all the time. Sometimes I find it hard physically to practice cooking from early in the morning till late at night and once in a while I am exhausted. But I feel I become stronger at heart though I am weary in body, for I want to continue cooking.


 6. What are you planning for your future career? 

 I didn’t make decision on detailed plans for my career yet. However, I am much interested in cooking and I want to be a man who cook food better than anyone else. I think I can make anything once I have sufficient skills. And I hope to be admitted to the related department of a college and learn cooking more professionally. And I’d like to get a scholarship like my brother.


 7. Is there any message you want to give to the teenagers who should make decisions and assume responsibilities on their own as youths getting ready for self-reliance?

 It is really burdensome for teens under unfavorable conditions without their parents to make decisions and take responsibilities on their own at an early age. I think it stands to reason that they feel this way. Likewise, I am anxious at heart and fearful of failure. I don’t stop offering a challenge, though. Because I have gained lessons and experiences through the failure even though I challenged and ended in failure. I think those who are in such a situation as I will be able to have chances to thrive if they see the world with their eyes wider open and challenge.

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