Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee


Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee




Los Angeles, CA



Own Words

I didn't start my writing career wanting to write about Korean food and culture. It happened by accident. In fact, I started my "adult" life, thinking I was going to be a doctor. I was a pre-med student, double majoring in Biochem and Visual Arts when I was in college. After working at a hospital, a cancer research center and a bio lab, I got turned off from the whole medical thing and concentrated on art. I studied painting, conceptual art and installation and have a degree in Fine Arts. I still make a living doing it (It is actually possible, so don't despair!).

These days, though, I spend most of my time writing. I write about food, travel, film, arts, culture—pretty much anything that isn't "hard news." I woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to be a writer. I had been writing ever since I was a little girl and I wanted to do something that allowed me to continue making art, have a flexible schedule but still be able to pay the bills.

I just got lucky that the first story I pitched was to the "Los Angeles Times" Food Section. I'd been reading it religiously every Wednesday since I was 9 years old and thought "Why hasn't anyone written about kimchi in all these years?" I'm going to do it! And I did.

That was over a decade ago. Since then, I've written 2 Korean cookbooks ("Eating Korean" and "Quick and Easy Korean Cooking"), a travel guide for Korea ("Frommer's South Korea," the second edition is coming out in May) and I just finished writing "Quick and Easy Mexican Cooking" (don't want to pigeon-hole myself, as much as I love Korean food).

I love introducing people to Korean food and culture and especially love teaching cooking classes to people who've never even picked up a pair of chopsticks. I've taken it on as my personal mission to introduce Korean food to the world, one bowl of rice at a time!

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