Hollywood Stars Promote Korea's Cuisine

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Heather Graham of erstwhile Boogie Nights fame, and actor Hugh Jackman are scheduled to appear in an upcoming PBS documentary titled, Kimchi Chronicles, reports the Korea Daily. The Hollywood stars are the latest in a line of celebrities promoting Korean cuisine’s newfound popularity.

The documentary, to run for 13 half-hour long segments, will be hosted by world-renown chefs, Jean Georges and his wife, Marja Vongerichten, who promise to take viewers on a spice- filled journey through the heart of Korean cooking. Segments will feature popular eateries throughout Korea, as well as open markets and individual kitchens for a more homemade flavor.

Jackman, best known for his role as the barely tamed, savage Wolverine in the action adventure film series X-Men, was appointed a “Goodwill Ambassador” in 2009 by the South Korean government. During a visit to the country that same year the muscle bound actor told fans that Korean barbecue was the cornerstone of his diet while training for the part.

Vongerichten was adopted at the age of three by a couple in North Virginia, where she says she grew up eating typical American food. The 34-year-old, who is half-Korean. says however that she’s always had a love for the spicy and pungent flavors of Korean cooking, a staple of which is the pickled cabbage dish known as kimchi.

The documentary’s release coincides with an ongoing campaign to promote greater international awareness of Korean culture by the South Korean government. The wife of current President Lee Myung-bak, who has spearheaded a push to popularize Korean food, appeared in a photo in 2009 alongside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where the First Lady was seen shoving a handful of the fiery cabbage into Clinton’s open mouth.