|Lee Mie-kyung, vice chairwoman of CJ (CJ)|
With the successful European launch of bibimbap restaurant chain Bibigo under her belt, Lee will be flaunting the authentic yet universal flavors of Korean cuisine to the international business leaders at the international convention dubbed the “Davos forum” after the small Swiss host city, according to CJ insiders.
“Bibigo, the restaurant chain serving bibimbap, or cooked rice mixed with vegetables, will be sponsoring the Korea Night event, and Lee was invited to the party as one of the leaders in the creative economy,” a CJ official said. “Lee has been keen on globalizing Korean cuisine as well as developing and distributing cultural content. This will be a rather unofficial meeting between Lee and other business leaders to discuss businesses related to hallyu, or the Korean culture wave,” he added.
Those reportedly planning to show up at the Korea Night hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries at the Belvedere Hotel include Lloyd’s chairman John Nelson, Government Pension Investment Fund president Takahiro Mitani, Fluor Corp. chairman and ECO David Seaton, and JPMorgan Chase International chairman Jacob A. Frenkel.
The Korean pop sensation Psy, whose image is used globally to promote Bibigo, will accompany Lee.
At the event, based on the theme “100-year dinner,” soy paste fermented for 20 years, soy sauce matured for 30 years, 2-year-old vinegar as well as fermented fish and kimchi will be presented under the direction of Lee, aiming to show off the healthy side of Korean cuisine along with its epicurean allure.
Lee’s attendance at the Davos forum and promotion of the Korea Night appears to reflect her desire to promote Korean culture, business insiders say. Lee attended the Davos forum in 1997 as one of the 100 next-generation leaders.
Lee is known for having taken CJ in new directions. The company deals in food production and food services, pharmaceutics and biotechnology, entertainment and media, home shopping, and logistics.
She has focused on mixing culture with business. Lee hosted the Spotlight on Korean Cinema events twice last year in the U.S., bringing Americans’ attention to the Korean film industry, and especially to CJ E&M, a comprehensive entertainment business sector under CJ. Bibigo opened its first London restaurant, Bibigo Bar and Dining, in 2012, aiming to earn a Michelin star for fine dining. It has been listed as a restaurant to watch by the guidebook.
By Bae Ji-sook