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Joanne Lee Molinaro discovered a new world in July of 2020 when she began sharing her family’s incredible story with the world while making her favorite Korean recipes. Best known as the Korean Vegan on TikTok, she found solace opening up about her North Korean roots in 60-second story time videos during the coronavirus pandemic. And doing so has propelled her to amazing heights, including becoming the author of The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma’s Kitchen.
The cookbook features her favorite Korean dishes alongside life lessons that have shaped who she is today. Joanne’s nearly 3 million followers have come to know her intimately through reimagined recipes, and when she invited Good Housekeeping into her kitchen for a tour, there was no denying that she’s just as intentional with the space as she is with her food.
In the video above, the 42-year-old Chicago native shares that she strategically places items throughout her kitchen for easy access while cooking. Her rice cooker and different grains are side-by-side; the same is true for her baking tools and ingredients. With accessibility in mind, Joanne often reaches for the cupboard above her stovetop that stores essentials, like extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and more.
Most notably, she keeps her fridge stocked up with a variety of homemade kimchi and an abundance of kale. And, of course, Joanne always has homemade sauces, like spicy garlic sauce and Korean barbecue sauce, which she uses “almost every single day in some way, shape or form.”
What’s more, the former lawyer is all about presentation, and when it comes time to share her latest recipe on TikTok, she pulls out stunning handcrafts plate and bowls to use for display. When she has the opportunity, Joanne also honors her heritage through dishware, using Korean earthenware bowls for soup and stews, Korean-style bowls for rice, plus Korean spoons and chopsticks.
Truly a meaningful kitchen!
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