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Keeping it Sunny in Oregon with Chef Sunny Jin

Executive Chef Sunny Jin

JORY, The Allison Inn & Spa

Newberg, Oregon

Graduating at top of his class from Portland’s Western Culinary Institute where he received the Grand Toque Award, Chef Sunny Jin went on to complete his externship at Napa Valley’s famed French Laundry and followed his experience by working at top rated restaurants around the globe in including Sydney, Australia’s Tetsuya’s,  and top rated El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain.

Upon his return to the U.S., Jin remembered with fondness his formative school experiences and recognized the emergence of Oregon as one of the country’s preeminent food and wine destinations.

“Oregon’s commitment to seasonality and local produce most resembles European culinary communities,” notes Jin.

His search for a position amongst this emerging scene led him to JORY at The Allison Inn & Spa which has been among the state’s best reviewed new restaurants since its opening.

1.    What inspires you daily?

I love waking up with a dish in mind, then getting together with our team and experimenting on fresh new thoughts.  A good amount of the dishes I would call a “learning experience”, but a good amount make it to our menus.

2.    What is your nickname in the kitchen?

Sunny is my nickname!  I was born Sungho Jin, however I’ve adopted the nickname Sunny at an early age.

3.    Red wine or white wine?

Definitely Red, or was it White?  Who can remember with all the great variety in our Valley.

4.    What is the one dish that made you want to become a chef?

The very first dish I ever made alone was Kimchi Fried Rice with Tuna.  I made this around the age of six or seven.  I fully remember the sense of accomplishment I had.  From that day on I would make it at least twice a week for myself after school, and eat it while watching the Frugal Gourmet.

5.    What is your go-to comfort food?

I have a disturbing amount of Clif Bars and Jelly Bellies at home, office, and in my car.

6.    Chef’s hat?

Aesthetically, not a fan.  However, its actual benefit outweighs any notions of fancy I may have.

7.    If you could invite one famous person (dead or alive) to your chef’s table, who would it be and why?

Martha Stewart.  Through all the prim and properness, there’s a Bad A__ Lady with a strong sense of business and balance.  I think it would be fun to cook for her, then play 20 questions afterwards.

8.    What is the first dish you attempted but failed at?

Here we go…  I remember having this youthful naive confidence where I thought “Hey, I’ll just make my own wedding cake.”  Long story short, naive is quite an understatement.  We ended up buying one from the local supermarket the day prior!

9.    If you had a theme song for when you present your meals, what would it be?

I don’t know why, but the Mission Impossible theme song quickly came to mind.  I’d like to believe it’d be something more poetic and graceful, but I like to encourage our Chefs to have a great time cooking.  So, I pick Flight of the Bumblebee.

10.    Signature spice?

It’s difficult to narrow it to just one, but there’s definitely something special about star anise. The scent alone triggers great memories of past experiences.

11.    Signature cooking utensil?

Chopsticks.  They’re far more versatile and purposeful than most cooking tools.

12.    Crocs or tennis shoes?

Really?!  To all my friends with Crocs…  Let the dream go.

13.    When you come up with a new dish, do you immediately write it down, record it or memorize it?

I have notebooks after notebooks after notebooks of my everyday thoughts.  You’ll always find me in the Kitchen with something to write on at my side.

14.    If you had a pet rat like Ratatouille to help you cook, what dish would you want him to help you perfect?

That little guy is far more talented than I’ll ever be.  Sauce making is a constant progression.  That would be my first area of improvement.

15.    Do you dream about food at night? If yes, what food?

My wife once told me that I started to knead her arm in my sleep as if it were pasta dough.   I was making a LOT of pasta in those days.

JORY at The Allison Inn & Spa

 2525 Allison Lane
Newberg, Oregon 97132

Phone: 503-554-2525

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