With a mission to create the best kimchi possible while preserving his Korean heritage, Kheedim has not only accomplished his goal, but created an entirely new product along the way. Get to know Kheedim below and what makes him ferment.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
I never set out to start a company. I asked my mom (Mama O) to teach me how to make kimchi because all the stuff in the stores was trash and I did not want this important part of my heritage to be forgotten. It was a chance convo with my butcher that set me on my path to making kimchi for the masses.
Tell us about your products.
We make kimchi, invented kimchi paste, and also make a homemade kimchi kit so you van make kimchi at home the Mama O’s way. All our products are made with the highest quality ingredients. Mama O’s Premium Kimchi Paste is the first and only paste of it’s kind for making kimchi at home. It is also terrific as as condiment, soup base, flavor enhancer… The potential uses are truly infinite.
Why do you believe in small-batch products?
Because we make better/higher quality things and are able to give greater care (TLC) to our products.
What makes your product better than their mass produced counterparts?
We do everything by hand. Doesn’t necessarily make it better but it does allow us to exert considerable care and control over what we offer our customers. Also in a different way, our products are better because they help the very REAL people who make it earn a living doing good things, instead of a mega corp filling their coffers while comparatively making very little difference in the lives of their employees.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
What Drew You To Food?
You either live to eat or eat to live. I am in the first camp.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Art. Anything done well is art. I strive to live the life of the artist, for better or worse. Money is not my inspiration, excellence is.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We are working on a new product that we will debut in January… (mysterious sounds go here)
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
Trying to create an organic line. It’s difficult. But I am working with local farmers to build this up… It’s a challenge but if it were easy everyone would be doing it…
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
I had ramen from Nakamura which is right around the corner from my house.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Work harder. Love what you want to do cause you are going to be doing a lot of it, the good and the bad.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Kimchi Jigae with pork neck bone and white rice. Obviously the kimchi would be Mama O’s. It’s really true, this is my favorite meal and I’m lucky enough to be able to have it whenever I want.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
Ktown or Flushing for Korean food. Not to sound biased or anything but Korean food really is the best. New York Noodle Town is pretty amazing.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I like to ride motorcycles and crack jokes with my friends preferably while eating and drinking delicious things.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
No Billy Joel!!!!!!!!!