Sang's Open Road
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Los Angeles, CA
business, culinary school, Europe, expectations, finishing things, kicked out, learn by doing, motivation, parents, plan
It's safe to say that former college hockey player-turned-chef Sang Yoon doesn't play by the rules. He got thrown out of culinary school because he refused to wear the paper chef's hat and never went back to finish his degree. As a son of two high-powered parents (his father was a newspaper publisher in South Korea and his mother ran Chanel in Paris), his dream to become a chef wasn't well received. His parents accused him of wanting to be "the help," a term for domestic assistance. But Sang ended up learning the culinary arts on his own, apprenticing in Europe for over two years for renowned chefs. Eventually, he became the executive chef at Michael's Restaurant in Santa Monica and New York, serving up gourmet cuisine. But he became complacent with his work and yearned for something different and exciting. That's when he bought Father's Office in Santa Monica and turned it into a bar and restaurant, particularly known for its craft beers on tap. His casual-dining experience started catching on, and a second Father's Office opened in Los Angeles. His style has given him a reputation as a master of casual dining, but for a chef who had never designed a business plan in his life, he's doing pretty well. "You learn by doing," he says.