▲ Clockwise, food prepared at one of the Heirloom5 events. Photo by Britt Neufer. Bottom right, Shay Pacetti Photo by Sarah Warren
Almost one year ago, Shay Pacetti arrived in Jeju to teach English. This is the story for the majority of English-speaking foreigners living and working in Jeju, but her story is a little different from most, seeing her bring along an idea that would change the foreign community.
“Food and community is the most important thing in life,” says Pacetti.
“I realized so many foreigners were making so much good food and crafts that we should come together and share it.” So began the Heirloom5 Foreigner Farmers’ Market.
There have been three markets so far – the first was in May 2011, the second in October, and the third was in November.
Pacetti wanted to do something other than sitting in a bar, she says. “I wanted to be resourceful […] I wanted to make a community around our talent of making things.” Each market has been a little different. The first market saw handmade goods that were meant to be taken home, the second market saw more art and food to be eaten right away, and the third market saw a little less art but, again, more food to be consumed on the spot.
At the Heirloom5 Markets you can find anything from homemade soaps and deodorants, to all kinds of bread, beer, pillows and knitted goods, prints, paintings and drawings, pulled-pork sandwiches, ravioli, sausages, and chili —this is only to list a very few. With the monthly changeover in foreigners, each market offers something new, but always has the same warm, light-spirited atmosphere.
“I love that I just have to put out this space for people, the intention and the idea, and people just come [to the market] and do what they want,” says Pacetti.
It doesn’t end here for Pacetti: she has also allowed her idea of food and community to flourish through means of sharing her culinary expertise at exclusive speakeasy dinners. At these dinners about 15 people – who may or may not be strangers says Pacetti – gather together to feast on an eight-course meal. One must request an invite via Facebook to reserve their spot. She’s had to turn people down. “It’s first come, first serve,” says Pacetti, “and more and more people have been messaging me about it.”
At the Halloween-themed speakeasy, Pacetti had Rachael Darden as her partner in crime. “The theme was sweet and savoury. Rachael did four courses and I did four courses. We had a blast together. The food was rich, and dark, and sweet like Halloween. [There was] chocolate galore, coffee, Guinness, bourbon, and pumpkin.” Usually the speakeasys are held in Pacetti’s relatively small apartment, but last month’s was held in a converted storage closet in the Jeju Tourism College, says Pacetti.
Living in Korea and cooking Western-style meals, as expected, has its trials and tribulations. The most difficult part about cooking for so many people is space, says Pacetti. “Space is always an issue. I have a tiny fridge with a tiny freezer, a tiny oven, a tiny stove, [and] no counter space.” She says her apartment always looks like a war zone after each event.
Finding the ingredients can be an even greater challenge. “Finding the ingredients you need in Korea is nearly impossible. I order a lot of stuff from home or I just make it myself […] I get a lot of food from iherb.com, the Five-Day Market, and the Target of the east, Lotte Mart, but for all the rest I make it in my tiny kitchen.”
There’s no profit from the speakeasys, says Pacetti, “but I love it, it’s worth it. It teaches me so much about food and community.”
Pacetti is a teacher at the Jeju Tourism College. She is taking a trip to Australia from December to February, where she hopes to intern at Garagistes Wine Bar in Hobart, Tasmania. “The chef, Luke Burgess, trained with one of the best chefs in the world at [the world-famous restaurant] Noma in Copenhagen.”
When she gets back to the United States, however, she hopes to begin Graduate School at Boston University, where she’ll study gastronomy. “Someday, I want to own my own company doing food tours,” says Pacetti.
Pacetti hopes to continue the Heirloom5 Markets and the speakeasys when she gets back to Jeju, for her second semester at the Jeju Tourism College.
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