Yeong Ja Jung
Chef Yeong Ja Jung was born in Tongyeong, in war torn South Korea in 1946. The eldest of seven children, her responsibilities as you can imagine began at a very young age. Yeong Ja learned traditional Korean farming and cuisine from her mother who was taught from a long line of Korean ancestors that dates back hundreds of years.
Yeong Ja immigrated to the United States with her husband Jung Si Jung in 1976 to Chicopee, Massachusetts. In 1986 Yeong Ja affectionately called "Sue" and her husband bought the Aqua Vitae Restaurant in Hadley, MA; a well established Italian restaurant with a strong local clientele. Many of whom would consider, The Aqua Vitae as having the best pizza in the in the Pioneer Valley.
Sue never forgetting her roots continued to farm and make traditional Korean dishes for her family and friends. Sue developed a strong reputation as the best Korean cook in Western, Massachusetts. Incorporating produce from her garden, and making basic preparations such as, twenty different kinds of Kimchi, Korean miso, Korean red pepper paste and fermented fish sauce just to name a few.
In 2008 Sue sold the Aqua Vitae to a land developer and has since retired. Sue continues to garden and still enjoys making traditional Korean cuisine. Sue would often say after a meal "I don't know how to cook but some people think so."