By: Airman 1st Class Stephanie Englar, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Seonkyoung Longest, wife of Master Sgt. Jacob Longest, is one of nine contestants in a new television show, “Restaurant Express” that aired for the first time on the Food Network, Nov. 3.
Born and raised in South Korea, Seonkyoung said that while cooking is a passion of hers now, it hasn’t always been. Growing up, her parents owned a restaurant, and to this day her parents are still passionate about cooking. On the other hand, Seonkyoung pursued other hobbies like drawing comic books and dancing.
Seonkyoung met Jacob in South Korea while he was assigned there. After dating for a year, the two married and moved here in 2009. Jacob is the 14th Medical Operations Squadron interim superintendent.
New to the United States, Seonkyoung said that she didn’t enjoy watching TV as much as she did in South Korea because she couldn’t understand the language as well. That’s when she discovered shows on the Food Network. While not only improving her English skills, the network helped spark her interest in cooking.
Seonkyoung said that she started to cook something new that she saw on TV every day and wanted to share her creations with the internet community. She started up three YouTube channels, “Asian at Home,” “Chop Chop,” and “Seonkyoung’s Kitchen.” Since there creation she has gotten more than 15,000 followers and more than half a million views.
“It’s really fun to share recipes that I’ve acquired here in Columbus (AFB) as well as more international recipes,” Seonkyoung said. “I am really focused on Asian food, like Asian home-cooked meals.”
Seonkyoung said one of her favorite things to do is to try new recipes and ingredients.
“I don’t have a favorite dish because it’s all really good,” Jacob said. “She misses Korean food so she enjoys making that. She’s always making something new and trying new recipes. I’m her guinea pig … happily!”
Her success didn’t just stop at YouTube. Seonkyoung was recently on the fourth season of the Fox Network show, “Master Chef.” She was one of the top 40 home cooks out of 40,000 original aspirants.
Seonkyoung isn’t stopping there. In fact, she’s currently touring the western U.S. on the new show, “Restaurant Express,” where contestants compete for seats on the Restaurant Express bus by proving their cooking skills and their business-savvy mindset. Only one contestant will remain on the bus at the end, and that person will have earned the title of executive chef and a leadership position on the team at The M Resort, Spa and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
“This is such an exciting opportunity,” Seonkyoung said. “It is literally a dream come true! I’m seeing myself on TV and I still can’t believe it!”
You can catch Seonkyoung on “Restaurant Express” on Sundays, 9 p.m. on the Food Network.