Major: Culinary Arts
Job Title: Master Sommelier, Modern
Location: New York, NY
As a young boy growing up in South Korea, Kyungmoon Kim ’05, master sommelier at the Modern in New York City, was exposed to many different cuisines prepared by his mother—a professor of food science. But he wasn’t exposed to the world of wine, at least not until he enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America.
“The CIA was my top choice because of the extensive classes. It was great to be so completely immersed in the program for two years surrounded by like-minded students pursuing their dreams,” says Kyungmoon. “The program is very well put together and encompasses all facets of the industry. I couldn’t find any school that is better than the CIA.”
“I had very little experience with wine before I took the Introduction to Wine Studies with Professor Michael Weiss,” explains Kyungmoon. “But the more I learned, the more I loved the endless possibilities of pairing wine with food. It really changes and enhances the flavor of the dish.” Kyungmoon still felt his future would be in the kitchen, that is until he took the Formal Hospitality and Service Management course, which changed his trajectory. “I found the dynamics of the front of the house intriguing and liked the interaction of working with the guests.”
In June 2011, Kyungmoon moved to Seoul and reconnected with friend and fellow alumnus Jung Sik Yim ’05, executive chef and owner of Jung Sik Dang. Kyungmoon became the manager and sommelier at the restaurant and, two years later, helped open Jungsik in New York City where he served first as the beverage director then as general manager.
In September 2015, Kyungmoon joined the team at the Modern located at The Museum of Modern Art. In May 2016, he passed the notoriously difficult master sommelier exam administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers becoming one of only 230 master sommeliers in the world.
The CIA gave Kyungmoon a solid foundation on which to build his career. “I don’t think there is any other culinary school that teaches as much as the CIA—from fundamental cooking techniques to how to run a business. It’s all hands-on experience in a really short time,” he says. “I had the best time at the CIA because I learn something new every day. As a student, I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s important to always be curious and open-minded, and always explore. The two years will breeze by and you’ll look back and be amazed at all that you learned.”