Kimchi Planet
Helen Ree and Josh Hornby, owners of Kimchi Planet

New eatery brings Korean food trend to the North East

Foodies in the North East can now sample one of the culinary world’s biggest trends, after two young entrepreneurs opened Newcastle’s first fully authentic Korean café.

Founded by Helen Ree and Josh Hornby, Kimchi Planet serves a range of traditional Korean dishes but specialises in using kimchi - a mix of fermented vegetables, typically cabbage and radishes.

A staple in Korean cuisine, kimchi has rocketed in popularity across Europe in recent years, being labelled a ‘superfood’ by many in the industry due to its nutritional properties. The ingredient is eaten daily by many Koreans and is thought to offer many health benefits.

Helen and Josh started their business two years ago selling Korean street food at local markets, but with the Newcastle restaurant scene evolving quickly, they saw an opportunity to set up a more permanent base.

Seoul-born Helen said at the eatery’s recent launch event: “We are so excited to be expanding our business.

“We love trading at the markets and are delighted that our hard work has presented us with the opportunity to fulfil our dreams of opening the café whilst also attending as many of the local markets as possible.

“I love my native country and I think it is so important to ensure the authenticity of Kimchi Planet and to share the culture of Korean food.”

As graduates of Northumbria University, Kimchi Planet’s founders have been able to take advantage of its Student and Graduate Enterprise Service. The scheme provides free enterprise skills training and start-up support for students and alumni.

As part of this, experienced mentors have provided legal, financial, marketing and public relations support.

Graham Baty, the university’s enterprise manager, spoke about the business’s recent success: “Helen and Josh have already built a brand and reputation for authentic Korean street food in Newcastle - and the food is absolutely delicious!

“It is great to see their business grow and I am delighted they have utilised the support and guidance available to them as graduates of Northumbria University.”

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