Chef Sean An
High energy Jason Ha created Zip Fusion Restaurants. Ha's own spirited, enterprising Korean father was born in Japan and educated in America; his mother's family came from a long line of restaurateurs in Seoul. Together, the two families operated a number of very successful Japanese, American, and Korean restaurants throughout Korea.
Growing up, Jason's parents introduced him to a variety of international foods. His mother taught him the importance of how food tasted, looked and if it was healthy, always describing to Jason the culinary riches from their peninsula home. She even teased him into trying seaweed for the first time by pointing out the fish that ate it has such smooth skin.
With the blessings of his father, Ha came to the United States. After earning a college degree in business administration, Ha's entrepreneurial spirit took him first to the import-export, then to the world of high fashion. Even then Jason found himself seeking out new tastes during his international business travels. Eventually this love of food led him back into the kitchen. In 2002, Jason opened the first Zip Café in an appealing historic building near the Arts District, followed by a Westside location in 2005 by popular demand. A Corona location of Zip Fusion opens in early 2006, followed in the spring by the e3rd Steakhouse with art gallery and tearoom adjacent to the original Zip.
Ha's fun-loving enthusiasm as host is boundless, earning Zip a word-of-mouth "can't miss" hotspot designation early on. His vision and focus as an innovative menu designer has earned him critical and popular acclaim (see PRAISE). Recently the downtown Los Angeles community honored Jason as a "Mover and Shaker" acknowledging his capability to "take a dark spot in downtown and make it bright.
Lead Chef, Sean An
Jason Ha created his seasonally evolving menu with lead chef in Sean An. "I chose a chef who is not limited to a single school or style of cooking. I was looking for someone who wasn't afraid to go a little bit crazy-someone who understood tradition, but wanted to blend tastes in totally original ways and can show off the best of California products at the same time," he says.
The son of one of Korean's most well-respected architects, Kukan An, Lead Chef Sean An brings to the Zip kitchen his passion and artistic talent for creating perfectly balanced dishes which have labeled "sensual, original and healthy" by patrons and critics. His meticulous sense of detail reflects his academic background as an engineering student and initial career choice of race car designer. Formally trained in sushi, Chef An learned how to please the most discriminating palate while cooking for high officers in the Korean military during his tour of duty. Sean plays a major role in creating the exquisite yet inexpensive Zip Fusion dishes with Ha to match the vibrant design concept of Zip.
The adventurous pair creates dishes by working with regional foods and spices to develop a California Fusion that pays respect to Asian, European, and Latin influences. For example, ZIP substitutes a touch of smooth, spicy Vietnamese chili paste for the Korean variety. Traditional side dishes often served with Korean meals, such as "kong na mul" (bean sprouts) and "Woi" (Pickled cucumbers), are featured in salads. Asian rice paper, sesame seeds, seaweed strips are a few of the chef's fun "crunchies."
Healthy, fresh produce define the menu. Ha says his "discovery in California of the most amazing fresh ingredients available year-around play into my healthy Korean-based Asian fusion dishes." Adds An, "Right now, I am studying fresh vegetables. Asian and Western vegetables can have completely different tastes and are rarely seen in the same dishes. I have some surprises for Jason."
We are always in the back of the kitchen, experimenting with recipes and ideas," says Chef An, who creates individual dishes for patrons' special occasion parties, which often find a home on the regular menu.
Try these delicious recipes made with Fresh California Avocados. You'll be sure to please your guests.