How do you make a mark in the burgeoning plant-based egg (it really is a thing) space if you're a foreign brand trying to enter a segment that is just finding its feet? To drum up buzz around converting diners to this food form, American plant venture Just Egg teamed up with MediaMonks in Shanghai and Korea to develop the pop up restaurant Pioneers Club, inviting local plant-based advocates to a foliage-filled fine dining experience in the heart of Seoul’s Yongsan district.
In verdant surroundings representing the growing plant-based movement in Korea, only two guests at a time are served personalised plant-based dishes. The restaurant was developed to meet Covid restrictions with personal safety as a main priority. “When developing the concept...the Covid restrictions in South Korea kept changing to become more strict," said Jesper Larsson, senior director of Concepts at MediaMonks China. We decided to turn these new challenges into creative opportunities.”
Invited guests are served by a rotating roster of well-known chefs including Joon Woo Park, first runner-up on the TV show MasterChef Korea, Jason Oh, former sous chef of Michelin-starred Yardbird in Hong Kong and Jeong Seok Nam, owner and chef of vegan-friendly restaurant Local EAT in Seoul.
The design theme of the space is ‘wild nature reclaiming modern life,’ referencing both the growing plant-based movement in South Korea and Just Egg’s new Korean tagline ‘The egg born from the ground’ (땅이 낳은 에그), also developed by Media Monks.
“We created Pioneers Club to pay tribute to the pioneers who in different ways have helped the plant-based movement gain traction in South Korea and let them be the first to try the plant egg," said Tom Rossmeissl, head of global marketing at Just Egg. "It was a great way for us to honour the local thought leaders while rapidly driving awareness of our products among them.”
Guests are welcomed with their names projected onto plants before being led to the dining table where a personalised menu awaits. Every plant-egg dish served is based on specific dietary and taste preferences. The chef can pick fresh herbs and edible flowers from the surroundings to make every plating unique.
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