Yoyoma’s Kitchen, a music-filled restaurant
Do Boo-min (Department of String and Wind Instruments, ’82)
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Cervantes, the Spanish writer, once said that “Where there’s music, there can be no evil”. Music with positive vibes has strong impacts on people. Do Boo-min (Department of String and Wind Instruments, '82), a cellist and businessman, runs the famous restaurant 'Yoyoma’s Kitchen' in Seocho-dong, Seoul. Although Do is currently more in the field of business than orchestral music, he has successfully combined the two to create a unique restaurant.
Opening the Restaurant
In Yoyoma’s Kitchen, Do owns a workshop with string musical instruments such as the violin and the cello in the basement. He retained this workshop for 15 years and before that, he used to play for the Korean Symphony Orchestra, one of the most renowned orchestras in Korea, as a cellist. After Do retired from the orchestra, he started wondering about what to do next and went traveling to Hong Kong. While looking around there, he saw some cellos from a shop window and went inside. While talking with the owner of the shop, Do was offered a business partnership. Although he got back and researched musical instrument shops, waiting to be contacted, the anticipated call never came.
Do started off small 15 years ago, just opening up an instrument workshop on his own. Because the business did better than expected, he thought of starting up a new workshop along with it. “I thought my business would continue to sell this many instruments until the end,” said Do. However, he was faced with the global economic crisis around the year 2008, and could not keep maintaining his workshop only as it was. “Since there was too much space in the workshop, I thought of starting a café for efficiency.” After having opened up his café and run it for over a year, Do was given the idea to change it into a restaurant. “An interior designer came up to me and commented that it would be great for a restaurant and workshop to be combined in the same space instead of a café, and I agreed to that idea,” said Do. Since Do admired the famous cellist Yoyoma, Do named the new restaurant after him. That is how Yoyoma’s Kitchen came to be.
Music and Restaurant
After opening up Yoyoma's Kitchen, the restaurant became very famous for its interior, as well as the food it served. Because a restaurant with a music workshop was not a common concept, it worked quite well business-wise. “My place was filled with customers who wanted to enjoy their meals and gaze at the musical instruments around them,” said Do. It is located in Seocho-dong, close to the Seoul Arts Center (SAC), which is a frequented spot for many musicians. “A lot of musicians come to my restaurant to and from their way to the SAC, and others just stop over to look around the place,” explained Do.
Yoyoma’s Kitchen has a special distinction from other restaurants, in that small music performances are held there. House concerts, meaning concerts held inside the restaurant, takes place twice a month. Sometimes the profits made through the concerts are used for helping the needy. Performers are mostly professors from universities and musicians who are affiliated with Do from orchestras or through recommendations. Sometimes Do also plays the cello himself as a performer. Do mentioned that the cello has its charm in creating sounds similar in tone to the human voice. “It has the vibration that resonates inside people. The deep sound of it draws me in every time I hear it,” said Do.
Do, as a musician, plans to volunteer through his amateur orchestra, and as a businessman, wishes that his restaurant becomes more widely known. Due to the love that he has for music, Do says that his future businesses will also be somehow related to music. Do has practical suggestions for students in the music department. “It is a blessing to be a musician, but often economic circumstances do not allow many to become or stay as one. You must become the best in the field or it would be better to just enjoy music as a hobby, since it is realistically very hard to live as a professional musician,” said Do.
Kim Seung-jun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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