New Emissary

Hamburgers à la Kim

The Dear Leader’s former chef reveals some sinful food choices.

With our latest feature op-ed, (‘How to Weaken Kim’s Grip’) I’ve got DPRK on the mind. And adding spice to the popular topic–of Kim Jong-Il’s supposed declining health–is news of a couple of quickly rising players in the regime succession game: Kim’s little sis, 64-year old Kim Kyong-Hui along with her husband Jang Song-Thaek, and Jong-Un, the leader’s mysterious youngest son.

But most interesting for me in the AFP’s report is the closing quote on Jong-Un, (apparently ‘a chip off the old block’), made by a certain Kenji Fujimoto, identified as a former personal chef to Kim Jong-Il.

Because in The Atlantic last year there was an excellent piece covering Fujimoto and his 2003 book, I Was Kim Jong-il’s Cook. According to it, the North Korean dictator has a mighty fine palate, is obsessive on the aesthetics of rice and is a fan of some specific food items–including Iranian caviar, Malaysian mangos and Czechoslovakian beer. Furthermore, the ‘Dear Leader’ apparently has a particular affinity for pizza and hamburgers.

Considering the health hazards linked to Kim’s latter fixations, I wonder whether his declining health might have something to do with a high cholesterol count…