COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. — As Korean pop explodes across the country – in entertainment and music – one Minnesota man is taking inspiration from his mother’s homemade Korean cooking and bringing it to the shelves for others to enjoy.
K.C. Kye points to flags hanging high inside the ‘Church of All Nations” in Columbia Heights, where he was once a minister and community organizer.
“We have over 32 ethnicities in our church community,” he said.
It’s the place where he found a home away from home – growing up on the East Coast.
“Through an amazing mentor, he pushed me to think outside of being a minister,” he said.
Encouraging Kye to follow his passion, bringing the food and flavors from his childhood to his new home.
“People appreciate good food everywhere, especially because of my mom’s good Korean food, I wanted to recreate her flavors in the kitchen that I grew up with,” he said.
Kye grew up eating his mother’s homemade Korean cooking and quickly realized how difficult it was to find food and sauces like his mother’s here in Minnesota. So, after more than a hundred variations, he decided to create his own brand of hot sauce called K-mama.
Inspired by his mother’s cooking.
“K-mama sauce is mainly comprised of an ingredient, Gochujang, that’s very popular that’s from my country, and it goes back many years, and it’s fermented paste, and my mom used to take it out and mix it all together for us,” he said.
Now – you can find K-mama hot sauce in several local stores – and Christmas markets across the state.
“Target, Whole Foods, Hy-Vee’s in Minnesota and Illinois,” he said.
While Kye is continuing to grow his business, he’s paving the way for others. “ I was also moved by his commitment and dedication to just giving back to society,” said Stephanie Tan.
Preserving his family’s legacy and starting his own.
“Korean food is able to become more mainstream and that’s an amazing opportunity for us to be a part of,” he said.
Kye says a portion of profits go to charity.
To find out more about K-Mama, visit the website here.