Born and raised in South Korea, Seonkyoung Longest moved to Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. when her husband Master Sgt. Jacob Longest, 14th Medical Operations Squadron, was assigned here in 2009. (Courtesy Photo)
Seonkyoung Longest, spouse of Master Sgt. Jacob Longest, 14th Medical Operations Squadron, holds up a copy of Food Network Magazine. Mrs. Longest moved to Columbus Air Force Base in 2009 and used the Food Network to not only improve her English, but to ignite her passion of cooking. (Courtesy Photo)
Seonkyoung Longest is one of two contestants on “Restaurant Express” without prior restaurant experience. While she may have to overcome the high-pressure situations presented to her on the show, cooking is something Mrs. Longest is confident she can do well. (Courtesy Photo)
The group of nine contestants on the new Food Network television show, “Restaurant Express”, listen to the host, Robert Irvine, who is not only known for hosting “Restaurant Express” but also shows such as Restaurant: Impossible and Dinner: Impossible. (Courtesy Photo)
by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Englar
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
11/8/2013 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- After blazing her way through "Master Chef Season 4", Seonkyoung Longest, wife of Master Sgt. Jacob Longest, 14th Medical Operations Squadron Interim Superintendent, is one of nine contestants in a new television show, "Restaurant Express" that aired for the first time Sunday, Nov. 3.
Born and raised in South Korea, Seonkyoung said that while cooking is a passion of hers now, it hasn't always been. Growing up, her parents owned a restaurant, and to this day cooking is still something both of her parents are passionate about. While her parents enjoyed cooking, Seonkyoung's hobbies included drawing comic books and dancing.
Seonkyoung met Longest in South Korea while he was on assignment there. After dating for a year, the two married and moved to Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. when Longest was stationed here in 2009.
New to the United States, Seonkyoung said that she didn't enjoy watching TV as much as she did in Korea because she couldn't understand the language as well. That's when she discovered shows on the Food Network. While not only improving her English skills, the Food Network inspired her and helped spark her interest in cooking.
Seonkyoung said that she started to cook something new that she saw on TV every day and wanted to share her creations with the internet community. She started up three YouTube channels, "Asian at Home", "Chop Chop", and "Seonkyoung's Kitchen", and since there creation she has gotten over 15,000 followers and over half a million views.
"It's really fun to share recipes that I've acquired here in Columbus as well as more international recipes," said Seonkyoung. "I am really focused on Asian food, like Asian home-cooked meals."
Seonkyoung said that one of her favorite things to do is to try new recipes and ingredients.
"I don't have a favorite dish because it's all really good," said Longest. "She misses Korean food so she enjoys making that. She's always making something new and trying new recipes. I'm her guinea pig...happily!"
Her success didn't just stop at the YouTube Channel though. Seonkyoung was recently on the fourth season of the Fox Network show, "Master Chef" where she was one of the top 40 home cooks out of 40,000 original aspirants.
Seonkyoung isn't stopping there, in fact, she's currently touring the western United States on the new show, "Restaurant Express", where the contestants must survive a culinary road trip across the West by not only proving their cooking skills, but their business-savvy mindset if they want to keep their seat on the Restaurant Express bus. Only one contestant will remain on the bus at the end, and that person will have earned the title of executive chef and a leadership position on the team at The M Resort, Spa and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Seonkyoung said that she learned how to cook from the Food Network (except for Korean food) and is excited to be on the Food Network now.
"This is such an exciting opportunity," said Seonkyoung. "It is literally a dream come true! I'm seeing myself on TV and I still can't believe it!"
While Seonkyoung has been away, she and her husband keep in touch by talking on the phone, social media and using the service Face Time.
You can catch Seonkyoung on the new Food Network show "Restaurant Express" on Sundays at 9 p.m. eastern/8 p.m. central.