Single’s Inferno Star Moon Sehoon Has It All Under Control - Men's Folio
Style, Interview

Single’s Inferno Star Moon Sehoon Has It All Under Control

  • By Manfred Lu

Moon Sehoon — the star of hit reality TV show Single’s Inferno — graces the cover of our December/January 2023 “Festive Cheer” issue.

Korean-born Moon Sehoon is a familiar face to those who binge on romantic reality competitions set on islands. While we met him in the reality show Single’s Inferno with a brief introduction to who he is as a love interest, we rarely get a glimpse of who he is in real life. While holding up credentials fit for someone twice his age, the chef, entrepreneur, and celebrity figure makes it clear that despite all that he has achieved, he is still the same honest and relatable figure.

He goes by his day with the same passion he had when he first started — revealing layers of an honest man whose ambitions motivate him to change the world around him.

Moon Sehoon is wearing the Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph in stainless steel with matching integrated bracelet; Bottega Veneta Wool-blend jacket, wool-blend pants on the cover.

Hi Moon Sehoon, we’re delighted to have you as our December/January 2023 cover star. What have you been up to since your days at Single’s Inferno?
Hello! It is an honour to end the year and start 2023 with Men’s Folio. As usual, I am currently very focused on my businesses, which, in addition to the Onlygo main branch, I have been occupied day by day with the opening of its new branch in Gwangju, which opened this year as well.

Most of us in Singapore would know you from Single’s Inferno. How would you describe yourself to those who are hearing about you for the first time?
I am just a young businessman who cooks. I strive to create delicious food, good service, and authentic brands for like-minded people in my 20s

We’ve also seen most of you on the show. What is something unique about you that most are unaware of?
I possess a positive mindset that reminds me that I am capable of doing anything. I think that positivity has led me to this point.

Moon Sehoon is wearing the Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph in stainless steel with matching integrated bracelet; Dolce&Gabbana Cotton sweater, cotton shorts

Now let’s talk about your businesses. When did you decide to open Onlygo, and why?
Onlygo is a brand I created with many years of experience after three big failures. It is a brand full of passion from the name that contains all the know-how gained through experiences and failures.

What is your earliest relationship with food?
My journey with food began in my 20s; I did not have a day away from food. My experience with it started from working at farms, small stalls, and ultimately Onlygo. Food is now one of the keywords that represent me; it has always been a love-hate relationship.

Which item on the menu speaks loudest to you?
The menu is unique to my identity and includes things I did not think would have existed. Previous versions of it were challenging, but the most successful of all attempts has been the fusion of Korean and Western cuisine. That includes the harmony of squid ink and Tteokbokki(spicy rice cakes) that I developed with my mentor. Pasta using Hangjeongsal(porkjowl) and sesame leaf, and risotto with Mukeunji(aged and fermented kimchi) — just to name a few.

A western menu using Korean ingredients was a great challenge for me, but I think it has come together in a greater sense because it has been so well received.

Single’s Inferno Star Moon Sehoon Has It All Under Control
Moon Sehoon is wearing a Celine Wool cable knit sweater; ZEGNA Leather coated pants.

What sets Onlygo apart from other restaurants in Gangnam, South Korea?
If I could express it in one word, it is”sincerity”. A chef’s sincerity to food, the staff’s authentic service with customers and the sincerity of the colleagues we work with. I think it is the most important thing in business, and these factors differ from what you would see in other restaurants in Gangnam.

When did you start to be interested in the food business?
I think it was when I was 21 years old. I felt that cooking was right for me when I started learning how to work from small but tough chores in the kitchen. I realised that my learning speed was much faster than my colleagues, and my innate ability towards the craft was also better.

That is how I became more interested, and it made me more confident that I could make something of my own with cooking.

What has changed about you since you started on this career path?
I have never approached food the same since. When I came across all kinds of food and drinks, I was not sure how but I would try to figure out what it would have been made of and what kind of process came through until the moment it came into my mouth.

It is a funny habit, and I have heard a lot of people commenting that I have become too serious with food.

Single’s Inferno Star Moon Sehoon Has It All Under Control
Moon Sehoon is wearing the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 in stainless steel with matching integrated bracelet; Saint Laurent silk satin jumpsuit.

You’ve tagged “Chosim” on your Instagram bio, leading us to a restaurant in Apgujeong. Can you tell us more about that?
Chosim is a newly opened Korean restaurant and also my favourite word. As you live day by day, you will continue to move away from the original intention you set out to find. I tried to create a space where people could enjoy the food and think about what sparked their hearts for a while, which meant not losing the original intentions of their passions as much as possible.

What about”Studio Tedoh”? I noticed that it’s not a restaurant but a clothing brand. Is this your next business venture? Let us know more about it.
Tedoh means attitude in Korean. The most important thing for me in all my business is the attitude towards work, and I started this brand to show my attitude. I have always been honest and positive, but at the same time, I am detailed-oriented and sensitive. I try to express this in Tedoh.

If you could star in a drama, what would your ideal role be and why?
It is a very new and interesting question. If anyone can express me as a character, I would think I am a man of passion. Would it not be a little easier to express me in acting if my character was in a similar disposition as my real self?

In your vlog with Ji-Yeon, you mentioned that there had been a lot of changes in your life that you couldn’t get used to yet. How has the latter half of the year been for you?
It was really the second half of the year when it passed like a typhoon. New situations began to take shape, and many new challenges came with them. The biggest change in my life during the second half of this year was the opening of a new Korean restaurant brand called Chosim. I was really confident about it, but on the other hand, there was also the pressure.Those who have seen Single’s Inferno would know that I like to cook Korean dishes such as stew and fried rice with a cauldron and eat from it. On the menu at Chosim, there is also the same fried rice dish that was shown on hell’s island from Single’s Inferno.

What about the stressful parts you mentioned, then? How have you been coping with them?
My mindset has just been to “endure it” and on the next step”.

Moon Sehoon is wearing a ZEGNA Nylon-blend technical sweater; LASIK Leather gloves.

Are there any travel destinations you’ve visited where its food truly stood out?
When I travel, I try to visit all the famous restaurants as much as possible, but recently I enjoyed the Hong Kong-style food at the Capital Seafood Beverly Hills in Los Angeles.

Being an entrepreneur in the culinary industry is a hot seat — considering the abundance of restaurants, cafes, and bars in South Korea. Are you good at withstanding pressure?
I think there are types of pressures that I can hold up well, and there are some that I have not. As a representative of several brands, I can withstand all the pressures on my work performance. Rather, I always want to bear the burden of bringing the employees’ hearts together.

What was Moon Sehoon like as a teenager? The fans would be curious to know.
I was a similar man with the same passion as I was younger. Once I have started something, I will not stop until it is finished. I will accomplish what my intuition set me out to do. The only difference would be that when I was younger, I was perhaps a little more handsome back then(laughs).

Was there ever a time when you seriously considered becoming something other than a chef?
When I was young, I had a dream of becoming a politician. There were times when I wanted to be an athlete because I like sports, and what I thought the most was to be a good husband and a father.

What would you like to do next with Onlygo? An expansion across Korea? Or perhaps, even across Asia?
I want to open stores all over Korea and further expand to East Asia.

Moon Sehoon is wearing a Youths In Balaclava Wool-blend jacket, wool-blend pants; Mikimoto x Comme Des Garçons Akoya cultured pearl necklace

“Chefs are rockstars as well” is a statement that floats around the culinary industry often — do you think being a celebrity is as crucial as a good menu?
From the CEO’s point of view, being a celebrity positively impacts the business. But from the chef’s point of view, there is nothing more important than the menu except the service to customers. If I become a celebrity with the right taste and service for my restaurant, I’ll be satisfied because it means that my food and restaurants are well-loved by customers — which means a lot to me.

Do you have any specific plans or goals for the future?
I still have a lot of dreams that I want to achieve, but if I could speak as a person and not as a career, it would be marriage. Even among many of my dreams that I know are hard to achieve in such a short life, I have always dreamt of going through a stable day with my loved one, who would then be married to me.

What is your oldest and fondest food memory?
The last meal I had with my loved one.

What makes you happy?
Having an ordinary day with a loved one and the feeling of accomplishment when I achieved a goal I have always wanted to achieve. These two things make me happy.

I noticed while watching culinary shows that a chef’s diet consists mostly of instant/junk foods. To end, I would like to ask: what is your guilty pleasure dish?
As a chef who cooks for people, I am just doing it with my heart. I just hope whatever I make will have a good impact on their happiness and health. But if I were to speak about myself and what I would eat, I will enjoy a good dish without thinking about the calories.

Photography Kim Yunwoo
Creative Direction & Styling Izwan Abdullah
Text Manfred Lu
Additional Reporting Bryan Goh
Grooming Ko Ahra
Hair Oh Heejin
Hair Assistant Lee Dahyun
Photography Assistant Kwon Juyoung
Production Manager Oh Seoyul | SY Production

Once you’re done with this story, click here to catch up with our December/January 2023 issue!