Executive chef Jae Bang brings his Michelin Star pedigree and more than sixteen years’ experience of global haute cuisine to Melbourne’s new Nordic-inspired restaurant Freyja. 

Born and raised in the South Korean capital of Seoul, Bang studied at New York’s Culinary Institute of America, graduating with an associate degree in culinary arts before beginning his global culinary career. His first foray in a professional kitchen began as a stagier at El Bulli Spain, a world-renowned three Michelin star restaurant and five-time winner of World’s Best Restaurant.

With a taste for mastering haute cuisine, Bang rose up the ranks in award-winning restaurants with Michelin star credentials, including the three-star Arzak in San Sebastian, as chef de partie with New York’s Daniel (two stars), as sous chef and chef de cuisine at prestigious Waldorf Astoria in New York City and executive chef of La Quinta in California.  

In 2018, Bang set his sights on Northern Europe to take the helm of Norway’s Re-naa Restaurant Group with a focus on New Nordic cuisine, merging ancient Scandinavian methods with modern cooking philosophies. With a Michelin star rating and reputation to uphold, he took charge of the group’s operations across concept direction, menu planning and development for bistro and private dining, as well as playing a leading role in the group’s opening of multi-venue hospitality development Konditori.

Under Bang’s creative culinary direction over the past four years, Re-naa received its second Michelin star in 2020, maintaining it in 2021, and is the only restaurant in Norway with two stars in the Scandinavian Michelin Guide. Simultaneously, the group was also named among the Top 10 restaurants in Northern Europe (360 Guide and White Guide, Norway), and in Nordic Guide’s Best Restaurant in 2020.