Korean Food Company Helps Psy Find Personal Chef

Winner of Bibigo's Contest Will Get $40,000, and Cooking Skills Aren't Really Required

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A three-year-old Korean food brand that is largely unknown outside its native country is partnering with a more famous Korean, the star of viral hit "Gangnam Style," in an international contest to help Psy find a personal chef. Who doesn't really have to know how to cook.

Korean food giant CJ is re-branding a range of its existing products under the name Bibigo and opening what the company describes as "Korean Healthy Fresh Kitchen" casual restaurants under the Bibigo name outside Korea, including three so far in California.

In a promotion called "Psygo Bibigo," Bibigo says it will search the world to help Psy find the perfect personal chef to accompany him on the first month of his world tour in July. The prize winner will also get $40,000. Psy himself describes the promotion in a wacky video that will go live Friday night on the microsite www.psygobibigo.com and on Bibigo's Facebook page.

Speaking in a mix of Korean (with English subtitles) and quite fluent English, Psy explains "I'm looking for a chef! Not a good cook? No problem. All you need to know is how to mix it up." Then he runs through a range of fun experiences the chef will share: limousines, celebrities at the hottest parties, and yummy food from Bibigo's product line and restaurants (since actually knowing how to cook isn't a priority for the chef contestants).

In another video, Psy performs his new Psygo Bibigo dance, which looks much like his old "Gangnam Style" dance moves, but with spoons.

To enter the contest, aspiring Psy chefs have to post creative, zany, unusual videos of themselves mixing something, whether it's mixing food, a drink or even music. The activity is a play on words, because the Bibigo name is a combination of the Korean word "bibida," which means "mix it" and "to go" in English, according to the company's website. The winner will be chosen by Bibigo, Psy and Facebook fans. The online campaign, done by Cheil Worldwide and Korean agency Dmajor, is targeting New York, California, Korea and, through weibo microblog users, China.

So far Bibigo has 14 restaurants outside Korea, in China, Japan, Singapore, the U.K. and the three California outlets in the U.S. The company is also re-branding some of its processed foods, including Korean dumplings, chili paste and soybean paste, and selling them in stores, including Costco in the U.S., under the Bibigo name. But the company has big ambitions for the brand, claiming on its website that the goal for the Bibigo brand, started in 2010 to popularize Korean culture and cuisine, is to have 1,000 restaurants in 20 countries by 2017.

Bibigo's marketing director, Yu Je Hyeuk, said in a statement, "We hope to create additional awareness of not only the Bibigo brand with Psy but Korean food as a whole, where it is now readily available in grocery stores across the nation."

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