Damn Delicious is a popular food blog that shares creative and delicious recipes for home cooks. With a focus on simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, Damn Delicious has become one of the most popular cooking websites online. But who is the talented founder behind this website?
The Origins of Damn Delicious
Damn Delicious was founded in 2011 by Chungah Rhee, a self-taught home cook based in Los Angeles. After graduating from college, Chungah began experimenting with recipes in her small apartment kitchen. She started sharing her recipes online with friends and family who raved about her delicious, simple recipes.
Encouraged by the positive feedback, Chungah decided to start the Damn Delicious blog in 2011 as a place to share her recipes with a wider audience. She chose the name “Damn Delicious” because it perfectly encapsulated her cooking philosophy – making recipes that are so delicious, you can’t help but say “damn, this is delicious!”
Chungah Rhee’s Background
Although she had no formal culinary training, Chungah Rhee brought a wealth of cooking knowledge to Damn Delicious. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Chungah grew up in a food-loving family who cooked Korean food regularly. Her early cooking experiences helping her mother in the kitchen instilled a passion for food.
After immigrating to the United States as a child, Chungah was exposed to a diverse array of cuisines. She became determined to learn how to cook her favorite American, Italian, Mexican and Chinese dishes at home. Her blog allowed her to share what she learned through lots of trial and error in her own kitchen.
Chungah Rhee attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where she earned a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Accounting in 2008. Although not related to cooking, her business studies gave her the skills needed to turn Damn Delicious into a full-time career.
Early Cooking Experience
Cooking was always a beloved hobby for Rhee, even during her business studies. She enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen of her small off-campus apartment at UCLA and hosting dinner parties for friends. It was in college that she truly blossomed into an enthusiastic home cook.
Damn Delicious Website History
Damn Delicious began as Chungah’s small side project while working office jobs in Los Angeles. She developed and photographed recipes in her free time to share online.
The first recipes posted on Damn Delicious in 2011 focused on quick and easy weeknight dinners, snacks, and Korean dishes from Rhee’s childhood. Early popular recipes included:
- Korean Beef Bowls
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Avocado Egg Rolls
Posting a few times a week, Rhee quickly built up an audience of engaged followers who loved her simple, delicious recipes made with everyday ingredients.
By early 2012, Damn Delicious was rapidly growing in popularity. Rhee’s photographic cooking style and easy recipes resonated with home cooks. An active social media presence on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram drew more readers.
Seeing the potential to turn her passion into a full-time career, Rhee left her office job in 2013 to focus entirely on Damn Delicious. This allowed her to grow the website into the hugely popular destination it is today.
With over 4 million monthly visitors and 100,000 recipe downloads per day, Damn Delicious is one of the most popular food blogs online. The beautiful photography and simple recipes remain the same, but the site has greatly expanded.
Recipes cover the full gamut of cooking from appetizers to desserts. Meal plans, cooking tips and nutritional information are also provided. Rhee’s cookbooks are bestsellers, making her recipes accessible to millions more.
Damn Delicious Recipe Style
Chungah Rhee created Damn Delicious to share the easy, no-fuss recipes she loved cooking at home. The recipes reflect her laidback cooking style that relies on fresh ingredients, simple preparations, and flavorful sauces and spices.
The recipes use common ingredients that most home cooks have on hand or can easily find at a local grocery store. Some staple ingredients used often include:
- Chicken breasts
- Ground beef or turkey
- Rice or pasta
- Vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach
More unique ingredients are kept to a minimum for accessibility. The focus is creating incredible flavor without obscure or hard-to-find components.
Many Damn Delicious recipes involve simple cooking methods like pan frying, baking, simmering or grilling. Recipes tend to have fewer components and steps compared to complicated gourmet recipes.
Even beginner cooks have success following the straightforward instructions. Cooking processes like marinating meats or chopping vegetables are explained in detail.
While the ingredients and cooking methods are simple, the flavors are bold and complex. Rhee’s recipes often include:
- Sauces and marinades with acidic and umami components
- Lots of fresh herbs and spices
- Mixes of complementary flavors like spicy and cooling
These small tweaks elevate simple weeknight meals into restaurant-worthy dishes. Home cooks can easily recreate complex flavors without much effort.
After over a decade of recipe development, Damn Delicious has published thousands of popular recipes that home cooks love. Here are a few standout recipes that showcase Rhee’s skill with simplicity and flavor:
Baked Chicken Parmesan
This classic Italian chicken dish is breaded and baked instead of fried for a lighter, healthier version. Melty mozzarella and marinara sauce smother juicy chicken cutlets.
One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Everything cooks together in one skillet for fast weeknight dinner success. Spicy and creamy flavors combine in this indulgent pasta.
Easy Korean Beef
Flank steak marinates briefly in a Korean barbecue sauce before being quickly pan fried. The beef comes out caramelized yet tender.
Creamy Tomato Spinach Tortellini Soup
A cozy, comforting soup with tender cheese tortellini and loads of spinach. Perfect with crusty bread for dipping.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Chicken gently cooks in a flavorful Mexican-spiced broth and shreds easily. Great for no-fuss weeknight taco dinners.
Cookbooks by Chungah Rhee
Chungah Rhee has authored several popular cookbooks expanding on recipes from the Damn Delicious blog:
- Damn Delicious Meal Prep – Meal prep recipes to make cooking efficient
- The Best Damn Instant Pot Recipes – Instant Pot pressure cooker recipes
- Damn Delicious – Most popular all-purpose recipes
- Damn Delicious Everyday – Easy weeknight meals
- I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook – Recipes using Trader Joe’s products
The cookbooks feature her signature style of unfussy recipes spiced up with bold flavors. Engaging writing and mouthwatering photos make cooking approachable and fun. Fans can recreate beloved website recipes or discover new favorites.
Damn Delicious and Chungah Rhee have earned many accolades over the years. Some highlights include:
- Saveur’s Best Food Blog Award (2015)
- Featured in New York Times, Bon Appetit, Buzzfeed, HuffPost
- Bestselling cookbooks in Asian Home Cooking category
- 4 million+ monthly website visitors
- 850,000+ Facebook followers
- 2.3 million+ Pinterest followers
- 660,000+ Instagram followers
Chungah Rhee’s relatable approach to cooking delicious meals has clearly resonated widely. Damn Delicious shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon!
Damn Delicious founder Chungah Rhee exemplifies how passion and perseverance can turn a side hobby into an incredibly successful career. By sharing her love of flavourful, uncomplicated home cooking online, she has become one of the most popular food bloggers.
While Rhee had no formal training, her life experiences allowed her to understand the recipes busy home cooks truly want. Her Korean roots, exposure to diverse cuisines, business education and determination led to Damn Delicious’ meteoric rise.
Over a decade later, millions of people visit her website every month for simple recipes spiced up with bold flavors. Rhee’s cookbooks and social media accounts have further spread her approachable cooking style far and wide.
At its core, Damn Delicious remains true to Rhee’s original vision – sharing damn delicious recipes anyone can make at home. Rhee’s journey proves that food truly can bring people together. Her story is an inspiration for aspiring food bloggers and home cooks everywhere.