Culture / Celebrities

Kim Jong-il spent $700,000 every year on cognac

Kim Jong Il had a 10,000-bottle wine cellar and reportedly had a cognac habit that cost him $700,000 a year.

Jun 06, 2013 | By AFPRelaxnews

Kim jong il wine

A riveting interview with the personal chef of North Korea’s late leader Kim Jong-il reveals fascinating details about his extravagant taste for French cognac, Iranian caviar, and McDonald’s Big Macs.

Penned by American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Adam Johnson for GQ magazine, the lengthy piece has drawn attention around the world for offering a rare glimpse into the stubbornly reclusive man’s eccentric and outrageous lifestyle.

According to Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto — a pseudonym for the man who’s now living as an escapee in Japan — Kim was a man of extravagant taste.

During his 11 years as his personal chef, Fujimoto says he was sent to France to supply the ‘Dear Leader’s’ $700,000 cognac habit; to Iran for caviar; Tokyo for fish; Denmark for beer and ham; and, for the occasions when his boss was feeling less high-brow, to Beijing for Big Macs — to go.

Kim demanded nothing less than the best. That means a staff of 200 was hired to make sure every grain of rice was perfectly shaped — no cracks, no chips.

He was a veritable gourmand, who could talk for hours about foie gras, truffles and Kobe beef. His favorite cooking show was “Iron Chef.”

The magazine article, meanwhile, was written as part of a six-year research project for Johnson’s next novel. The full article can be found at

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