Baby Food Chef Series: Beverly Kim
The celebrated MICHELIN star chef is all about family-- both in the restaurant and at home.
Beverly Kim is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur. Together with her husband Johnny Clark, she co-owns Michelin-starred Parachute and sister spot Wherewithall in Avondale. She’s also the mother of three boys.
When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, Kim and Clark wasted no time cooking up meals for frontline workers and families. But the restaurant industry was hit hard, and like so many chef-owned businesses, the choice was made to close doors to both establishments for two months.* During that “time-off” Kim dreamed up the Abundance Setting, a nonprofit that supports working mothers in the hospitality industry with relief and assistance. The goal? It circles back to family. “Given the tremendous challenges in the restaurant world and how those challenges are disproportionately impacting working mothers,” the nonprofit explains, “this is the least we can do to help women survive and thrive in the industry.”
Family threads through everything she’s done. Whether it’s the treatment of her team (she is determined to change how restaurant employees are treated), to the fact that since December 2020, the Abundance Setting has been cooking three family meals a week for working moms.
Read more to learn about her favorite childhood foods and how she ‘tricks’ kids into eating healthy.
Are there certain smells or flavors of your childhood that influenced your feelings about food?
The smell of kimchi making, roasted sesame oil, fermented soybean paste, spicy gochujang, sesame leaves, roasted sweet potatoes, fresh steamed rice with millet and barley, sweet and salty bbq beef, lots of soups, broths and stews, toasted seaweed laver, fresh fruit, chewy rice cakes with sweet red bean paste or roasted grain powder.
Do you have any early memories in the kitchen you can share?
I was always messing around in the kitchen-my earliest memories were helping my mom get dinner ready, like dishing up bonchon or slicing scallions.
I started to get fancy with cooking when I took French in junior high. I cooked a French meal for extra credit. I bought a book on French cooking and made chicken chasseur, haricot verts with shallots, and chocolate mousse.
If we were to travel back in time, and five-year-old you were to make us a dish, what would it be?
Bologna rice flower: microwave bologna and let it curl up like a cup. Add Korean rice from the rice cooker in the middle. I remember actually making that as a snack for myself!!
Did you have feelings about baby food prior to collaborating with Yumi? Have those feelings shifted after developing blends for our littlest friends?
I’ve always made my own baby food in the past because what was available on the shelf didn’t taste good or fresh to me. After collaborating with Yumi, I really was impressed by the freshness, quality, and taste! Yumi is both convenient and high quality, so great for busy parents like myself that want fresh, high-quality baby food.
Do you think it’s important for babies to “eat the rainbow” as we say (aka, eat more than pouch peas and carrots)?
Absolutely! The earlier you introduce a variety of flavors, the more open their palates are to eating healthy fresh vegetables and fruit as they grow up.
Did your relationship with food change once you had kids of your own?
I’m more conscious of being an example for my kids by eating healthy and introducing a variety of flavors.
Do award-winning chefs have a hard time getting their kids to eat veggies too?
Yes! I think sometimes it has nothing to do with how hard you try, but some form of control kids go through.
Any tricks for getting tots to eat healthy foods?
I puree fruits and vegetables into a smoothie- this is the only acceptable way my second son will eat veggies!
What is your favorite midnight snack?
Spicy Ramen noodles.
Any food forecasting for 2021? What is the food we should all be eating this year?
Immune boosting foods and things that boost good probiotics like kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sourdough.
Wherewithall is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday. Parachute is currently closed for repairs, but is shipping fried chicken and bing bread nationwide via Goldbelly.
Chef Beverly Baby Photo