Baby Food Chef Series: Beverly Kim

The celebrated MICHELIN star chef is all about family-- both in the restaurant and at home.

Our best-selling Yumi Chef Series is proof that baby food should not only be real, it should also be really delicious.

Beverly Kim is a James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, co-owner of Michelin-starred Parachute and sister spot Wherewithall in Avondale, Chicago with husband Johnny Clark.  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 as such, evidenced by her determination 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 in the culinary space.

Read more to learn about her favorite childhood foods and how she ‘tricks’ kids to 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 for dessert, 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 slice scallions.  I started to get fancy with cooking when I took french class in junior high… for extra credit, I chose to cook a french meal.  I got 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. LOL, I remember actually making that as a snack for myself!!

Chef Beverly Kim as a baby.

Did you have feelings about baby food prior to collaborating with Yumi? Have those feelings shifted after developing blnds 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 the example for my kids of 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 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!  

We find you in the kitchen at midnight, what are you snacking on? 

 Spicy Ramen noodles. 

What’s the one food you know is SO good for you, but you just can’t bring yourself to eat it. (We’ll go first: eggplant.)

I can’t think of one! 

Any food forecasting for 2021? What is the food we should all be eating this year?

Immune boosting foods and things to boost good probiotics like kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sourdough. 

*For the time being, Wherewithall is the current location of “Little Parachute”, the temporary rebrand of Parachute serving a more casual takeout menu. See their menu at www.parachuterestaurant.com. Support them today.


Read more about the Yumi Chef Series featuring Chef Malcolm Livingston II, Chef Vinny Dotolo, and Chef Jon Shook. 

Get Yumi x Beverly Kim’s best-selling Pak Juk and Broccoli Lentil Bite here.  

Let’s build a healthier generation together