DBP: How did you decide to become a chef?
Sohui Kim (SK): I graduated from Barnard and was law school bound. I kept delaying and delaying the LSAT and I finally took it, but by that point I had gotten really into cooking. It was just something that I dabbled in, and if I made something good I would invite friends over. My friends were like “oh, Sohui can cook!” I took 7 months off, traveled to Korea, back-packed across the US — I was just procrastinating. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Cooking was always there. It wasn’t law, it was just cooking. So I said “I’m going to cook and see how it goes.”
I went to culinary school at ICE wanting to be a caterer, and of course my very traditional family thought I was absolutely bonkers. I had to do an internship to graduate, so I signed up to intern at Blue Hill, and there I met Michael Anthony and Dan Barber. I got bit by the restaurant bug there. I wanted to make my own food. I wanted to pursue cooking as a culinary art form.
DBP: Can you speak a little more about your culinary journey?
SK: I pursued cooking very seriously after Blue Hill. I worked at Savoy under Peter Hoffman, and then I worked for Anita Lo, which was great, you know, seeing a woman doing her own thing. It was very educational. She had a lot to do with the molding of the kind of chef I would become. Then in 2006, Ben and I opened the Good Fork. Then we opened Insa in 2015, and in 2016 and 2018, I wrote two cookbooks.