Chef Bill Kim of Belly Shack - Biography

Chicago, IL

September 2016

Chicago Chef Bill Kim’s first formal kitchen duty was to roast and grind sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, but it was enough to entice him into a career in cuisine. Already a grinding expert, the Seoul transplant, who emigrated at 7, got his formal training at the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College. Little did he know he’d be spending the next 15 years working in some of the top French and Asian restaurants across the country, including Ciboulette in Atlanta and Charlie Trotter’s. There, he was eventually promoted to sous chef, followed by a year as sous chef at Trio. Hungry for more knowledge and experience, Kim took a position as executive sous chef at Susanna Foo’s eponymous Philadelphia restaurant, spent a year at Bouley Bakery, and opened the Inn at Blueberry Hill in Massachusetts as executive chef.
When Kim returned to Chicago—and Charlie Trotter’s—three years later, it was as chef de cuisine. But it was as executive chef of Le Lan that Kim crystallized both his cultural and culinary experiences with the restaurant’s progressive Asia-inspired menu, earning him a 2008 StarChefs Rising Stars Award. That same year Kim opened his fast casual fantasy, Urbanbelly, a modern noodle and dumpling house that brought his imagination and internationalism to the fore. A second concept, Belly Shack, followed, highlighting pan-Asian cuisine with Latin notes and characteristic “Kim” creativity. In 2012, he opened Asian Barbecue spot BellyQ.