Rising Star Chef Genie Kwon of Kasama - Biography

Chicago, IL

September 2021

Genie Kwon, a native of New Orleans, graduated from Newbury College’s culinary management program in Massachusetts. After cutting her teeth at Flour Bakery & Cafe, Nobu Fifty Seven, and Eleven Madison Park, she moved to Chicago to run the pastry wing at GT Fish & Oyster where she worked alongside her future husband and business partner, Tim Flores.

In 2014, Flores moved on to work as a line cook at Senza under Rising Stars alum Chef Noah Sandoval while Kwon served as the pastry chef at BOKA and netted a Jean Banchet Rising Pastry Chef of the Year award. After a couple rounds of post-service drinks, Sandoval, Kwon, and Flores decided to open a restaurant together. One year later they opened Oriole, a fine dining restaurant that earned two Michelin stars in its first year.

In 2018, Flores and Kwon left to conceptualize a space of their own. After two and a half years, they built that space in the Ukrainian Village and named it Kasama, meaning “together” in Tagalog. The couple lives up to the restaurant’s name by collaborating on the Filipino-inflected sweet and savory offerings. For example, Kwon’s halo halo recipe combines her own flavors with her mother-in-law’s recipe for leche flan.