As a child, Chef Bill Kim’s family immigrated to the United States from Seoul,
South Korea, but his mother’s traditional Korean cooking is what sparked his interest
in pursuing a culinary career.
Chef Kim’s expansive culinary background spans a wide range of varied cuisines. After
studying classic French cooking at Kendall College, Chef Kim pursued opportunities to
work alongside industry greats including Pierre Pollin at le Titi de Paris in Arlington
Heights, Ill. and Jean Banchet at Ciboulette in Atlanta. From there, Chef Kim served as
sous chef at notable kitchens throughout the country including the renowned fourstar
Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Trio in Evanston, Bouley Bakery in New York and
Susanna Foo in Philadelphia. After several years on the East Coast, he was initially
drawn back to Chicago to serve as chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter’s before taking the
helm of French-Asian Le Lan.
In 2008, Chef Kim partnered with his wife and brother to open Urbanbelly, a bustling
communal seating noodle and dumpling restaurant that opened in Chicago’s
Avondale neighborhood, before moving to the West Loop in late 2013. In 2009, Chef
Kim paid tribute to his Korean heritage and his wife’s Puerto Rican background by
opening Belly Shack, a confluence of Asian and Latin flavors in Chicago’s Logan Square
Chef Kim launched a line of specialty sauces available for retail in the fall of 2011.
Current offerings include Seoul Sauce (combination of soy sauce and balsamic
vinegar), Belly Fire (Serrano-based hot sauce featuring minced carrots and fish sauce),
Belly Smoke (Chipotle-based), and Belly Bomb (ghost chili-based, the hottest pepper
in the world), with more to come.
In the summer of 2012, Chef Kim opened bellyQ, an Asian barbeque concept on
Chicago’s thriving Randolph Street, a project in partnership with Cornerstone
Restaurant Group. bellyQ was named one of Chicago magazine’s “Best New
Restaurants” in their 2013 annual awards.