The initial contact...
Summer of 2006, I caught up with my ex-college roommate Paula, and had a quick chat about food.
Paula gave me the lowdown about her sister Beverly, and mentioned that she was in Seoul for a few months. So what do I do? The usual crazy Sarah move. Called up Beverly in Seoul (please note that I have I only seen her once before at this point, and we barely knew each other), and asked her if she would like to possibly partner up with me on a restaurant project in Chicago!
So the story began…
Of course both of us weren't exactly ready to start a restaurant at that moment. In the meantime, we both got caught up with different opportunities, but kept the conversation going. I told Beverly that we'll have to figure out how we can work together one day~
The timing is a bit off…
During the years following our initial conversation about a restaurant, I started a catering business, then moved to Seoul to work for a celebrity chef, and started Seoul in the City.
Beverly got married, started a family, she helped me with catering events, I catered her wedding. Soon after, she created the biggest buzz around Chicago as the next upcoming chef, and rocked the party on Top Chef-Season 9! In between this madness, we actually filmed a short pilot featuring Korean inspired recipes, hoping it will get picked up on a network! haha. Ok, don't even have that clip anymore.
Time definitely flew by…
While we were living apart for the past 3 years, we did our best to keep each other informed with everything going on in our lives. Our typical conversation usually went like this: 'What? That's crazy! I'm so happy for you! You're going where?' haha.
So here I am back in Chicago for a *brief* moment. We pick up where we left off, and I had an opportunity to be in the kitchen with Beverly again...let's just say that the things I have learned from Beverly & Johnny in the 2 days I worked with them, was more than my 3 years experience in Seoul! Crazy.
Check out the fun photos below of a recent holiday catering event in Wisconsin.
J & B going over the final punch list...
This is the 'prep' list Bev shows me when I get to her kitchen. My reaction was 'this is what's left?' haha.
Braising 5 spice pork.
Making homemade dumplings, slightly boil and finish off by searing just one end. It was too good:)
Beautiful elements in Beverly & Johnny's kitchen...
I love this girl…
*Because her quirky-ness is the best. It really does top everyone else's.
*The combination of ingredients that she comes up with…when she tells me what's in her head, I'm usually thinking 'huh?' Then when she puts it together-it's seriously like the best thing you've tasted. No joke.
*Her skills in the kitchen cannot be matched. The best part? she's not inhibited to share them. She's always giving me great tips and ideas, and so encouraging to help you achieve what you want to achieve.
*Humility. I know this adjective doesn't reflect many chefs. Her modesty gains respect from everyone in the kitchen without force. When you're around her, you're naturally pulled by her grace, skills, and humility.
*She's a true friend. During my most difficult times in Chicago, she was always there to listen, quick to encourage, and truly supportive.
Prepping away on the day of the holiday catering event in Wisconsin.
I love Johnny (her partner in crime), and Daewon (her adorable son)! Johnny-super talented chef in which I feel like I'm always learning a thing or two about food every time I see him. His palate is spot on, and has an extensive knowledge about Korean cuisine (I think his training under Chef Im Ji Ho from Sandang restaurant in Korea is what helped him achieve this amazing palate).
Daewon-he's truly the spirited angel that God has blessed in their lives, that keeps them in check, and brings that unspoken peace in their family. I always see this kid with smiles :)
Appetizer: pork belly, homemade kimchi, quail egg, mung bean.
Chinese style lamb rib, hoisin glaze, cashew, mint, cranberries.
The dinner spread by the hosts...who has parties like this? haha.
Menu on the right is the 'final version' of the menu on the left. So many layers and recipes to create simple but not so simple dishes.
Adorable Daewon eyeing the pecan bun at Lula cafe. This kid could finish this whole bun!
Daewon wiped out after a nice brunch at Lula.
Beverly taking a big bite out of this crazy burger at Au Cheval!
Beverly and Johnny are in the works of opening up their restaurant in Uptown Chicago summer of 2013. I'll keep you all posted on the development and opening!
If you want crazy good food that you probably can't find anywhere else, you'll have to drop a visit to Chicago:)
To find out more about Beverly, definitely check the link below for more details!