Chef Jennifer Kim Redefines Traditional Korean Food At Passerotto in Chicago

Video produced by Vanessa Rodriguez

Chef Jennifer Kim is switching up the meaning of traditional with her new Chicago-based restaurant, Passerotto. A restaurant aimed to redefine the familiarity of Korean food, Chef Kim built her restaurant around what Korean means to her.

"For me when I couldn't have Korean food, eating Italian was my comfort food. It made me feel the same way that Korean does when I'm missing home," said Chef Kim.

"And there's also the midwest [influence]. I'm born and raised in Chicago. So for me, this is my tradition of growing up as a Korean American in Chicago."

Chef Kim sat down with us at in Chicago and reflected on how some of the Korean food staples don't always capture her experiences as a Korean-American. She also wanted to take advantage of the ever-changing food landscape in Chicago that has so many different influences and cultures.

One of Kim's trademark dishes is reminiscent to her time in college. The Ddukbokki Lamb Ragu or spicy rice cake is blended with Italian flavor profiles.

"The Ddukbokki that we make is pan-fried so that it's nice and crispy and we make this… sauce that has the same flavor profiles as a central Italian ragu. It has braised lamb in there and a lot of additional components that add some depth to it."

Check out the chef innovator video above to learn more about Chef Jennifer Kim's take on modern-traditional Korean food and her journey opening up her restaurant, Passerotto!