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Ann Arbor’s Ji Hye Kim named a 2021 Best New Chef by Food & Wine

Self-taught chef and owner Ji Hye Kim stands outside her Kerrytown restaurant (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Food & Wine Magazine has named local chef Ji Hye Kim as a Best New Chef in 2021.

The 33rd class of the publication’s Best New Chefs have endured a harrowing year and a half during the pandemic, wrote the magazine.

“From coast to coast, the 2021 class of Best New Chefs is reinventing what it means to lead in the kitchen while cooking the food that matters to them most,” wrote Food & Wine’s Khushbu Shah. “Restaurants may no longer look the same, but with this class of chefs at the helm, I am excited to see—and eat—what the future holds.”

Known best for reinventing centuries-old Korean recipes in her modern Kerrytown space Miss Kim, Kim got her start in the food industry 16 years ago working at Zingerman’s Deli.

Over the years, she gained more and more experience in the kitchen at the deli and Zingerman’s Roadhouse. Before she opened Miss Kim in late 2016 under the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses umbrella, she ran a food cart serving pan-Asian street food for several years at Mark’s Carts in downtown Ann Arbor.

Read: A chat with owner, head chef of Ann Arbor’s Miss Kim Korean eatery

With a strong emphasis on utilizing seasonal Michigan produce and pairing inspiration from her mother’s traditional cooking with extensive research on the evolvement of Korean cuisine over centuries, Miss Kim has been a popular dining spot for years.

“I do a lot of research into historical food,” Kim said in a 2018 interview with A4. “I started collecting the republished versions of cook books from the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. And I read them and try to imagine the whole story of Korean food because if you didn’t delve into that, you wouldn’t know that kimchi didn’t always have chili flakes in them. That was only until 200 years ago.”

Read: Ji Hye Kim’s Ann Arbor City Guide in Food & Wine

Kim has been hosting other local chefs for a series of pop ups during the pandemic, including collaborations with James Beard Award-nominated chef Max Sussman and Lala’s chef Allie Lyttle.

For more information about Miss Kim, including the latest menu items and pop up events, visit www.misskimannarbor.com.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.