CHICAGO (WLS) -- For Beverly Kim, juggling motherhood and running her James Beard Award-winning restaurants in Avondale is a dream come true, even when she faced the tough choice of temporarily closing down both Parachute and Wherewithall during the pandemic.
"Me and my husband put everything on the line for our businesses," Kim said.
She met her husband in culinary school, and after being a finalist on the TV show "Top Chef," the chef couple took on the ultimate challenge.
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"I had a hard time finding a restaurant where I felt satisfied with the food I was giving," Kim said. "To be able to do Korean American, our style, without anyone telling us that was wrong, felt really liberating. My love for Korean food really comes because that's what my mom fed me. I always knew I needed to be able to express that soulfulness that I grew up with."
Kim grew up the youngest of four girls in the western suburb of Downers Grove.
"My dad actually came first to Chicago in 1970," she said.
She and her sisters embraced their Korean heritage, but what pains her so deeply still today are racist taunts that began when she was only 6 years old.
"I immediately knew I was different," Kim said. "I think my success is a way of overcoming those struggles showing how strong I am."
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But those painful childhood memories came flooding back with recent news reports of increasing hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.
"I was just thinking about how dehumanizing all of this is. This is not the way to live in America," Chef Beverly Kim said. "I just started thinking, what can I do?"
Finding inspiration again in her kitchen and answering the call with #DoughSomething, nearly 100 restaurants have joined the campaign supporting Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
"We're allowing ourselves the space to grieve and be mad and demand change," Kim said.
"Even at this stage, I get stereotyped, I still get prejudiced and it still hurts me and hurts my family," she said. "I think right now is the moment to stand up and tell the story, even though it's hard. Hopefully that message will come out strong and clear."
In addition to all of that, Kim also started a non-profit group during the pandemic to help working moms in the culinary industry. She said a typical culinary industry mom spends about 35% of their income on childcare.