Ji Hye Kim
Years of Participation
Ji Hye Kim is the award-winning chef/owner of Miss Kim in Ann Arbor, MI. Named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2021 and a James Beard Award Best Chef semifinalist, Ji Hye aims to broaden the understanding of Korean cuisine through her cooking. At her acclaimed restaurant Miss Kim — named one of Ann Arbor’s “Most Essential Restaurants” by Eater — her seasonal menu is inspired by ancient Korean culinary traditions, and adapted with local Midwestern ingredients.
Born and raised in Seoul, Korea, Ji Hye was introduced to cooking by her mother, a talented home cook who would make large batches of kimchi every fall with seasonal vegetables, dumplings for their annual New Year’s parties, and rice cakes for the mid-autumn harvest festivals. When Ji Hye was a teenager, her family immigrated to New Jersey, and Ji Hye went on to study political science and economics at the University of Michigan, before pursuing a successful career in hospital administration. In 2008 at 27 years old, Ji Hye decided to switch to hospitality and immediately immersed herself in the industry, training across the storied Zingerman’s businesses and the Rome Sustainable Food Project. She launched her first business, a Pan-Asian food cart named San Street, which she operated for four years, in partnership with Zingerman’s.
In 2016, Ji Hye opened her first restaurant Miss Kim, which features a menu inspired by ancient Korean recipes and culinary traditions from her family, while highlighting bountiful and seasonal Midwest ingredients. Signature dishes include Royale Style Tteokbokki (rice cake batons with savory soy sauce, sautéed with shiitake mushrooms and seasonal local vegetables); Buddhist Silken Tofu Soup, a deeply flavored soup inspired by Korean Buddhist cuisine; and Fried Caramel Broccolini tossed with anchovy caramel, almonds, fried onions, and cilantro; among others. A reflection of the restaurant’s focus on highlighting the regional diversity of Korean food, Miss Kim also offers three different regional variations of BiBimBob: a pork-heavy version from North Korea that is tossed in rich pork fat and topped with tender pork belly and soy sauce; one from the mountainous region of South Korea, which features rice and potato combining to form a crispy crust as the base for locally foraged mushrooms; and a version of BiBimbob that follows the dietary restrictions of Buddhist monks, incorporating all locally sourced vegetables and no alliums. With Miss Kim’s focus on regional intricacies, ancient histories, and its spotlight on local Midwest producers, the restaurant challenges common perceptions of Korean cuisine.
Additionally, Ji Hye is committed to prioritizing fair wages, benefits and equity in the industry, and has been admitted and completed programs like James Beard Chef Boot Camp for Policy Change and Food Lab Detroit’s Fellowship for Change in Food and Labor.