Kendall College Alumna and “Top Chef” Contestant Opens Korean Restaurant in Chicago

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Beverly Kim, a former culinary instructor and executive chef of Kendall’s The Dining Room, launches Parachute.

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Beverly Kim, a graduate of The Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and former chef-instructor and executive chef of Kendall’s highly rated The Dining Room, opened her restaurant, Parachute, in Chicago in late May. Parachute ( embodies the dream of Kim and her husband, Johnny Clark, who worked together as chefs of Chicago’s now-closed Bonsoiree. The new, 40-seat restaurant housed in a former bakery in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood reflects Kim’s Korean-American heritage via an upscale menu that melds the flavors, textures and techniques of traditional Korean cooking with locally sourced ingredients and creative plating.

Shareable small plates on the opening menu include pork belly and mung-bean pancake with kimchi, black garlic and a hen egg, and raw pickled mackerel with green mango, sesame salad and fennel. Main dishes include monkfish roasted in gochujang with caramelized sunchoke and mung-bean sprouts, and a vegetarian entrée of roasted asparagus/shiitake mandu (Korean dumplings) with buckwheat groats, lebneh (a yogurt cheese) and almonds. Parachute also offers smaller plated snacks such as potato/nettle croquettes with spicy plum sauce, plus noodle and rice dishes, a hot pot and several inventive desserts.

Kim is widely known throughout the United States as a chef contestant in season 9 of the popular cooking show, “Top Chef,” on the Bravo cable TV network, which aired 17 episodes between November 2, 2011, and February 29, 2012. At the time of airing, Kim, who earned her Associate of Applied Science degree from Kendall in 2000, was chef de cuisine of Aria at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. Although “Top Chef” judges eliminated her in the 11th episode, Kim won a series of cook-offs in “Last Chance Kitchen” that allowed her to return to the competition in the 14th episode. She ultimately finished fourth among 29 contestants.

Born in the Chicago area, Kim grew up in Downers Grove, Ill., just outside the city. She has been at home in the kitchen since childhood, preparing Korean meals from scratch, baking for friends’ birthdays and, later, surprising her parents with a classic French meal. She chose to attend the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College on the advice of friends in the foodservice industry.

Following her training at Kendall, Kim became grounded in the classics at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, under the tutelage of Chefs Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris. She honed her modern techniques at eponymous Charlie Trotter’s, working under acclaimed Chef Matthias Merges.

Kim dreamed of visiting Korea, the homeland of her parents. She eventually spent two months in Seoul, enjoying the city’s restaurants and taking Korean Royal Cuisine classes. She also completed stages in the kitchens of the Hotel Shilla and Top Cloud Grill & Café at the top of Jongno Tower. Subsequent visits to Tokyo and Kyoto gave Kim an immersion in Japanese food culture.

Upon her return to the States, Kim followed her love of Asia-inspired food, working with Chef Jackie Shen at Red Light in Chicago, then serving as executive chef of Opera. She went on to serve as executive chef and chef de cuisine of several other Chicago establishments.

Between her leaving Aria and opening Parachute, Kim worked as the evening executive chef of Kendall’s public white-tablecloth restaurant, The Dining Room, where she also served as a chef instructor to culinary-arts students who cooked and served in the restaurant as their final course prior to earning their associate degrees. During her teaching tenure, Kim coached her students through preparation and service of an Asia-inspired menu that emphasized locally sourced ingredients.

While it was Kim’s goal as an instructor to teach students the essential skills needed to work the line at a real restaurant, it was also her mission as a chef to give her students insight into life after culinary school along with tools to succeed in the industry. “It was so great of Kendall to have me as a chef instructor,” Kim says. “If I wasn’t going to open a restaurant, I would have stayed at Kendall, because I enjoy teaching. It’s been a great experience, and a really good chapter in my life.”

About the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts:
Kendall College, founded in 1934, is located in Chicago and is a member of the Laureate International Universities network. Kendall offers undergraduate degrees in business, culinary arts, early childhood education and hospitality management to a diverse and passionate community of more than 1,650 students. The curriculum combines strong academics with practical experience and international educational opportunities that help give students in business, hospitality and culinary arts programs the skills and expertise to be leaders in their professions. Kendall College was ranked the number one program in Chicago for preparing students for careers in hospitality management and culinary arts in a survey of management at Chicago's leading hotels and Michelin Guide restaurants (TNS Global – 2013 Survey). The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts associate program since 1988 and the Baking and Pastry associate program since 2008. Kendall College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA),; 312-263-0456. For more information, visit

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Kyle Trompeter
Kendall College
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