The Daily Meal caught up with chef Bill Kim to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Kim is the executive chef at bellyQ in Chicago, where he serves he modern versions of traditional Asian barbecue dishes. Before coming to bellyQ, Kim was a chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter's and an executive chef at Le Lan. He is also behind two similarly named Chicago-based restaurants that serve modern takes on Asian food: Urban Belly and Belly Shack.
The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Bill Kim: In the early nineties, chef Charlie Trotter took me on a food tour through Europe and we ate at two three-star Michelin, two two-star Michelin, and two one-star Michelin restaurants. We went lunch to dinner for three days straight.
TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
BK: It is a menu from chef Fredy Girardet in Crissier, Switzerland before he retired. I will never forget that meal!
TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why
BK: It was and always will be Vietnam because the fresh flavors: herbs, lemongrass, rice noodles, exotic fruits and of course, the fish sauce! For me, they're haunting flavors that still bring back memories of my former travels.