Marlene Paez Dukes
“Stress can either destroy us… Or it can create the opportunity to do something bigger”
At her Avondale restaurant Wherewithall, James Beard Award winning Chef Beverly Kim spoke about the vulnerabilities of stress while demonstrating kimchi jeegae taught by her grandmother, who recently passed from COVID-19. Its intricate flavors became more than just a dish to pass down, but robust layers that reflected Beverly Kim’s life as a Korean woman, domestic violence survivor, mother, Top Chef contestant, determined to kick down gender walls in the culinary industry, and to rise again through the challenges of the pandemic.
“Fighting for the truth makes you strong,” she claimed while adding pork belly and sesame oil to the steaming pot.
Coping with ill family members and sharply pivoting Wherewithall and Parachute into to-go ventures with her husband and restaurant co-founder, Kim had to hit the reset button. She found peace in waking up and watching the sunrise journaling. Reading her news feed became a second priority. She let go of what wasn’t important and urged the audience to do the same.
“Treasure what is important to you, connect with your inner self, but also connect with others,” Kim said.
Through daily gratitude practice, she emphasized passing on positive energy and giving to the world in your own way is crucial. “We should all keep dreaming. Don’t let anyone, not even yourself, tell you [that] you can’t dream big. Let’s dream about making a world more socially equitable… a beautiful place to be.”
In the last few moments of her talk, Beverly asked the audience to support local restaurants in their neighborhood. “Do not forget them. They need us.”
Beverly recently began The Abundance Setting, an initiative to help support working mothers succeed in the culinary and hospitality industry. She said, “Stress can either destroy us… or it can create the opportunity to do something bigger.”