Beverly Kim Out of Aria, Into Bonsoiree; Shin Thompson Out of Bonsoiree (But Still Owns It)
It's those darned kids! Which is to say, work-life balance, small children, and the crazy hours of being a chef are all behind today's chef-moving announcements. Beverly Kim, who was among the Chicago chefs on the past season of Top Chef, is leaving her position at Aria to take over Bonsoiree. Bonsoiree will close August 12 for a couple of weeks and redecorate a little, reopening later in August with Kim and her husband Johnny Clark (who worked at C-House and runs the soup kitchen at Hull House) offering a nine-course tasting menu, which (she told Eater) represents the Korean influences that Kim grew up with and that Clark absorbed working in South Korea with Chef Yim GiHo. But besides the chance to do something more personal than in a hotel restaurant, the impetus was family life— she told Kevin Pang at the Tribune that having a restaurant with her husband would give them more time to be with their child.
So what's happening with Bonsoiree chef-owner Shin Thompson? He too has a new family and is interested in seeing more of them, though he also hints at a future project of some kind. Other big changes for Bonsoiree: a wine program (bye, bye, byo) and a new reservations system called Seatme.com.
So how did all this come about? Pang reports that Kim and Thompson were kicking around a pop-up dinner when Kim said that she and her husband were thinking of opening their own place. He seems happy with what the new Bonsoiree— no one says it won't still bear that name, though you never know— will be under Kim and Clark, telling Pang "Hers is more of the soulful Korean influence, John’s a bit more of the avant garde techniques. I really like where they’re going with it."