Sohui Kim has had a fast rise, after a false start.Photo: Melissa Hom
Each week, we highlight one of the city’s great but relatively obscure young chefs.
Name: Sohui Kim
Restaurant: The Good Fork
Background: Kim had a false start in a publishing career, but decided to go to the Institute of Culinary Education, afterwards training with Michael Anthony and Dan Barber at Blue Hill and with Peter Hoffman at Savoy. Kim put in time with Anita Lo at Annisa, and then Italian Wine Merchants with Anne Burrell. After all that, there was work in catering, food styling, and recipe testing, before finally opening up the Good Fork with her husband, Ben Schneider.
Why she’s a comer: Kim’s eclectic cooking in her humble Red Hook restaurant impressed a city full of seasoned critics. Even the famously hard to please Alan Richman was smitten: "In a world of restaurants that too often seem alike, no matter how often ownership tries to make them distinctive, the Good Fork is uncommon in every way." Despite opening on a remote and isolated stretch of Van Brunt Street, the place became immediately popular citywide and is booked every night.
Self-described style: "I try to use everything in my arsenal, technique-wise. Because this was my second career, I tried to learn as much as I could. I’m fascinated with French and Italian technique, but I’m also drawn, because I’m Korean-American, to the brightness and seasonality of Korean food."
Judge her by: The Good Fork’s signature dish is Kim’s steak and eggs. "It’s a grass-fed skirt steak," Kim says, "that’s marinated Korean style, in kalbi sauce, but heated up with a spicier gochoojang pepper paste. Then it’s sweetened with some mirin, apples, ginger, and a raft of Asian ingredients. It’s served on a bed of kimchee rice. Two or three times a year, my mother flies in from California, and we make it together in huge batches. The dish sounds complicated, but it’s really simple and utilizes a lot of what I can do."
Guesstimated time of arrival: "Maybe in a year, we’ll want to open another restaurant. The Good Spoon? [Laughs.] It’s been nice to get recognized…but I’m totally focused on the Good Fork. I don’t have any dreams of world domination."