About Bill Kim

Bill Kim eating

Bill Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States at age seven. His first formal kitchen duty – roasting sesame seeds and grinding them using a mortar and pestle under the watchful eye of his mother – sparked his interest in pursuing a culinary career.

Kim’s expansive culinary background spans a wide range of cuisines. After studying classic French cooking at Kendall College, Kim pursued opportunities to work alongside industry greats such as Pierre Pollin at Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Jean Banchet at Ciboulette in Atlanta. From there, he served as sous chef at notable kitchens nationwide, including the renowned four-star Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Bouley Bakery in New York, and Susanna Foo in Philadelphia. After several years on the East Coast, Kim was drawn back to Chicago to serve as chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter’s before taking the helm of French-Asian Le Lan as Executive Chef.

A pioneer in the movement of fine dining chefs introducing casual concepts, Kim’s food reflects the world we live in today, tapping into his passion for ingredients and his curiosity for the exchange between culinary traditions and culture. Kim believes in approachable, nourishing cuisine authentic to him as a cook and a human being. It’s thought-provoking, heartfelt food, both for its ability to tap into memories and to help create new ones.


Bill Kim and wife, Yvonne Cádiz-Kim



Chef Bill Kim and his wife, Yvonne Cádiz-Kim, opened Urbanbelly. Joyously creative yet curiously familiar, Urbanbelly delights guests with a modern, global version of comfort food. One of the first chef-driven counter service restaurants in America, Urbanbelly remains, for the past fifteen years, one of Chicago’s most beloved spots for dumplings, noodles, and more.

Belly Shack exterior


Belly Shack

Belly Shack sought to bring together Chef Bill’s Korean roots and Yvonne’s Puerto Rican heritage into a “love story told through flavor.” The dynamic menu crossed culinary borders and earned a cult following.




Now, in partnership with Cornerstone Restaurant Group, the “Belly” empire has expanded to a full-service restaurant where the minimalist space came alive with an open kitchen, interactive grill tables, and a karaoke lounge—a year after opening, urbanbelly moved into the BellyQ space as well.

Chef Bill Kim's bottled sauces


Bottled Sauces

After years of customer requests, Chef Bill bottles his most popular sauces – Belly Bomb, Belly Soy, Belly Fire, and Belly Swang – so fans can use them at home to up their cooking game.

Urbanbelly Wicker Park location at night


Urbanbelly goes to Wicker Park

The flagship restaurant moves into Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, and Chef Bill’s menu innovation continues as he brings new dumplings, rice, and noodle bowls to the menu.

Chefsgiving at Inspiration Kitchens



Chef Bill invites a team of fellow chefs to come together and prepare a free Thanksgiving meal for Chicago residents struggling with poverty and food insecurity. Since its inception, Chefsgiving has served thousands of hot meals to fellow Chicagoans in need.

Korean BBQ by Chef Bill Kim



Chef Bill’s first cookbook, Korean BBQ, is a casual and practical guide to grilling with Korean-American flavors. The cookbook builds on seven master sauces and three spice rubs; the 80 recipes are tailored for home cooks and can adjusted according to the griller’s preference.

The interior of food hall TimeOut Market Chicago


TimeOut Market

TimeOut Market asks Chef Bill and the Cornerstone Restaurant Group to bring two concepts to the legendary food hall in Chicago’s West Loop. To this day, urbanbelly and Chef Bill Kim’s Ramen Bar remain two of the most popular options in the 50,000-square-foot food emporium.

food in takeout containers


Purdue Memorial Union

In 2018 Purdue University asked Chef Bill to work with students on a ubranbelly pop-up on campus. Four years later, Cornerstone Restaurant Group collaborated with Purdue and Aramark to bring 4 concepts to the renovated Purdue Memorial Union including Chef Bill Kim Ramen and CBK Pizza & Parm.

The interior of a dining room


INSPIRE Entertainment Resort

In one of Chef Bill’s most significant endeavors, he and the Cornerstone Restaurant Group team bring four restaurants to the massive INSPIRE Entertainment Resort development in Seoul, South Korea. Chef Bill created the menus for two new concepts – Hi-Fi Chicken & Beer and Brasserie 1783.

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