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Jordan Double Teaming with Korean-American Chef

2012/01/26 | 400 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Basketball legend Michael Jordan is opening an Asian BBQ restaurant called Belly Q in Randolph Street in downtown Chicago with Korean-American chef Bill Kim, NBC reports.

It will open on the former site of One SixtyBlue, the restaurant Jordan operated for 14 years until he closed it down early this month.

Kim was born in Seoul and moved to the U.S. when he was seven. He worked his way up from the very bottom, frying and grinding sesame seeds at first, then later becoming the chef de cuisine at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago.

Left: Bill Kim and his wife Yvonne Cadiz Kim /NBC; Right: Michael Jordan /AP

With his Puerto Rican wife Yvonne Cadiz Kim, he ran a number of popular and affordable restaurants including Urbanbelly and Belly Shack. With his fusion menu including such treats as Korean-style beef galbi and kimchi sandwich, noodles and dumplings, he built a reputation as an avant-garde chef of fusion cuisine among local food critics and media.

"Cooking is a transformative process that everyone goes through. I try to learn as much as possible and incorporate as much knowledge as possible to my cooking. Developing new menus is my own way of expressing my existence", Kim said.

On opening two restaurants including Urbanbelly during a time of economic recession, he said, "Everyone said it was such a gamble. But I believed I would be able to succeed with high quality food and reasonable prices. I want to open a restaurant where my parents can often come and enjoy Asian beer and side dishes comfortably".

Local media reported that Kim and Jordan's partnership may have been facilitated by their long-time mutual friend Mark Dombkoski, a Philadelphia-based restaurateur.

Although the new restaurant has not disclosed its menu yet, it is likely to focus on Asian BBQ with a Latin American twist, as Kim is skilled in making a cross-section of Asian food, according to NBC.

In 2006, Jordan divorced his ex-wife Juanita, whom he married in 1989, with the largest celebrity divorce settlement at the time of US$168 million. He got engaged to his long-time girlfriend, 23-year-old Cuban-American model Yvette Prieto, just a few weeks ago on Christmas Day.

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