Pizza Chef Ann Kim's Closet Is Just Like Her Menus—Functional and a Little Irreverent
Here, Kim—the owner and culinary mastermind behind the Midwest's Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, and Young Joni—shares a few of her favorite things, from kitchen to beauty staples.
Ann Kim's story is a modern food-lover's fairy tale: A Korean immigrant with no formal culinary training opens a pizza restaurant in Minneapolis, then another, and another; today, she helms Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, and Young Joni. Lines snake out the doors, critics rave, and she nabs the 2019 James Beard Award for best Midwest chef.
A former actress, Kim grew up cooking with her mom and grandma, and in 2008 decided to turn what she'd learned into a career. Seconds before signing a contract to run a sandwich franchise, however, she said no to fear (her viral tweet about this moment is a lot spicier) and gambled on her college-meal staple. "Pizza was my sustenance," she jokes of her undergrad days as an English major at Columbia University, in New York City. "It has most of the major food groups, is delicious and cheap, and begins with great bread."
Kim hit the books and experimented for months to perfect her dough, then started with traditional wood-fired pies before layering on childhood favorites: fiery kimchi, charred bulgogi. "For many diners, it was an intro to Korean food by way of something they were comfortable eating," says Kim, whose closet is just like her menus—full of classics with an irreverent twist. "Once you have a great foundation, everything else is creativity and having fun." Ahead, a few of Kim's favorite things, from her culinary wardrobe and go-to beauty products to the snacks (spicy almonds and mackerel!) she absolutely can't live without.
"It's really comfortable, the material is great quality, and it fits a woman's body."
Shop Now: Tilit PPX Chef Coat, $127, tilitnyc.com.
"I'm a hoop girl; these go with anything."
Shop Now: Cynthia Rybakoff Gold Perfect Hoop Earrings, from $58, cynthiarybakoff.com.
"Stylish and practical, they make me feel Rosie-the-Riveter strong!"
Shop Now: Wildfang Workwear Coveralls, $188, wildfang.com.
"We offer a full menu with whole fish, salads, and grain bowls, but this pie is our best seller. It has thinly sliced beef marinated in bulgogi sauce and arugula with gochujang vinaigrette."
Shop Now: Young Joni Korean BBQ Pizza, price dependent on quantity, youngjoni.com.
Tabasco Pepper Sauce
"I put it on everything, literally and liberally!"
Shop Now: Tabasco Pepper Sauce, from $2, tabasco.com.
"A hunk of bread, a swipe of butter, and a sprinkle of sea salt topped with a piece of this is heaven."
Shop Now: Patagonia Spanish Paprika Mackerel, $7, patagoniaprovisions.com.
"It tastes the most like fresh lime and has a good carbonation balance."
Shop Now: LaCroix Lime Sparkling Water, from $3.69 for an eight-pack, target.com.