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Community Highlights: Meet Jihee Kim of Perilla LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jihee Kim.

Hi Jihee, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up in Busan, which is second of the largest city’s in South Korea. Being a coastal city, I grow up with lots of seafood and other fresh ingredients both local and imported. My family ran a local mom and pop restaurant which served traditional Korean dishes, which introduced me to cooking” cuz my family still run restaurant in Korea. By the time I reached my teens, my passion for cooking led me to the US to both learn and grow my culinary palate. After graduating culinary school in the Bay area, I set out to expand my skill in a professional setting. I was fortunate enough to work at some amazing restaurant which completely changed my views on traditional Korean food and seasonal ingredients. After moving to Los Angeles, I begin to develop a hungry and craving to make traditional Korean food but also incorporate everything I had gained up to this point of my life. Enter Banchan, banchan are all the little side dishes that normally compliment any Korean meal. Banchan has no limitations, it can be vegetables or seafood but the most important aspect I wanted to cultivate was fresh seasonal ingredients that could be pair with anything not just Korean food. This is how Perilla LA was born, it was a simple idea to make something that I grew up eating in Korean but with a twist, traditional techniques with Californian produce.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Perillas current format works because of social media, word of mouth and my favorite adventure eaters. I’m truly amazed at how many of my customers are return guests, always curious for the next/new banchan. However, I wish I could have a brick and mortar business location where the community frequented and could bring their family’s. The problem with a pickup site is it’s just not personal enough, I want to talk to my guest and find out what they like and want to try next. My current greatest obstacle is to find my own little corner to call my own.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Perilla LA is a social media and word-of-mouth-powered banchan pickup store. We specialize in creating season-changing banchan, using traditional Korean culinary techniques and California produce fresh from the farmers market every week. We at Perilla believe that banchan has no limits and work to make something everyone can enjoy, at least until it goes out of season.

What does success mean to you?
Success for me is that grey area where I can support my staff and I comfortably while not having to worry over bills. This is a hard business but at its core, the message is of sharing and appreciation. Success is know my message is heard and valued.

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Jihee Kim

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