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Kristin Kish: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By May 15, 2024No Comments

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we continue to recognize the economic, cultural, political, and social contributions of notable immigrants and refugees who’ve helped shape America’s vibrant tapestry. Today, we spotlight South Korean American Chef Kristin Kish.

Kristin Kish was born in December 1983 in Seoul, South Korea. After spending her first four months in different orphanages, she was adopted by a family based in Kentwood, Michigan.

Kish says she developed her passion and penchant for cooking at an early age, and this guided her career aspirations. Inspired by television cooking shows, she started crafting burgers topped with homemade kimchi before the age of seven.  Kish attended the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. After graduating in 2006, she further developed her culinary skills while working at a handful of high-profile restaurants in Boston. In 2018, Kisch used her experience to open her own restaurant, Arlo Grey, in Austin, Texas.

From 2011-2014, Kish served as chef de cuisine at the James Beard Award-winning restaurant Menton in Boston. During her time there, she also became the first woman of color to win the title of Top Chef in the 10th season of Bravo’s popular cooking competition. She later returned as a competitor and judge. 

In 2021, she co-hosted the pilot season of 36 Hours on the Travel Channel, an adaptation of the popular New York Times travel column of the same name. In 2023, Kish debuted as host of the four-episode docuseries Restaurants at the End of the World, aired on National Geographic and Disney+. She’s also served as a presenter in shows Fast Foodies and Iron Chef.

In 2024, Kish came full circle, returning to Top Chef to take over hosting duties from Padma Lakshmi for Season 21. 

Kish has traveled extensively as a guest chef. After working early in her career in what she describes as a “male-dominated industry,” she’s since used her platform to advocate for more female voices in professional kitchens. 

Others we are celebrating in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:

  • Miyoshi Yumeki, trailblazing Japanese American and Academy Award-winning actress