"My journey has not been easy. It has not been linear and it has not been traditional. I stand here because 10 years ago, I said f--- fear."
When Ann Kim became an actor, her immigrant parents disowned her. It was no different than “being a whore,” her mom said. When Ann later ditched that dream, she knew better than to tell her folks her new goal. That’s how the secret pizza place started: Pizzeria Lola. First came the crowds. Then came the James Beard Award.
Ann Kim grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota, outside Minneapolis/St. Paul. Her parents emigrated from South Korea and held close to their culture. Ann remembers how they turned a kiddie pool into a fermentation pit for crushing kimchi. They'd crouch down and make a batch big enough to last through winter. "It's why my squats are amazing," Ann says.
She moved to New York City for college, but it never really felt like home. When she came back, she did bring one thing back with her: a love of great pizza. Eventually she opened Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, and her newest place, Young Joni. In May 2019, she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef - Midwest.
Here's what Ann said in her acceptance speech: "My journey has not been easy. It has not been linear and it has not been traditional. I stand here because 10 years ago, I said f--- fear." The crowd cheered.
Ann shares her story, which bubbles with Korean culture throughout. And Dan learns the wonders of putting Korean sausage, sesame and soy chili glaze, and kimchi (featured above) on a pizza.
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Clean" by J.T. Bates
- "Gravel And Dirt" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "False Alarm Instrumental" by Hayley Briasco
- "Hang Tight" by Hayley Briasco
- "Party Hop" by Jack Ventimiglia
Photos: Courtesy of Pizzeria Lola and Young Joni.