We had the good fortune of connecting with Yunnie Kim-Morena and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yunnie, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
When I decided to start my brand Kimchi Avocado, I started by filming my first set of cooking videos. It was a huge leap of faith in myself into unchartered waters. I worked 15 hours for 3 days straight and when we wrapped the last video my team all cheered and clapped. My older son had tears in his eyes and ran to me and gave me a huge hug and said, I’m proud of you, Mommy. What a reminder that even though I never had a formal conversation about this new endeavor that they see and feel the impacts of our decisions. In this case, my heart never felt more full knowing I had shown my kids to take a risk and to find something you absolutely love doing and make a career out of it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The path to my current career was not an easy one but like a puzzle, every hurdle along the way was an integral piece to the story. Everything from 17 years in fashion, to 5 years in the restaurant/catering business, motherhood and marriage prepared me to create my current brand, Kimchi Avocado. I wanted to create a digital space that celebrated my Korean heritage, pay homage to the food of LA (the city I was bron and raised), share my love of entertaining and cooking for my family as well as creating partnerships with other like-minded brands. We were able to branch out of solely being a digital brand and offer custom boxes and boards of candy, charcuterie and crudites. In 2020 when the world was quarantined and the restaurants were shut down, KCA Boards was forced to pivot from large scale installations and boards to individual boxes to accomodate the needs of COVID safety but still offer our clients a way to celebrate life’s milestones. We also proudly collaborated with another female founded brand to offer a collection of ceramics. This project is the first of many female founded brand collaborations. As a restaurant owner and digital food content creator 2020 pushed us in ways to pivot and grow that we would have never thought possible. Ironically, we had the worst year of sales but the best year in growing as entrepeneurs and leaders. We used our closed restaurants to create a weekly market for our staff and their families to grab the basic necessities for their home and it was one of the best experiences as a business owner. As an industry that was one fo the hardest hit due to COVID, we have come out stronger and closer as a team.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA’s taco scene and Mexican food is something to shout about from the mountaintops. It’s hard to pick just one so I will give you 3 great ones; Mexicali for the best horchata, aqua fresca and tacos, sonoratown tacos, Low key breakfast burritos, and ceviche from ceviche project We have on one of the largest Koreatowns outside of Korea ion the world. We are also lucky enough to have a wide variety of all other asian foods as well. A trip to K-town would be on the itinerary for Korean BBQ at Parks and then a cheesecake from the Galleria Market Bakery. Another must have is Rice Box LA for their beautiful roasted duck and bao. To top off our asian food tour we would have to wait in line for a spot at Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo and follow with a stop at Fujetsu opne of the oldest Japanese bakeries in LA. As a girl born and raised on the westside, we would need a whole day to devote to all my favorite food in Santa Monica and Venice, CA. The Win-Dow at American Beauty for a fried chicken sandwich, burger from Father’s Office, Felix for Italian, Ice Cream from Sweet Rose, sandwich from Bay Cities, anything on the menu from The Draycott, sticky bun from Tartine and of course seafood from The Albright. Malibu is one of the most beautiful places in the world. A hike on one of the many trails and a day at surfrider beach to surf and fly a kite would be a perfect day for anyone. End the day with a lobster roll from Broad Street as we watch the sunset. Iconic places to visit and things to do: Dodger game, The Getty and Getty Villa, Broad, LACMA. Concert at Hollywood Bowl, walk down Santa Monica Pier and Venice Boardwalk. Hike to Hollywood sign or Griffith Observatory. Food favorites in mid city or eastside to grab while visiting these iconic locations, Unclie Paulies for breakfast sandwiches or deli sandwiches, bagel from Courage, Grand Central Market for just about anything. Or if you want a sit down and night life: Olivetta for music, cocktails and amazing food, Bavel for mediterranean, Otium for a culinary knock your socks off experience. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family gets the first and biggest shoutout. Without their support, I would never be able to make my creative dreams a reality. My team at both Kimchi Avocado and restaurants who are my second family. I have had so many people who have inspired me and mentored me through my lifetime but the person who believed in me before I believed in myself that as a 42 year old, I could launch into a whole new career path. This angel on earth is YuTsai. Also known as @yutsai88.
Youtube: kimchi avocado