On the Line: Spencer Kim of Spencer's Bistro, Part Two

I never quite know what to expect from part two of our interview. One thing's for sure: there's usually one great story to tell. And that's how we're leading the second installment of Chef Kim's interrogation.

Spencer began the conversation yesterday. Catch up over here. Then check out his shrimp story below.

What's your favorite childhood memory?
I would have to say the first and last time I had the best shrimp ever. It was in the countryside in Korea, where my dad's work with the Korean Army had us stay overnight in tents. A few of the soldiers woke me up late night after everyone went to sleep to catch some shrimp. We ran up and down the ice cold stream screaming like crazy people just to catch some shrimp. But, it was so worth it at the end. We ate shrimp raw and also cooked over a gas torch. No words can describe the sweetness or flavor of those shrimp other than the fact that it was the best shrimp I've ever had.


Tell us something most people don't know about you.
As much as I love cats, I'm allergic to them.

When you're not in the bistro, what are you doing in your free time?
Whenever I can, I'll be at The Factory, Rock City or Sender One, where I go to rock climb.

Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here?
I grew up mostly in Orange County. I did spend five years living in Korea.

Last book you read or last movie watched; how was it?
Last book read was Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain. It's fun and intriguing. Hopefully, I'll find time soon to start the second book of the trilogy.
Last movie watched was Back to the Future 2. It's a classic.

What inspires or motivates you?
Anything and everything inspires me. Colors, dreams, pictures, smells, magazine, TV shows, conversations, etc. It just has to be at the right moments.

Do you have any skills that have nothing to do with food?
Knife sharpening; I like to sharpen my own knives (does that count as non-food?).

What would you be doing if you weren't in the industry?
I wanted to be a programmer, but ever since I started this industry, I really don't know what I would be doing if I wasn't in this industry anymore.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
Learning should never end. Learning the many different ways to cut, fabricate, and cook will make creating dishes easier or even rectify a problem on the fly when a mistake is made. Learning other people's views and beliefs will help empathize and come to a peaceful resolution/compromise to an issue. I was always taught that things worth having in life, things that make us happy in life require hard work and effort. In other words, learn. You'll be surprised at what you can learn even in the least expected places.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about your establishment?
We do change our menu seasonally. We also have tapas specials and/or entrée specials that we run often. Our website has our current menu and pictures of all the dishes. So come on in and enjoy!

Spencer's Bistro is located at 6084 Orangethorpe Ave, Buena Park, (714) 736-0557; www.spencersbistro.com.

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