Simon Kim

Simon Kim

Founder & President of Gracious Hospitality Management and Proprietor of Cote Korean Steakhouse

You need an innate likeability between both the employer and employee. If the candidate jives with the culture of the restaurant and vice versa, then that's the making of a great partnership. I also look for people that are innately hospitable and warm. If I am interviewing a candidate and they feel comfortable and make me feel comfortable, then I know it's a good fit.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned throughout my career is to be yourself. When you're in fine dining, the business can be very theatrical. You're always playing a role - it can be exhausting. If you can find yourself and be yourself in that role then you're no longer playing it. Your words and actions become much more authentic and profound.
I always look for compatibility when hiring aspiring professionals. You may be objectively a very highly-qualified candidate, but it goes beyond skill set. The plus alpha is where you find the partnership - and that's how I view employment.
I find inspiration from my father. My father has been a true gastronomer. He takes a lot of joy in talking about food in a critical way. I feel if I can please him, then I can please everyone - and therefore, he inspires me every day to bring excellence to the table.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

Send Us Your Nominations

If you know of any extraordinary food, beverage and hospitality professionals who inspire others through their hard work and leadership, nominate them now!


Search industry jobs here

Get Inspired by Industry Leaders

Explore their unique career timelines and advice about what they’ve learned along the way

Pastry & Baking
Wine & Beverage
Office & Admin
Career Changer
International Experience
James Beard Award