Recipe: Chef Bill Kim’s ‘Why Even Bother’ Lemon Chicken and Chickpea Salad

Not just a great opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones, regular family dinners together can provide both physical and mental health benefits, research has shown.

As part of our ongoing series, Better Family Dinners, we’ve asked top chefs to share favorite recipes they enjoy at home with their own families. Here, Chef Bill Kim tells us how to make what he and his family call “Why Even Bother” Lemon Chicken and Chickpea Salad.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Chef Bill Kim was raised in Chicago and attended Kendall College before spending his early culinary career working alongside world-famous chefs including Charlie Trotter, Jean Banchet and Pierre Pollin. He also served as sous chef at famed restaurants, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Bouley Bakery in New York and Susanna Foo in Philadelphia.

Kim’s passion for crafting inventive yet accessible cuisine led him to open urbanbelly, a communal-seating restaurant serving noodle, dumpling and rice dishes, in 2008. Kim opened a second urbanbelly location in Wicker Park in early 2016, and is set to open a third location in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Market this November. 

In 2019, Chef Kim became the first Chef to partner with Crate & Barrel, launching The Table at Crate. Chef Kim also opened Bill Kim’s Ramen Bar inside of Time Out Market in 2021, and opened multiple concepts at Purdue University in 2022. 

Kim has also authored a cookbook, “Korean BBQ; How To Master Your Grill In Seven Sauces.” 

Chef Bill Kim’s ‘Why Even Bother’ Lemon Chicken

“My wife and I started a new tradition in our house with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. It’s called the ‘Why even bother meal!’ It’s our favorite! Kim says. “It’s a crowd pleaser that fits everybody’s dietary needs. My wife is gluten free, I’m dairy free, my mother-in-law is low sodium, and my sister-in-law is health conscious.

“I decided to simplify my cooking to enjoy time together and less time prepping. Both recipes can be prepared one day ahead of time or even a couple of hours in advance so there is no pressure to have everything ready at once.

“Cooking, eating and enjoying each other’s company is what ‘Why Even Bother Meal’ is at the Kim household!”

Photo by Eiliv Aceron

Lemon Chicken (serves 2 people)


1lb boneless skinless chicken thigh
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili flake
6 turns on the pepper mill of black peppercorn
1.5 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil


In a medium size mixing bowl add all the ingredients except boneless skinless chicken thigh. Using a
whisk, incorporate all the ingredients together. Once mixed well, add boneless chicken thigh to the mixture.

Let chicken marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Use a large skillet that comfortably fits 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Heat the large skillet on medium-high. Add the chicken with the marinade. Do not move the chicken thighs around and put a lid on it, cook for 5 minutes or until you can easily flip with tongs. Cook for 3 more minutes with the lid on and turn off heat, let the chicken rest for 2 minutes with lid on. Take out chicken thigh from the skillet and place it on a serving dish ready to go! Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley (optional).

Chickpea Salad

“Why even bother!! It’s the chickpea salad again at the Kim’s!”


1 can (12 oz) chickpea, rinsed and drained
1 cup cucumber, medium dice
½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
10 basil leaves, torn
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp chili flake
¼ tsp dried oregano
5 turns of the pepper mill (black peppercorn)


In a medium size bowl add all the ingredients together except chickpea, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Incorporate well with a whisk, then add chickpea, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and basil. Let the salad marinate for 20 minutes. Ready to go!

Get more Better Family Dinners recipes and stories.

How to Help:

During a visit to students of Chicago’s Community Kitchens, the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s 14-week culinary job-training program, Kim shared inspiration and cooking tips with the students and emphasized the importance of supporting those within the food community.

“I was taught early on to give back to our food community, to give people the chance to grow and to learn – eventually for them to give back to the food community. … It goes around full circle,” Kim said.

Although the Chicago’s Community Kitchens program is temporarily closed as a result of the pandemic, the Greater Chicago Food Depository continues to provide food to hungry people in Cook County through a network of more than 700 partner agencies and programs that include food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. The Food Depository also offers children’s and school-school programs, older adult programs and job training.

Support the Greater Food Depository by volunteering, donating, advocating and more.

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