Abigail Cheek learned to make kimchi from her Korean mother’s side of the family. Now, she wants to teach Kansas City – and, eventually, the entire country – how to make it at home.
Cheek moved to Kansas City from Austin two years ago. She is the director of operations for Kansas City Canning Co., and works for owners Tim and Laura Tuohy at their production facility in the East Bottoms. No stranger to the food production business herself, Cheek started her own kimchi production company in Austin, “Oh Kimchi,” that she grew from a homegrown product sold at farm stands to being stocked at Whole Foods Market.
Success was swift, but she sold the business after her divorce. That’s when she and her 5-year-old daughter picked up and moved to Kansas City for a fresh start in another great food town.
Cheek's love of this spicy, fermented condiment now continues in Kansas City, yet in a slightly new form. She has started Nomad Kimchi, a DIY artisanal kimchi-making kit, that comes with the spices and seasoning she uses to make her family’s kimchi recipe at home. The kit sells for $29.99 with free shipping on her website, and also includes access to her step-by-step video instructions.
“I had been in the manufacturing side of kimchi with my first business and felt the pressures of that just complicated what I really wanted to do, which was teach people how to make kimchi themselves,” explains Cheek. “I learned how to make it from my mom, and am teaching my daughter how to make it, but I feel like it is a skill that we are slowly losing from our culture, and I’d like to do my part to preserve it.”
Cheek and her business partner in Nomad Kimchi, Richard Clifton, worked together to build her website and video series, which launched this year. To help promote her business, Cheek is also available for hire to come teach kimchi-making to your group of friends or business associates.
Right now, Cheek is offering just one kit on her website. The Oh Napa Kimchi Kit is her original recipe from her “Oh Kimchi” days, and includes pre-measured dry ingredients, recipe cards, a produce shopping guide and exclusive member portal access to videos.
Nomad Kimchi kits will yield at least 1/2 gallon of delicious homestyle kimchi and includes the exact amount of dry ingredients needed:
- Authentic Korean Red Pepper Flakes (Gochugaru)
- Big Country Organic Fair Trade Cane Sugar
- Coarse Korean Harvested Sea Salt
- Jacobsen Salt Co. Trapani Sea Salt
- Fine Korean rice flour
- Latex-free gloves
Each customer who purchases a kit will receive member access where they can watch the kimchi tutorial video, as well as the kimchi vegetable shopping guide, highlighting seasonal and local produce and where to buy it. Cheek will also show you how to cut and prepare the perfect veggies for your kimchi.
“Quality and consistency are important to me,” says Cheek. “That is why we have partnered with responsible brands such as Jacobsen Salt Co. and Big Country Sugar to make sure we are sending the finest ingredients for people to make kimchi with.”
Nomad Kimchi recently partnered with Local Pig to host a group kimchi-making class at the butcher shop in August. Through her relationships there, she has agreed to make and jar her kimchi in Local Pig's commercial kitchen, with plans to sell it at the shop.
“I will likely offer three kinds of kimchi for sale at the Local Pig: my original “Oh Napa” kimchi, one made with mustard greens and the third will be a cucumber kimchi kit,” she says. Keep an eye out for Nomad Kimchi at Local Pig in the near future.
Nomad Kimchi, nomadkimchi.com