With over 15 years of experience, Kim Leali’s entry into the culinary world was similar to most - a fierce passion for cooking that evolved into an impressive career. While working as a mortgage broker in 2002, Leali spent her evenings and weekends building an in-home catering business. Recognizing how inspired and creative she felt when in the kitchen, Leali took her passion to pursue a formal education at the Culinary Arts Program at Triton College in River Grove, IL. Upon achieving her Culinary Arts Certificate in 2006, Leali was hired at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago as Extern and stayed on for two years as a line cook.
In 2008, Leali joined the ranks of One Off Hospitality finding her home at The Publican, at the time, the group’s newest concept from award-winning chef Paul Kahan. Quickly recognizing her evident talent and innate leadership, Kahan worked closely with Leali to hone her skills, ultimately positioning her at the helm of The Publican’s beloved weekend brunch service, recently named “Top-Ten Best Brunches in the country” by Travel+Leisure magazine. In 2013, Leali was promoted within the One Off organization to open Nico Osteria in the Gold Coast neighborhood as Executive Sous Chef, working hand in hand with Erling Wu-Bower to develop the Italian driven menu. As of 2015, Leali works as the Culinary Operations Director across the One Off Brand, helping chef teams with menu development, always seeking to drive innovation forward across each of the restaurants.