In order to know the history of See Thru Kitchen, we have to know a person who makes all this happens. The founder and now the president of See Thru Chinese Kitchen Corporation, her name is Elaine Kong. As a proud member of Chicago's Chinatown community, an entrepreneur, and a community volunteer, Elaine was born in a small village in Canton, Southern China. With hope to succeed and seek for freedom, she moved to the United States and stayed in Chicago as a Chinese refugee in 1976, living with her aunt and sewing clothes during the day while going to fashion design school on the weekends. She worked various jobs for the next several years, finishing beauty school and getting her licenses to open her first successful home based beauty shop in 1977. In 1980, she started partnering with several local restaurants and learned the in and out of this totally new industry to her.
In 1991 she bought Elaine’s Chop Suey at 47th and Damen in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Two years later she opened up the first location of See Thru Chinese Kitchen restaurant at 109th and Western. Her concept of See-Thru Kitchen was to combine the art of Chinese cuisine and the culture of American fast food chain. Through the years of building the unique concept of open kitchen restaurant, Elaine was very lucky to have the opportunities to work with a team of talented chefs from Hong Kong and mainland China. These Chinese food artists did not only work for See Thru kitchen but also involved with new recipe creation and development of new menu items. Today, Elaine is the president of 21 See Thru Chinese Kitchens throughout the city of Chicago, with more than 180 employees running the various locations. Elaine wants more and more people to have a job!
Elaine has been helping people for over a decade. She has been a director with the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years, and she was honored to be the vice president of CCC from 2002 to 2004. She has helped different communities to build up businesses and service centers as well. Her slogan is “Be busy and responsible for yourself, be gracious and helpful to others, and be healthy and cheerful for everybody!”