Rising Star Chef Richard Chen of Wing Lei - Biography
Las Vegas, NV
2005 Las Vegas Rising Star Chef Richard Chen heads Wynn Las Vegas as the Executive Chef of Wing Lei, a restaurant offering haute Chinese cuisine. The name Wing Lei was derived from the translation of the Chinese character for Wynn, and means “forever prosperous.”
Prior to his arrival at Wynn Las Vegas, Chef Chen served as both the chef de cuisine and manager of Shanghai Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago. There, he earned critical acclaim from both local and national media for his signature “reverse fusion” style - cuisine that artfully uses Western ingredients and techniques in preparing traditional Chinese classics. Although Shanghai Terrace was originally conceived as a simple noodle shop concept, upon meeting Chef Chen and tasting his food, hotel management shifted gears, allowing the chef the creative scope his talent deserved.
Chicago Magazine named the restaurant as one of the “Best New Restaurants” in 2002 and Zagat listed Shanghai Terrace in the “Top Food, Service and Décor” category. The chef’s own uncompromisingly high standards of excellence not only propelled the restaurant to sterling reviews, but also filled its seats nightly with appreciative local customers. These achievements are all the more remarkable because it was accomplished so gracefully in a single-burner kitchen.
Chef Chen began his career at the age of seven, working in his parents’ restaurant in his native Taiwan. When his family moved to the United States and reestablished a new restaurant in Chicago, Chen continued to work with them, but decided to formalize his culinary education by attending the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating, Chen remained in New York for two years where he worked at Vista International Hotel in the World Trade Center, before returning to Chicago as a chef at the Ritz-Carlton.