Rising Star Chef Richard Kuo of Pearl & Ash - Biography
New York, NY
It always helps when a chef is born somewhere with an expressive food culture (as opposed to, say, a food culture built on Hamburger Helper and spray cheese). Richard Kuo was born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, exposing a young palate to a variety of cultures and cuisines.
Those encounters sparked an interest, but Kuo wasn’t immediately drawn to cooking. He first studied food engineering and architecture at the University of South Wales in Sydney. But by 18, he decided to pursue his passion for food entirely hands-on, trading academia for the slightly rougher training grounds of a professional kitchen.
And he started strong, working in some of the best restaurants in Australia. After competing for Australia in the biannual Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, Kuo moved to New York City, a decision that would introduce him to a different kind of culinary variety: a stage at wd~50 led to a position with Wylie Dufresne, which introduced Kuo to the marvels and whimsies of molecular gastronomy. Perspective broadened, Kuo worked at Corton and Seäsonal before breaking out on his own as chef and co-owner (with Fredrik Berselius) of pop-up Frej in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Now at the helm of globally inspired Pearl & Ash, Kuo pays homage to the variety in cuisine he’s known his whole life and has earned a 2015 StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award for his work.