Chef Richard Kuo of Pearl and Ash - Biography

New York, NY

August 2013

Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Richard Kuo was exposed to a variety of different cultures and cuisines at an early age. And while he didn’t immediately set out to become a chef per se, Kuo was drawn to food, studying food engineering and architecture at the University of South Wales in Sydney. That course of study must have sparked something, because Kuo, just 18 at the time, decided to pursue his passion for cooking in earnest, trading academia for the professional kitchen.

And he started strong. Kuo began working professionally in some of the best restaurants in Australia. After competing for Australia in the biannual Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, Kuo opted to take his talents to New York City, a decision that would change the course of his culinary development: after a brief stage at wd-50, Kuo was offered a position to work under the guidance of Wylie Dufresne, who helped foster his technical skills in molecular gastronomy.

Kuo took his skill set to other influential New York restaurants, including Corton and Seäsonal, before breaking out on his own as the chef and co-owner (with Fredrick Berselius) of successful pop-up Frej in Williamsburg. Now at the helm of Pearl & Ash, a 62-seat, globally-inspired small plates outpost on the Bowery, Kuo has already earned a two-star review from The New York Times.