Rising Star Chef Tony Liu of Pulino's Bar & Pizzeria - Biography

New York, NY

November 2011

Tony Liu found his calling at an early age. As a teenager in Honolulu, he took a job working as a dishwasher so that he could spend his days surfing. Gradually spending more time in the kitchen than on the beach, Liu’s interest turned serious, and he earned a culinary arts and patisserie degree from Kapiolani Community College. While in school, he worked in some of Hawaii’s top kitchens, including Roy Yamaguchi’s Roy’s, The Lodge at Koele, and 3660 On the Rise. Looking to strengthen his skills and broaden his experience, Liu moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America.

Liu interned at Lespinasse under Gray Kunz before joining the opening team at Daniel, which earned four stars from The New York Times. It was there that Liu came to appreciate well-executed, classic French cooking. He went on to work in Floyd Cardoz’s kitchen at Tabla, where he learned the nuances of modern Indian cuisine. In 2001, Liu left New York for Spain’s three-Michelin-starred Restaurante Martin Berasategui. For six months, he immersed himself in Spanish cooking, from experimental techniques to traditional Iberian dishes. Upon returning to the US, Liu took up the position of Sous Chef at Babbo under Mario Batali.

Liu became the Executive Chef of August in early 2004. When planning the menu for this intimate spot in Greenwich Village, he looked to incorporate traditional influences from the various cuisines he has worked with over the years. He poured over old cookbooks he has collected, some dating as far back as the 17th century. His meticulousness and cultivated style earned him a 2006 StarChefs.com New York Rising Stars award. Liu went on to become Executive Chef of Morandi's for two years, moving on to Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria in 2010.