Born in Taiwan, and raised in Australia, Richard Kuo was exposed to a variety of different cultures at an early age. After spending some time at the prestigious University of South Wales in Sydney studying food engineering and architecture, at 18 Kuo decided to pursue his passion for cooking and began working professionally in some of the best kitchens in Australia. After competing for Australia in the biannual Bocuse D’or in Lyon, France, Kuo chose to take his talents to New York City. After a brief stage at wd-50, Kuo was offered a position where he worked under the guidance of Wylie Dufresne where he developed his technical skills in molecular gastronomy.
Kuo then moved on to work at notable NYC restaurants Corton and Seäsonal before breaking out on his own as the chef and co-owner of the successful pop-up Frej in Williamsburg and most recently the 62-seat globally-inspired small plates hot spot on the Bowery (along with Patrick Cappiello and Branden McRill) where he received a glowing two-star review from The New York Times. The restaurant is packed nightly with diners looking to try Richard’s innovative dishes like Diver Scallops with Berbere and Lily Bulb; Hanger Tartare with Cocoa Nibs & Slow Cooked Yolk; Long Beans with Chili an Uni; and his much-talked about Frenet Branca Ice Cream Sandwich. The New York Times critic Pete Wells named Pearl & Ash one of “The Best Restaurants of 2013,” Bon Appetit awarded them one of “The 50 Best New Restaurants in America,” and New York Magazine listed them as #4 on their year-end “Restaurant Power Rankings” for 2013.