Pearl & Ash's Richard Kuo's Future Plans Include a Bigger Kitchen

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Celeste Sloman
Part one of my interview with Pearl & Ash's Richard Kuo ran yesterday. Here in part two, the chef divulges his desert island food, names a top problem with the New York restaurant industry, and talks about his locksmithing hobby.

What would you like to see more of in the New York culinary scene?
Authentic ethnic food. Not the Americanized shit; that stuff is really bad. I really like authentic ethnic food. I love Ethiopian food.

What do you wish would go away?
Snacks. The novelty of having snacks at restaurants has really worn off for me. It's more about the chef than the food or the people, and I really dislike that. And by snacks I mean one-bite kind of things that are very technique-driven and look like something else. First it needs to taste great. And it has to accomplish something. What's the objective there?

What's your guiltiest pleasure?
Fried chicken. In any form. If it's chicken and it's fried, I'll eat it.

What's your favorite meal to cook at home?
One pot wonders: Anything that requires one pot to cook start to finish. I hate washing dishes, so I only use one cooking vessel. Spaghetti bolognese. Stew. And soups. I make a big batch, and it lasts for days.

What's the most memorable meal you've ever eaten?
Dinner at Blue Hill Stone Barns. There was this specific dish--it was so simple--cod cooked in coconut milk and coconut foam with pea puree. It was three things executed perfectly; it was phenomenal and in harmony.

What do you wish you could put on your menu, regardless of how well it would sell?
Eel. I love eel. I would do it smoked and roasted, if only we had the facility to bring in live eel and do it ourselves. I love smoked eel.

What music is best to cook to?
Billy Joel and Kiss.

On the next page, Kuo talks about a crazy night at work.

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Pearl & Ash

220 Bowery, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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