Chef & Restauranteur, Henry Ku
Coming from a family of successful restaurateurs in Taiwan, Chef Henry came America in the 1980’s to study French cuisine in San Francisco. Throughout his career, he has worked as an executive chef and manager of several French restaurants, and as an executive chef-consultant for the Marriott Hotel chain. In early 2000, Henry opened up his first immensely popular restaurant, with the goal of using his formal culinary training and experiences to craft authentic Taiwanese dishes.
Chef Henry has been featured in numerous major Seattle publications and is a frequent invited speaker and authority on Taiwanese cuisine at Taiwanese cultural associations and official functions. Furthermore, Chef Henry’s love and knowledge about Washington wine and food pairing with Taiwanese dishes have made him the focus of a featured news report on food and wine.
“Authentic and Delicious Taiwanese Cuisine for Everybody”
The Story of Henry’s Taiwan Kitchen
The story of Henry's Taiwan Kitchen started in early 1980's, when Chef Henry Ku came America from Taiwan as a young man to study French cuisine in San Francisco. Upon graduation from culinary school, he started out his career as a line cook, and worked his way up as the executive chef and manager of a Michelin-starred French restaurant. Coming from a family of passionate and successful restaurateurs in Taiwan, Henry was impressed by the simplicity and elegance of the French cuisine, and its emphasis on bringing out the original flavors from fresh ingredients. Subsequently, Henry worked as the executive chef-consultant for the Marriott Hotel chain, and was equally impressed by the consistency of the food across many locations.
At the same time, Henry was appalled by the quality of most Chinese restaurants in America in the 80's and 90's (and he believes it is still the case today) - the heavy use of oil, the overly salty, sweet or sour tastes, the lack of formal chef training, and the all-around non-authentic flavors saddened Henry.
He felt the urgency to change the culinary scene in America, in order to do justice to the Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines, both with thousands of years of rich and diverse culinary histories, and offer the American customers what they deserve – authenticity and quality. He vowed to bring his training and experiences to making authentic and delicious Taiwanese dishes, with an emphasis on quality, consistency, on bringing out the flavor and essence of the fresh ingredients, and on crafting every dish with passion and soul. Hence, the first Henry's Taiwan Kitchen was opened in 2000 in Seattle, with simple décor and all the emphasis on the food, creating "authentic and delicious Taiwanese cuisine for everybody". Henry subsequently opened locations in Bellevue, WA, and Seattle’s International District.
Over the years, Henry’s small chain has attracted a strong loyal following consisted of both Taiwanese and non-Taiwanese local diners, tourists who come via word-of-mouth, and connoisseurs of Taiwanese cuisine. It has received numerous “Best in Its Class” awards, year after year, by major publications such as Seattle Times, Seattle Met Magazine, Settle Magazine, Zagat, Urban Spoon, along with countless positive reviews in Chinese-language publications in Seattle and in Taiwan. Henry’s cooking has been highly sought after by Taiwanese professional and diplomatic expatriates, and by visiting Taiwanese state dignitaries who crave for the flavors from home. Chef Henry has been regularly invited to judge cooking competitions, to lecture on cuisine by Taiwanese cultural associations, and has received numerous formal letters of appreciation from the Taiwanese Consulate and Director General, for his service to the local community.
The year 2013 ushers a new era for the restaurant, with the support of its new advisors, Chef Henry has opened up the two long-awaited branches at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Arizona State University in Tempe.
At the same time, with a fresh branding under way, Chef Henry is ever more dedicated to improve the culinary experiences of many overseas Taiwanese and Chinese, and to spread authentic and delicious Taiwanese dishes to mainstream America.