Foodies Favorite Finds: Chef Kyo Koo of Bluehour
Monday, July 06, 2015
Kyo Koo is the Executive Chef at Bluehour, a modern restaurant in Portland’s Pearl District drawing on Pacific Northwest ingredients. A Portland native, Koo’s primary culinary influences range from the foods of his mother’s Korean home cooking to ingredient-driven, and progressive American cooking. The Portland allure reached Kyo in 2009 with an opportunity at Clarklewis where he invigorated the product-sourcing program, and evolved the farm-to-table menu. In the summer of 2014, Koo took the reins in the kitchen at Bluehour, where he continues to evolve his food perspective and style in one of the cities’ most respected kitchens.
Kyo always knew the restaurant world was where he would thrive and put a thoughtful career course in place right out of high school by starting with culinary school in Seattle, then to Rockenwagner in Los Angeles, and Scooter Kanfer at the house restaurant in West Hollywood. Like many great chefs before him, California is where Kyo developed a keen appreciation for market driven menus and New American cooking. But after some time in these lauded kitchens the Pacific Northwest harkened him home. Back in Seattle Kyo took over the kitchen at Mona’s Bistro, working closely as ever with farmers and foragers to source the best product possible.
To refine his knowledge of top end product and modern European technique, Kyo took the boldest step in his career and moved to Spain to work for chef Andoni Aduriz at the internationally regarded Mugaritz in the Basque country. Here he obtained a chef de partie position and learned revolutionary techniques that focus on labor-intensive preparation with a high standard for bright flavor, simple tastes and evocative textures. After a transformative year in Spain, Kyo joined Ethan Stowell in Seattle at his fine dining restaurant Union, working with the region’s best seafood and Italian ingredients before moving to Portland in 2009. Kyo and his wife Kate live in NE Portland and welcomed their first child, Egan in May 2013.
GoLocalPDX recently asked Chef Kyo Koo about his favorite dining spots and things to eat.
“One of my favorite out of the way dining spots is Lin's China Jade. I have been going there since I was a child. It is located in a small mini-mall complex on Cedar Hills Boulevard in Beaverton. The regular menu is pretty standard Cantonese fare, but the owners are Korean-Chinese, and offer a special menu that caters to their Korean clientele. Some of the highlights on the menu are...
Korean jajangmyeon, which are wheat noodles with a fermented black bean sauce with pork and shrimp. It is a classic Korean dish, really popular in South Korea. The best shops in Korea hand pull the noodles to order.
Jjampong is also available, this is a Korean-Chinese spicy seafood stew, with Korean chili flakes as the spice in the soup. Served with wheat noodles, clams, mussels and pork. Really delicious on a cold, rainy day.
The crown jewel of the Korean Menu at Lin's China Jade is called kampongi. This is a Korean-Chinese style fried chicken. It is tossed in a garlic-scallion sauce, and served on the bone. I wish I could describe everything about this dish, but you just have to eat it. Then you will know. One of those dishes that will change your perspective on fried chicken.”
Lin's China Jade, 4050 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton,
Bluehour is located at 250 NW 13th Ave., Portland.
Related Slideshow: Where to Dine Out in Portland’s 10 Hottest Restaurant Neighborhoods
Find the Best ranked Portland neighborhoods according to number of restaurants per capita. The top restaurant neighborhoods included the Lloyd district, Old Town, The Pearl and more - all of which have an abundance of hip, tasty places to dine. Here are GoLocalPDX's picks for where to dine out in Portland's 10 hottest restaurant neighborhoods.
Number of restaurants per 10,000 residents in Downtown: 227.3
Departure Restaurant and Lounge featuring head chef Gregory Gourdet, not only provides guests with one of the best views in Portland, but also serves up-scale asian-fusion cuisine.
525 SW Morrison Street.
Photo via departureportland.com