Momofuku alum Tien Ho left his position at Whole Foods Markets, where he was the global vice president of culinary and hospitality. While he figures out what his next move will be — it would ideally involve food and/or a bar in Austin — he’s hosting a pop-up dinner at Peached Tortilla’s event space next month.
“It’s a mix between what I love to eat, as well as reconnecting with Texas,” Ho explained his pop-up menu. The whole hog dish is his tribute to Texas while “incorporating Asian ingredients and flavors to the garnishes and sides. I’m taking a lot of my experience from New York and internationally and reconnecting it to Texas.”
Ho left Whole Foods a month and a half ago, and, for now, he’s taking a breath and figuring out what’s next for him. “I really want to reconnect with Austin,” he said, noting that he had to travel a lot with his former position, “and cook again. I’m really excited to get back into the kitchen and do something.”
Ho knows he wants to stay in Austin, where he got his culinary start. After he graduated from the University of Texas-Austin, he worked at the Belgian Restaurant out in Bee Caves. He then worked on and off at the Driskill Hotel, and moved to New York in 2002.
It was in New York where he connected with David Chang. He worked at Momofuku Ssam Bar, where he was an opening chef. He also opened Ma Peche and Montmartre, and worked as the corporate chef of Morgan’s Hotel Group.
He came back to Austin to join Whole Foods in 2016, where he oversaw the Austin experimental food truck and new sit-down restaurant Red Okra. After two years, he decided it was time to leave, noting that it wasn’t related to Amazon purchase of the supermarket in June 2017 (“Amazon is an amazing company, I learned so much from them.”)
Along with the pop-up, Ho is currently consulting with forthcoming restaurants along with Rebecca Meeker, the former executive chef of Jeffrey’s and Josephine House who currently runs her own healthy food delivery company Lucky Lime. (Meeker was Ho’s first protege during their Driskill days when she was 16-years-old.)
Ho doesn’t rule out a restaurant or even a bar. “I would love to, but I’m just not sure yet,” he said.
His $38 pop-up dinner will consist of three-course served family-style, along with tequila cocktails. The pop-up takes place on Saturday, July 14 at the Peached Social House. Read on for the full menu below.
Tien Ho’s Pop-Up Dinner Menu
Ember-roasted Beets – Pistachio puree, escarole, sherry mustard vinaigrette
Crispy Cauliflower – Guizhou Style, charred scallions.
Black Hills Farm Whole Hog in Caja China
Braised & Roasted Cabbage – Pot licker butter
Pickled Vegetables – Celery, watermelon rind, daikon
Sauces: Ginger Scallion, Ssam Sauce, Black Pepper Lime Salt
Marinated Peaches – Grand Marnier whipped mascarpone, thyme crumble