Chef Lareine Ko Bio

Lareine Ko's journey to becoming a high-end omakase chef in Los Angeles has been a remarkable tale of resilience, determination, and passion for the culinary arts. Born in 1987 with dreams of singing and performing, she embarked on a career in the entertainment industry in Taiwan shortly after graduating high school. In 2009, she participated in singing competitions and won first place, and was hailed as a rising star with immense potential. However, her path took an unexpected turn as she faced challenges with bad contracts and mismanagement, bringing her once-thriving career to a halt.

Lost and unsure of her future, Lareine's life took a meaningful turn in 2015 when a close friend proposed a part owner and head chef position at the popular seafood boil restaurant, ‘Brookhurst’, in Taipei. This opportunity marked the beginning of her culinary journey, where she found new purpose and responsibility while gaining invaluable experience in restaurant management.

Despite Brookhurst's success, Lareine yearned for more knowledge and to hone her culinary skills. She picked up secondary jobs at restaurants, eager to expand her repertoire and deepen her understanding of the culinary arts. In 2017, circumstances led her back to her home in Los Angeles to care for her aging mother and explore the city's food and beverage scene. However, lacking formal culinary training from a cooking school, securing jobs at high-end establishments proved challenging. Undeterred, she worked tirelessly at various sushi restaurants, hustling day in and day out to make ends meet.

For three years, Lareine immersed herself in absorbing culinary knowledge like a sponge, but her aspirations reached beyond standard sushi restaurants. She became the head chef of a lesser-known Japanese restaurant, managing the entire operation, yet she found herself questioning her career choice when the unexpected happened - the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

During the pandemic-induced downtime, Lareine took the opportunity to reevaluate her life, career, and skillsets. It was during this time that she stumbled upon an exciting opportunity - a request for a private sushi dinner at someone's home. This experience served as Lareine's introduction to private dining, igniting a spark of interest and determination to pursue omakase private dining.

Her first omakase gig was not without its challenges, but Lareine's passion was reignited. She delved headfirst into the world of private dining, spending hours researching, watching culinary training videos, learning various techniques, seeking inspiration from other chefs on Instagram, and continually testing omakase preparations at the kitchen bar in her home.

Lacking a mentor to guide her, Lareine decided to teach herself, and the fire that she once had for singing and performing was rekindled. In April of 2021, fate intervened once again, at the high-end omakase restaurant, Sushi Yuen, in Rowland Heights. Lareine's concentration and appreciation of sushi-making caught the attention of the head chef, Chef Ryan. Chef Ryan then invited her, on-the-spot, to train under him, providing her with the authentic knowledge of preparing sushi and omakase.

For a year and a half, Lareine dedicated herself to learning the skills she needed at Sushi Yuen, without salary, understanding that the knowledge gained was more valuable than money. Under Chef Ryan's guidance and continuous self-learning and training, supported by her mother and close friends, Lareine experienced immense growth. Three years later, in 2023, she emerged as a high-end omakase chef in Los Angeles, ready to dazzle diners with her skill, passion, and dedication to the culinary craft.

Chef Lareine Ko's journey to becoming a private chef in LA is a testament to the power of perseverance, the pursuit of knowledge, and the rekindling of passion in the face of adversity. With her culinary talent and determination, there's no doubt that Chef Lareine Ko will continue to delight food enthusiasts with her exquisite omakase creations for years to come.

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