Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Museum of Art selects Executive Chef Hoon Rhee to lead culinary operations

Marilyn Johnson

Constellation Culinary Group has appointed Chef Hoon Rhee, who will take the lead as Executive Chef of the food and beverage operations at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As part of his role, Rhee will manage Stir, the museum’s full-service restaurant, as well as several café spaces and catering for private events.

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Executive Chef Hoon Rhee to lead to lead culinary operations at Constellation Culinary at Philadelphia Museum of Art.(Courtesy of Sarah DiCiccio)

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rhee is a seasoned professional who has worked in both front and back-of-house positions, including as a line cook, bartender, pastry cook, barista, consultant, and more. Early in his career, Rhee gained valuable experience through an internship at Per Se and later at Narisawa and L’Effervescence in Tokyo. He’s held positions at top restaurants on the East Coast including Daniel, Masa, and The Modern in New York, as well as Lacroix at The Rittenhouse Hotel, Jean Georges at the Four Seasons, and Morimoto in Philadelphia.

“I am thrilled to join the Constellation Culinary team and take on the responsibility of leading the culinary programming at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” said Rhee. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to deliver a world-class dining experience, with a menu inspired by the art at the museum itself, my upbringing in Philadelphia, and my culinary experience and travels which have helped to shape my cooking style and approach merging Eurocentric flavors and techniques with East Asian and Nordic influences. “

The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers visitors rich and varied globally inspired dining experiences, from upscale locally sourced dishes at Stir to family-friendly options at the Café, to great coffee and artisan pastries at the Espresso Bar and beverages and light bites at the Balcony Café. Rhee will also manage the museum’s Chef-in-Residence program, through which local chefs enjoy a weekend residency in the Café and “take over” the Local & Global station. Guest chefs have included Nana Wilmot, Melissa Fernando, Kiki Aranita, and Nok Suntaranon, among others.

Rhee has already begun to make his mark at Stir, the museum’s premier, a full-service restaurant designed by Frank Gehry, where Rhee has refreshed the seasonal locally sourced menu and incorporated ingredients traditionally used in Asian cuisines. New dishes include Sweet Corn Soup (puffed corn and rice, honey brown butter, and house Togarashi), Slow Roasted Melon (Sake Crème Fraiche, fig oil, and lemon verbena), Peas (asparagus, haricot verts, strawberries, braised almonds, goat cheese), Peaches (seasonal greens, basil yogurt, roasted celtuce, pickled rhubarb), Zucchini Gnocchi (roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic chives, squash blossom tempura, golden sesame oil), and Roasted Jail Island Salmon (roasted fennel, yuzu date kosho, charred coconut and cauliflower, potato flakes,  Houttunyina).

Rhee holds dual degrees from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and the University of Pennsylvania, holds a Level 1 Sommelier certification, and has a working knowledge of Korean and Spanish.

Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, the greater Mid-Atlantic area, and beyond.

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Marilyn Johnson is a Philadelphia area-based food and travel writer focusing on food & drink in the Mid-Atlantic region. Email phillygrub@gmail.com for Philly area news; phillygrubtrips@gmail.com for travel tips and opportunities.

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