Kevin Tien, like many first-generation Americans, especially those with Asian backgrounds, was supposed to do something extremely professional, which is why he got a master’s degree from Louisiana State University in business intelligence and business analytics. But that took a while, and while he was doing it he was also working his way up the ranks of Tsunami, a Japanese restaurant with locations in the Louisiana communities of Lafayette, where he started his studies at the University of Louisiana before being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and Baton Rouge where he finished.
Upon graduation he got offers to do financial analysis as well as to start working at the Houston location of Uchi, Tyson Cole’s modern Japanese concept. He chose the latter.
His career took him to Washington, D.C., and he eventually opened his own restaurant, Himitsu, where he was named to Food & Wine Magazine’s coveted list of the 10 “Best New Chefs” in 2018.
In 2020, well into the pandemic, Tien opened Moon Rabbit at the InterContinental Washington D.C. hotel in the location formerly occupied by Kwame Onwuachi’s Kith/Kin.
Tien recently discussed his journey, his cooking style and how Moon Rabbit reflects his Vietnamese heritage, his upbringing in Cajun country and his training in modern Japanese fine dining.
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