Richard Kaplan, Brown Paper Chocolates
Richard Kaplan has been cooking - figuratively and literally - for over two decades. With a solid foundation rooted in the classics thanks to training at the Restaurant School of Philadelphia, where he earned a culinary management degree, Richard then honed his skills and style at some of the hippest and most happening restaurants in the nation.
His resume includes places like One Fifth in New York (sous chef); Claire, a seafood restaurant on New York's trendy West Side (head chef); and La Terraza di Marti in Key West (executive chef for seven years). From the moment he hit Houston (as executive chef of the instantly popular River Cafe on Montrose) Richard earned a reputation for signature dishes and creativity.
Now, as executive chef and co-owner of the catering company, Acute, his reputation continues to expand due to his capability of creating unique flavor sensations and his uncanny talent for finding both the freshest and most unusual items. In a way, he has kept his hand in the restaurant business with the very successful Acute Cafe. Don't look for this in the telephone book or dining directories, however. The Cafe is the popular dining spot in the Wortham Theater Center's Founders Salon, open only during the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet season. Of course, being a restaurant chef is only a starting point for the demands that face a catering company. Here too, Richard has proven a talent for handling the incredible challenges of feeding 1,000 diners at the same time or creating flawless events in the oddest of locations. More recently, Richard has turned a passion into another thriving new venture.
In 2004, while working with a chocolate recipe, an idea of creating chocolates with fresh, non-processed gourmet ingredients emerged. He began experimenting with different combinations, such as ancho chiles with tequila and dark chocolate or lavender with Pimm's No. 1 and white chocolate. Local press responded immediately to the stunning quality. Brown Paper Chocolates was born.