Edward Lee

James Beard Award Winning Author
Chef
Travels from: Washington, DC

“Striking stories. . . . Lee is a master.”   New York Times Book Review

Edward Lee is the Chef/Owner of 610 Magnolia and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Khora in Cincinnati, and the Culinary Director for Succotash Prime in DC and Succotash in National Harbor. He is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director for The LEE Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to diversity and equality in the restaurant industry. Chef Lee was the recipient of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for his book, Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine. His first book, Smoke & Pickles (Artisan Books, May 2013) was a national bestseller.. Lee has been a six-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast. In 2018, Food & Wine Magazine named 610 Magnolia one of the country’s most important restaurants of the past 40 years. The Michelin Guide DC awarded Succotash a Bib Gourmand in 2019. Chef Lee appears frequently in print and television and his writing has been featured in The New York Times, Esquire, Food & Wine and many other national publications. He was nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS. He has hosted and written a feature documentary called Fermented.

His philanthropic work includes the Lee Diversity Scholarship to support the Southern Foodways Alliance Oral History Workshop. In 2017, Chef Lee launched The LEE Initiative, which operates several programs under its umbrella including the Women Culinary and Spirits Program, Restaurant Workers Relief Program, Restaurant Reboot Relief Program, and McAtee Community and Training Kitchen. During the pandemic, The LEE Initiative distributed over 2 million meals, invested $1.5 million in small farms, and gave over $1 million in grants to Black-owned food businesses across the country. Chef Lee was awarded the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award in 2021. His luxury small batch bourbon created with Trey Zoeller is called Chef’s Collaboration Blend with Jefferson’s Reserve and is sold wherever fine whiskey is sold.

Prepare an Invitation for:

Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine

Artisan |
Cookbook

Winner, 2019 James Beard Award for Best Book of the Year in Writing

Finalist, 2019 IACP Award, Literary Food Writing

Named a Best Food Book of the Year by the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, BookRiot, and more

Semifinalist, Goodreads Choice Awards

“Thoughtful, well researched, and truly moving. Shines a light on what it means to cook and eat American food, in all its infinitely nuanced and ever-evolving glory.”
—Anthony Bourdain

American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. But for Edward Lee, who, like Anthony Bourdain or Gabrielle Hamilton, is as much a writer as he is a chef, that first surprising bite is just the beginning. What about the people behind the food? What about the traditions, the innovations, the memories?

A natural-born storyteller, Lee decided to hit the road and spent two years uncovering fascinating narratives from every corner of the country. There’s a Cambodian couple in Lowell, Massachusetts, and their efforts to re-create the flavors of their lost country. A Uyghur café in New York’s Brighton Beach serves a noodle soup that seems so very familiar and yet so very exotic—one unexpected ingredient opens a window onto an entirely unique culture. A beignet from Café du Monde in New Orleans, as potent as Proust’s madeleine, inspires a narrative that tunnels through time, back to the first Creole cooks, then forward to a Korean rice-flour hoedduck and a beignet dusted with matcha.

Sixteen adventures, sixteen vibrant new chapters in the great evolving story of American cuisine. And forty recipes, created by Lee, that bring these new dishes into our own kitchens.

Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen

Artisan |
Cookbook

Chef Edward Lee’s story and his food could only happen in America. Raised in Brooklyn by a family of Korean immigrants, he eventually settled down in his adopted hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where he owns the acclaimed restaurant 610 Magnolia. A multiple James Beard Award nominee for his unique patchwork cuisine, Edward creates recipes–filled with pickling, fermenting, frying, curing, and smoking–that reflect the overlapping flavors and techniques that led this Korean-American boy to feel right at home in the South. Dishes like Chicken-Fried Pork Steak with Ramen Crust and Buttermilk Pepper Gravy; Collards and Kimchi; Braised Beef Kalbi with Soft Grits and Scallions; and Miso-Smothered Chicken all share a place on his table. Born with the storytelling gene of a true Southerner, Lee fills his debut cookbook with tales of the restaurant world, New York City, Kentucky, and his time competing on Top Chef, plus more than 130 exceptional recipes for food with Korean roots and Southern soul.

The New Melting Pot of Cuisine in America

Cultural Identities in Modern American Food Through an Immigrant Lens

A Chef's Journey to Success, From Seoul to Brooklyn to Kentucky

The New Management Strategy for a Diverse and Equitable World

Using Kindness as a Tool for Leadership: Chef Lee's Non-Profit, LEE Initiative

How to Navigate a Successful Non-Profit in a Landscape of Change

Lee Initiative

Edward Lee’s Upcoming Events

Honors, Awards & Recognition

James Beard Award

 

Media Kit

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