One part Southern soul, one part Asian spice, and one part New York attitude, Edward is a Korean-American who grew up in Brooklyn, trained in NYC kitchens, and has spent the better part of a decade honing his vision at 610 Magnolia restaurant in Louisville, KY.
Lee’s adventure to Louisville began in 2002 on a road trip to the Kentucky Derby. He discovered a local gem of a restaurant called 610 Magnolia where he spent the week cooking and visiting local farms. He was so impressed with the local dedication to culinary pursuits and agriculture that, within the year, Edward moved from NYC to Louisville, and into the blossoming New Southern food scene that would take shape around a handful of young and forward thinking chefs.
Lee’s culinary style draws inspiration from his Asian heritage, his New York training, and his embrace of the American South, coupled with the best ingredients from local farms. Lee’s innovative cuisine has twice earned him a finalist nomination for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He has been featured in Esquire, Bon Appétit, GQ, Gourmet among many other publications; reigned victorious on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” was a favorite on “Top Chef: Texas, Season 9”; and has appeared on Cooking Channel’s “Foodography,” CBS “Early Show” and NBC “The Today Show.” Lee also has published articles in Gastronomica, Food & Wine, Organic Gardening, Local Palette and more. His first book, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, was published by Artisan Books in May 2013
In addition to 610 Magnolia, Lee operates a dining room and cooking class venue called The Wine Studio.
When he is not in his kitchen, Lee spends the rest of his time on his numerous collaborations. His signature blend with Jefferson’s Reserve called Chef’s Collaboration Blend is a luxury small batch bourbon he developed with Master Blender Trey Zoeller. He also consults on product development for one of his favorite condiments: Red Boat Fish Sauce.
MilkWood is Chef Lee’s interpretation of the modern speakeasy with cuisine that explores Southern Comfort Food with an Asian Pantry. It is located in the lower level of the revered Actor’s Theater in downtown Louisville.
Lee approaches his professional and culinary life with candor, humor, and—most importantly—the same spirit of adventure that was the original impetus for his success.