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MilkWood, a New Fusion Restaurant from Chef Edward Lee, Opens in Louisville

MilkWood, a New Fusion Restaurant from Chef Edward Lee, Opens in Louisville


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After opening the wildly successful restaurant 610 Magnolia, competing in the ninth season of Top Chef, and winning Iron Chef America, Chef Edward Lee has decided to add a second restaurant to his list of achievements. Lee opened his new Asian/Southern fusion eatery, MilkWood, in the Actor’s Theater in downtown Louisville, Ky. this week. The new restaurant puts an Asian twist on traditional Southern food and pays homage to the Louisville community with its name (a tribute to Dylan Thomas’ play about the Louisville community, Under MilkWood).

“It’s been exciting to create such a unique establishment that blends my favorite aspects of the bar and dining room in one of Louisville’s most historic and beloved venues,” Chef Lee said in a release. “At MilkWood, we’ll approach each service not as a restaurant with customers, but as an event where guests are treated like good friends in our homes—with respect, an abundance of food and drink, and our love of service.”

Lee made sure to plan the dining room with an eye toward comfort. There are milky white brick walls, barn wood floors, and a mix of modern and traditional furniture that keeps the vibe cozy yet classy.

When it comes to food, Chef Lee hopes MilkWood can bring together his “Southern soul” and “Asian spice” with an Asian/Southern fusion menu. In the kitchen, Chef Kevin Ashworth cooks eclectic dishes such as frog’s legs with Bourbon brown butter, lime fish sauce, celery, and cilantro; pork shoulder with black BBQ sauce, pickled jicama, milk bread, ancient grains, and red vinegar syrup; miso-smothered chicken with Carolina butter rice, red slaw, and bitter orange; and Vietnamese lamb sausage with heirloom grits, pan-drippings, green tomato relish, lettuce, and mint. The menu is organized by cooking style with dish selections under categories such as “Smoked,” “Low & Slow,” and “Seared in a Skillet.”

The cocktail selection is diverse and flavorful with each cocktail designed to “hit a different flavor profile in the mouth.” Some of the cocktails include the Black Coffee in Bed, a salty cocktail made with bourbon, bacon, and egg whites; the bitter Jaliscan Spring with tequila, rhubarb, and vermouth; and the MilkWood with nigori, chartreuse, and lemon. In addition to the unique cocktail menu, the restaurant also has local beer and wine on tap.

MilkWood is open for dinner Tuesday – Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday evening from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. So if you’re a Kentucky native or just in the area, you should definitely check it out.

Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer for the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.


Noted Louisville chef Edward Lee opening restaurant in Cincinnati's Kinley Hotel

Edward Lee, noted Louisville chef, opening a restaurant in Cincinnati. (Photo: Provided)

There was no mistaking the aroma: that specific combination of spices and cumin and chilies and cinnamon that every Cincinnatian knows. But I wasn't in Cincinnati: This was Louisville and the spicy scent was coming from the kitchen behind 610 Magnolia's event space.

That's the restaurant that brought Edward Lee to national attention. The Brooklyn-born Korean-American chef made his name in Louisville, celebrating and combining the flavors of the mid-south with Korean and other traditions. He just won the James Beard award for Best Book for "Buttermilk Graffiti," which explores the melting pot cuisine of today's America. He has two other restaurants in Louisville, MilkWood and Whisky Dry. He has hosted a season of "Mind of a Chef" on PBS, celebrating his experience of making Louisville home while incorporating other experiences.

Now, he's bringing his philosophy to Cincinnati. His new restaurant, not yet named, will open in the spring in the new Kinley Hotel at Seventh and Race streets, Downtown. He has been collaborating on the concept with Kevin Ashworth, the executive chef of 610 Magnolia, who will head the new restaurant. It's a homecoming for Ashworth, a native of Cincinnati's East Side and a graduate of Midwest Culinary Institute. He has a solid Midwestern heritage, growing up on the potlucks in the church where his father was a minister. "I've learned a lot in Louisville, and I think I have a different perspective I can add to the Cincinnati dining scene," Ashworth said.

Hence that lovely smell: Ashworth had just made one of the pastas he's planning to serve at the new place. Like many of his and his mentor's dishes, it's inspired by a place, executed by a chef. The improvisation on Cincinnati's most famous dish uses different noodles, a different kind of meat, different cheese. It's like Cincinnati chili with a master's degree, maintaining the spirit but applying different rules, like making the pasta chewy and interesting, and going back to its roots by using lamb instead of beef.

Ashworth has been working with Lee for 10 years, since he graduated from the Midwest Culinary Institute. Lee met him here at an event. "He's just an amazing worker. You can't teach passion and dedication, and when I see it in a younger person, I'm interested," Lee said.

A rendering of the Kinley Hotel, with a new restaurant from Edward lee on the ground floor. (Photo: Provided)

Ashworth started as garde manger at 610 Magnolia, was the opening chef at MilkWood and has headed up Magnolia since 2016. "We finish each other's dishes these days," Lee said. "We've spent a long time cooking together, we think the same." Ashworth said, "We've traveled a lot together: Malaysia, Milan, restaurants everywhere. I still call him chef, though." They've also traveled to Cincinnati several times a month lately to get a feel for the dining scene here.

"Everyone there has been so humble, so nice to us," Lee said. "I'm really looking forward to becoming part of the community of chefs in Cincinnati," Ashworth said. His sous-chef, Max Wagner, has already been hired, his best friend from culinary school, who worked with Todd Kelly.

Kevin Ashworth, executive chef of the restaurant in Downtown's Kinley Hotel (Photo: Provided)

The Kinley Hotel in Cincinnati is the first property opening in Vision Hospitality Group's new Humanist portfolio. Mitch Patel, CEO of Vision Hospitality, said that Humanist is "bringing the hotel experience back to the root of what makes traveling such a desirable pastime: connecting with other travelers, connecting with the community you've come to explore and connecting with yourself." It features 94 guest rooms and suites in a building from 1910. The restaurant will be on the ground floor, with access to a small outdoor space, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

With its localized menu, the restaurant fits well with the hotel's intentions. In Louisville, Lee has cultivated Kentucky traditions and collaborated with local farmers and producers. He sees that his and other chefs' interest has enabled farms to grow a market and stay in business. As they develop the Cincinnati restaurant, he and Ashworth are making the same kinds of connections here. The products on the kitchen counter include some familiar products, like Mad House vinegars and Ohio Valley Food Connection produce.

Pasta has been a focus of Lee and Ashworth's experimenting. They have found an Ohio source for interesting new kinds of wheat: emmer, einkorn, spelt and high-quality semolina. "We'll be doing a number of pastas with a Midwestern theme," Lee said. "They won't be the Italian standards."

But pasta will be just one section of the menu. They're working on something like a lobster Thermidor, using the Kentucky XO sauce Ashworth makes with dried catfish and country ham.

Lee's experience has shown that the culinary traditions of the Midwest are not only inspiration for delicious food, but are perhaps in their prime right now. "People are interested because this idea of authenticity is so unique and desired," Lee said.


THE LEE INITIATIVE’S RESTAURANT WORKERS RELIEF PROGRAM EXPANDS NATIONALLY

(LOUISVILLE, KY March 23, 2020) In response to massive layoffs in the hospitality industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak nationwide, Chef Edward Lee, in partnership with The LEE Initiative and Maker&rsquos Mark , launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Program. This program started on Tuesday, March 17 out of the catering kitchen of Lee&rsquos restaurant, 610 Magnolia, and was able to serve over 400 individuals in the restaurant industry who had recently become unemployed.

The overwhelming response from the community inspired other chefs around the country to create similar programs, working directly with The LEE Initiative and Maker&rsquos Mark. Restaurant workers must bring in proof of recent employment (paystubs will suffice) and will receive hot meals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, diapers, formula, personal hygiene items, and more. Times, days and exact details vary between relief centers.

Most of these relief centers are funded for the next two weeks but are hoping to be able to stay open longer with donations via www.leeinitiative.org . These relief centers include:

Chef Greg Braxtrom at Olmsted and Nate Adler at Gertie&rsquos

Chefs Ouita Michel and Samantha Fore at Great Bagel Bakery

For more information on the relief efforts, please follow The LEE Initiative on social media https://www.instagram.com/leeinitiative/ . For details on each chef&rsquos relief center, including addresses, days and times of operation, and more, please visit their individual social media pages, linked above.

About Chef Edward Lee

Chef Edward Lee is the chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, KY and culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, MD and in DC. He has received multiple finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast. He appears frequently in print and television and was recently nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS. Lee won a James Beard Foundation Award for Writing for his book Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef&rsquos Journey to Discover America&rsquos New Melting Pot Cuisine (Artisan Books, April 2018). He also authored Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan Books, May 2013). His documentary film, Fermented , follows him around the world as he explores the rich culinary and cultural traditions of fermented food. For more information on Chef Edward Lee, please follow him on Twitter or Instagram or visit www.chefedwardlee.com

About Maker&rsquos Mark® Bourbon

In 1953, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small batches, using soft red winter wheat to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency, and finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., transformed bourbon from a &ldquocommodity&rdquo into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker&rsquos Mark® continues to make its bourbon the same way. In recent years, Maker&rsquos Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio including Maker&rsquos Mark 46&trade Maker&rsquos Mark® Cask Strength, and Maker&rsquos Mark Private Select®, the brand&rsquos first-ever custom barrel program. In 1980, the Maker&rsquos Mark distillery became the first distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark and has also been decreed as the &ldquoworld&rsquos oldest operating bourbon whiskey distillery&rdquo by Guinness World Records. It remains one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky&rsquos most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, visit makersmark.com.

WE MAKE OUR BOURBON CAREFULLY. PLEASE ENJOY IT THAT WAY.

Maker&rsquos Mark®, Maker&rsquos Mark® Cask Strength and Maker&rsquos Mark 46&trade Bourbon Whisky, 45-57% Alc./Vol.


Keeping up with chef Edward Lee is exhausting, inspiring and delicious

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Chef Edward Lee, chef and owner of 601 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, shares some of his delicious recipes Louisville Courier Journal

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The Pear and Clementine Salad with Tarragon & Nigella Seeds with a Pistachio Oil Vinaigrette served at 610 Magnolia. Dec. 6, 2018 (Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal) Buy Photo

Keeping up with chef Edward Lee is exhausting. And inspiring. And delicious. And tons of fun.

Lee, the chef and owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, is also the chef of and mastermind behind Succotash, a “soulful Southern” restaurant with locations in Washington, D.C. and National Harbor, Maryland. He also recently opened a restaurant in Antigua and is planning to debut a venture next year in Cincinnati.

Somehow (no one knows quite how given a calendar that’s mind-boggling to decipher) he managed to write "Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen" and recently introduced another book, "Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine."

His newest book was two years in the making.

“Like everything else I do, I bit off more than I could chew. It was an ambitious project but a great experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. It changed the way I look at culture and people and food,” he told the Courier Journal. “I wanted to get out there and see what other foods there are in America, ones that aren’t on social media. There’s a world of immigrant food that gets ignored. When I find new ingredients I haven’t used before, it’s usually at an immigrant’s table, so I wanted to go on a deep dive and explore that and tell stories and gather recipes.”

One of the highlights of his journey of culinary discoveries was a Cambodian restaurant in Lowell, Massachusetts. Another was eating Nigerian food in Houston. But he says such gems are found in every city, including Louisville, the hometown of Shirley Mae’s Café and Hosannah’s Kitchen.

“We forget that these kinds of restaurants exist because the fancy restaurants and celebrity chefs get all the attention. I tried to create a bridge that says these often overlooked restaurants are also important,” said Lee.

He thinks of his books as personal successes, something he does because it makes his wheels spin and makes him happy. Feigned humility isn’t Ed Lee. He wholeheartedly believes, and takes to heart, that his restaurants have achieved their remarkable notoriety because of the teams he has assembled.

Kevin Ashworth, who has served as Executive Chef at MilkWood and now 610 Magnolia, will take over the top spot at the Cincinnati restaurant. Naming Ashworth to that position is Lee’s way to reward Ashworth for the years he has put into the company. The two chefs have developed a coded language that allows them to work in tandem and accomplish a great deal while speaking with very few words.

As he looks ahead to opening the Cincy spot, he can’t help but look back at the people who have influenced him and paved the way for him.

“The passing of Dean Corbett was significant not just because he was a great person and friend, but because to many of us, he represented the golden age of fine dining in Louisville. And although times and the landscape of Louisville dining have changed, I’ll always remember the impression Dean, Kathy Cary (Lilly’s) and Peng Looi (August Moon) made on me when I first came to Louisville,” said Lee.

The dining room at 610 Magnolia. Dec. 6, 2018 (Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal)

He’s a bit introspective as he looks at the coming year. He’s a self-described anxious person who’s enjoying his career more than ever. For him, it’s been a wild ride so far.

“I hope this will be the best year ever for Louisville. The convention bureau is bringing so many new visitors to town. 'Top Chef', being in Kentucky, is going to be huge for exposure to the city. I’m excited to see the new restaurants and young chefs doing cool things. From a food standpoint, it will be the year that puts Louisville on the map.”

Whether he rings in the New Year in Antigua or Louisville will depend on which of his restaurants need him most. Regardless of the locale, he plans to jump-start a New Year’s resolution.

“I’m always trying to go on a diet, but it never works. I’ll try again.”

610 Magnolia, 610 Magnolia Ave., 502-636-0783, 610magnolia.com MilkWood, 316 W. Main St., 502-584-6455, milkwoodrestaurant.com.

Pear and Clementine Salad with Tarragon & Nigella Seeds with a Pistachio Oil Vinaigrette

The Pear and Clementine Salad with Tarragon & Nigella Seeds with a Pistachio Oil Vinaigrette served at 610 Magnolia. Dec. 6, 2018 (Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal)

  • 2 ripe Bosc pears
  • 4 clementines
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon toasted nigella seeds

Pistachio Oil Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons pear vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup pistachio oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Peel pears and slice into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Reserve. Peel clementines and slice into ¼-inch-thick rounds.

Arrange pear and clementine rounds evenly between four plates. Top with arugula leaves. Top with chopped pistachios and chopped fresh tarragon. Toast the nigella seeds in a small dry pan for about two minutes until the aroma is released. Sprinkle salad with the nigella seeds.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the pistachio vinaigrette. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

Leg of Lamb Roast with Apples and Lentils

The Leg of Lamb Roast with Apples and Lentils served at 610 Magnolia. Dec. 6, 2018 (Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal)

  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 small knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 boneless lamb leg roast, about 5 to 6 pounds, tied in butcher’s twine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Apple Honey Glaze

  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Start a day early making the marinade. Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender. Purée on medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Place the lamb leg roast in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the lamb leg roast from the bag and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Discard the marinade. Pat the lamb dry. Brush the roast with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in a roasting pan and bake in the oven for one hour.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine the honey, apple cider, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Whisk. Reserve.

After the roast has been in the oven for an hour, turn the heat up to 450°. Open the oven door, and without removing the lamb from the oven, brush a thick layer of the honey glaze over the top of the roast. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, brushing a layer of honey glaze every five minutes. Check for doneness. A meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the roast should read 140° for medium rare.

Remove the meat from the butcher’s twine and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Apples and Lentils

  • 2 cups petite green or brown lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups peeled and finely diced apples
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

In a small pot, add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until lentils are cooked but still have a little bite to them. Drain and set aside. In a large sauté pan, add the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for four minutes. Add the diced apples, mustard, parsley, mint, paprika, salt and pepper. Sauté for two minutes until everything is thoroughly combined. Add the cooked lentils and mix together. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve family style with a platter of the sliced roast leg of lamb served over a bed of lentils. Spoon the pan drippings in the roasting pan over the lamb and serve immediately.

Chocolate and Spearmint Pudding with Caramel Popcorn and Eggnog Whipped Cream

The Chocolate and Spearmint Pudding with Caramel Popcorn and Eggnog Whipped Cream served at 610 Magnolia. Dec. 6, 2018 (Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal)

  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 ounces 65 percent chocolate
  • 3 egg yolks

Eggnog Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon rum
  • 4 tablespoons eggnog

Whip together all the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine the heavy cream, milk, vanilla and three tablespoons of sugar in a small pot. Warm over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Do not let it boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat.

Chop the chocolate and transfer to a large bowl that has been sitting out at room temperature. Using a whisk, slowly add the hot cream mixture to the bowl of chocolate and whisk to combine. The chocolate will melt and you should have a soft, silky bowl of melted chocolate.

Whisk the egg yolks and remaining two tablespoons of sugar together in a separate bowl.

Add this to the melted chocolate mixture and continue to whisk to get a smooth texture. Divide the mixture into four ramekins or coffee cups.

Put the ramekins in a roasting pan and fill with warm water one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes. They should be set, but jiggle ever so slightly. Remove ramekins from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Right before serving, make the eggnog whipped cream. Garnish with the caramel popcorn. Sprinkle with chopped candy canes. Serve immediately.


How this Louisville-Based Initiative is Supporting Restaurant Workers

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Photo by Sara Babcock Sarandipity

The James Beard Foundation is committed to supporting women in the food and beverage industry, from chefs and restaurateurs to entrepreneurs dreaming up new ways to make our food system more diverse, delicious, and sustainable. Our Women&rsquos Leadership Programs (WLP), presented by Audi, provide training at multiple stages of an individual&rsquos career. As part of the Foundation&rsquos commitment to advancing women in the industry and the Audi #DriveProgress initiative, we&rsquore sharing stories of trailblazers who have stepped up to help their communities in light of COVID-19, as well as individuals who are putting inclusion and equity at the forefront of building back better. Through #DriveProgress, Audi is committed to cultivating and promoting a culture that enables women to achieve their highest potential by removing barriers to equity, inclusivity, growth, and development.

Below, Rebecca Treon spoke with co-founder of the LEE Initiative Lindsey Ofcacek about the organization&rsquos efforts to provide stability during the pandemic and beyond.

In 2017, Lindsey Ofcacek was working alongside chef Edward Lee as the general manager and wine director at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky. But as the #MeToo movement swept across the nation, the duo decided to create a nonprofit that would address issues of equality and diversity in the restaurant industry&mdashthe LEE Initiative.

&ldquoWhen the #MeToo movement was hitting hard, it ended up with chef Lee and I having a lot of conversations about our personal experiences, and in the end, what we could do to help,&rdquo said Ofcacek.

Founded in 2018, the LEE (Let&rsquos Empower Employment) Initiative set out to uplift women in the industry, partnering up-and-coming chefs with established mentors. Participants would spend at least a week working in their mentor&rsquos kitchens, could contact their mentors whenever needed, and had their salaries paid so that continuing their education was not cost-prohibitive.

&ldquoWe took on five women each year and paired them with mentors across the country. [The mentors] were women who had risen the ranks from line cooks to chef/owners to James Beard Award-winning chefs and authors of cookbooks&mdashreally incredible partners,&rdquo says Ofcacek.

The program&rsquos benefits proved far-reaching: &ldquoThey built these strong relationships with their mentors and the other women in the program it was a way to build their community.&rdquo

But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the needs of the industry shifted dramatically, necessitating direct aid to those hardest hit. With restaurants suddenly closed, the LEE Initiative quickly focused on feeding industry workers by opening community kitchens across the country through their Restaurant Workers Relief Program. With their partners at Maker&rsquos Mark, they started a community kitchen at 610 Magnolia and soon expanded to Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and beyond.

&ldquoWe opened the day after restaurants closed and 300 people showed up to pick up meals,&rdquo says Ofcacek. &ldquoWe also had a grocery store stocked with everything from formula and diapers to paper towels.&rdquo

With help from their partners, the LEE Initiative facilitated the opening of 20 relief kitchens across the country in just two weeks. &ldquoWhen I say that chef Lee and I were sleeping in shifts, I&rsquom not kidding,&rdquo says Ofcacek. &ldquoWe had incredible partners, or we could never have done it. There was a huge hunger crisis that was about to happen.&rdquo Chefs in each city helped the kitchens open while the LEE Initiative sent cash infusions to the restaurants so they could keep staff. Ofcacek initially anticipated staying open for three to four weeks, which turned into three to four months. In total, the Lee Initiative sent out $1.4 million to independent restaurants to keep their staff employed and feeding people. To date, relief kitchens in New York and San Francisco are still operating.

To supplement the supply chain, Ofcacek and Lee created the Restaurant Reboot Relief Program, purchasing $1 million dollars of product from small farms and donating it to restaurants that needed assistance during their reopening. &ldquoWhat a lot of restaurants were concerned about was how quickly the supply chain had broken,&rdquo says Ofcacek. &ldquoOne of the things that sets independent restaurants apart is products they use, supporting the farmers that are part of their community.&rdquo The program allowed small farms to avoid selling to large national distributors and restaurants to continue their commitment to sustainability. Audi stepped in, providing a fleet of vehicles to transport the goods.

The LEE Initiative continued to create programs as the need arose. In May 2020, when the country saw waves of protests against police brutality in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, Louisville experienced another loss. David McAtee, a local barbecue chef known for community involvement, was shot and killed by the National Guard. To honor McActee&rsquos legacy, the McAtee Training and Community Kitchen was established at Lee&rsquos restaurant, Milkwood, located just blocks from McAtee&rsquos business, YaYa&rsquos BBQ. The kitchen offers would-be chefs ages 18 to 23 an internship program to learn about the restaurant business. The program&mdashspearheaded by local Louisville chef Nikkia Rhodes, who got her start at Milkwood&mdashalso produces hundreds of meals that are served at local community centers.

The LEE Initiative has had a profound impact on the restaurant industry, but it&rsquos not done yet. &ldquoWe&rsquore trying to look to the future. We feel like we can see the end of the pandemic insight. So now it&rsquos time for us to focus on rebuilding our industry,&rdquo says Ofcacek. &ldquoNow that the whole thing has been burnt to the ground, we might as well rebuild with more sustainable practices and create an industry that we&rsquore proud of.&rdquo

Rebecca Treon is a Denver-based freelance food and travel writer whose work has taken her around the globe. Her work has appeared in publications like BBC Travel, Hemispheres, Huff Post, and Tasting Table. Follow her on Instagram at @RebeccaTreon.

The JBF Women&rsquos Leadership Programs are presented by Audi, with visionary support from KitchenAid, GrubHub, and Edens and sustaining support from Enroot.


The Food-Obsessed World of Edward Lee

A native New Yorker turned Louisville culinary ambassador, chef Edward Lee stars in the brand new third season of Mind of a Chef—the Emmy-winning PBS series, narrated by executive producer Anthony Bourdain, that delves deep into the inspirations and philosophies of renowned chefs. Lee’s brilliant cooking at his acclaimed 610 Magnolia has landed him nominations for Best Chef: Southeast from the James Beard Foundation for the past four years. He’s also been on Top Chef and Iron Chef, published a bold cookbook Smoke & Pickles, and developed a signature small batch bourbon with Jefferson’s Reserve called Chef’s Collaboration Blend. His latest venture is MilkWood, a more casual restaurant in Louisville’s Actor’s Theater that looks at traditional Southern comfort food through an Asian lens. We talk with Lee about his mind-blowing discoveries on Mind of a Chef, filming in Argentina and the Southern food renaissance.

AndrewZimmern.com: For those that haven’t seen it, what is Mind of a Chef about and why is it appealing for you?

Edward Lee: It’s a show that delves deep into the influences and inspirations of a chef, edited into eight 30 minute episodes. It’s collaborative in every sense of the word and that’s a dream come true. I got to work with a badass tight knit crew that I have the utmost respect for. We would literally get up each morning and figure out how the day would unfold together. It was exhilarating to be a part of that process.

AZ.com: Beyond your restaurants in Kentucky, where did you travel to film this season? How did you decide on these destinations?

EL: NYC, Houston and Argentina. NYC is my roots so that was an obvious one. Houston is a really complex place. Like Louisville, it straddles several worlds, from the Southern identity to an immigrant frontier culture to a Gulf Coast port city. Those identities create tension and beauty and some damn interesting food. Argentina was a dream for me. I’m always seduced by cooking with fire, from the coal cooking of Korean BBQ to the smokehouses of the American South to the open fire cooking that is the national cuisine of Argentina. It’s a very ancient form of cooking and I wanted to see how their techniques differ from the forms of fire cooking that I’m more familiar with. Plus, I’d never been to Argentina so that was fun.

AZ.com: In the trailer for this season you say: “I’m not looking for a recipe, I’m not looking to be an anthropologist, I’m just looking for something I know I haven’t eaten before and I know I haven’t seen before.” What did you find?

EL: I found out how easy it is to blow my mind. I saw and tasted so many things that I didn’t think would be new to me and yet I found myself constantly in awe and scratching my head at the same time. I have made and eaten red-eye gravy hundreds of times with varying degrees of adoration for it. All of a sudden Ashley Christensen comes into my kitchen and rocks out a version that tasted stunningly new and fresh and yet traditional at the same time. Sometimes we look under every rock and stone for the stuff that will surprise us when it can exist right at our feet the whole time.

AZ.com: What kind of new techniques or ingredients did you discover along the way that you’re excited to utilize in your restaurants?

EL: I’m always taken by the subtle things that make a world of difference in one’s cooking. In Argentina, I was surprised (and a bit incredulous) that Francis [Mallmann] would cook a whole lamb over an open fire without pre-salting the meat. We are always taught to salt and cure meats before beginning a low and slow cooking technique. But instead he made this saline water solution and with his cupped hand, would occasionally throw a fistful of it at the meat. It seemed completely counter-intuitive to everything I had ever learned. But it kept the meat moist and when the excess water hit the pit of open fire, the hissing coals told me that he was also regulating the heat of the fire this way. It was so primitive yet really brilliant. And the meat was the best lamb I’d ever had. So there. I learned something new. I may never cook lamb that way in my restaurant, but it definitely gives me a reason to pause and rethink the basic rules of how and when we salt our meats. That’s exciting to me.

AZ.com: How do the last few years look in the rear view mirror? Awards, more TV, more restaurants. You’ve been busy!

EL: Yeah, it’s been pretty non-stop. Like they always say, be careful what you wish for. I haven’t slept right in about two years but that’s a wonderful thing really, to be so exhausted because you’re doing the thing you love the most. I can’t really think of a better reason to lose sleep over. I can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been to have the community of chefs and personalities around me that are all dedicated to this notion of a meaningful food culture – and it has become so diverse now that it seems everyone’s on their own arc, creating this dense literature of food that is getting richer by the day. We are truly fortunate to be living and working in this tremendous discipline at this point in history.

AZ.com: Did your experience on Mind of a Chef change your goal setting for the next few years?

EL: Change is a big word, goal setting is an even bigger word. I tend to shy away from those things. If I had set upon a specific goal 10 years ago, I probably would not have ended up in Kentucky. But it has made me a different person. You can’t go through a process like this and come out the other end unchanged. I see things a bit more clearly, I appreciate my peers more than I ever did before, I realize how important it is to be a part of a community of chefs. I’m not much changed but I am more focused.

AZ.com: What’s so appealing about the foods of the Southeastern United States? There doesn’t seem to be any end to our fascination with them.

EL: There are so many things that had to happen simultaneously that led to this Southern Foodways renaissance, that if you step back for a moment to appreciate it, it seems like magic. You had to have this complicated history percolating underneath years of neglect, you had to have thinkers and writers, everyone from John Egerton to Ronni Lundy to John T. Edge to Virginia Willis and many many others who persisted in telling this multi-layered narrative about the lost foodways of the South. You had to have this intricate network of chefs, some born-and-bred in the South but many who were not, who decided (seemingly independently) that it was high time to celebrate the ingredients and traditions of their region, from Cajun culture to Appalachia to the Delta to the coastal shores and beyond. You needed visionaries like Glenn Roberts, you needed a Blackberry Farm. You needed cookbook authors who were willing to take a risk, you needed a galvanizing organization like the Southern Foodways Alliance to wrap its long arms around you like an endless hug. You needed farms to erupt and pigs to take center stage. You needed this little ole drink called bourbon to spread its healing powers over a thirsty community of southerners who would revive its popularity for a new generation of trenchermen. This is the appeal. We’re not looking at a relic through a magnifying glass. We are witnessing history as it happens around us. That is amazing stuff. Who wouldn’t be fascinated by it?

AZ.com: Name three young chefs working in your part of the world who diners should keep an eye on.

EL: Travis Milton in Richmond, Lisa Donovan in Nashville, Ryan Smith in Atlanta. They will do amazing things I’m sure.

AZ.com: What are the best three things you have eaten in last two weeks?

EL: I just returned from an intense road trip with my good friend Ronni Lundy through the eastern ridge of the Appalachian Mountains so it’s very fresh on my mind. Two things stood out: an incredible Chili Slaw Dog at Skeeter’s in Wytheville and the most unctuous pecan pie at The Beverley in Staunton, both in Virginia. Before that, I happened to be in Fennville, Michigan blending apple cider with Greg Hall and we drove through one of the orchards he gets his apples from. I picked a slightly under-ripe honey crisp from the tree and bit into it. Maybe it was because I was standing in that beautiful orchard or the sun was that perfect temperature that only happens once or twice all summer but it was one of the best darn apples I’d ever had in my life.

Watch a preview for Mind of a Chef Season 3:

About Edward Lee

One part Southern soul, one part Asian spice, and one part New York attitude, Chef Edward Lee 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 Southern-cuisine eminence began in 2001 on a road trip to Louisville during the Kentucky Derby. He discovered a local gem of a restaurant called 610 Magnolia and spent the evenings cooking in the kitchen. He fell in love with his surroundings and within a year, he moved his life from NYC to Louisville, and into the dialogue of 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, 2013 and 2014. He has been featured in Esquire, Bon Appétit, GQ, Gourmet among many other publications won on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” was a favorite on “Top Chef: Texas, Season 9” and has appeared on shows ranging from Cooking Channel’s “Foodography,” Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” to CBS’s “The Talk.” He will be the featured chef in Season 3 of Mind of a Chef to air on PBS in fall, 2014.

Lee’s career extends to writing credits as well, with articles published in Gastronomica, Esquire, Organic Gardening and many other journals. Lee’s self-authored cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, (Artisan Books, May 2013) chronicles his unconventional journey from the kitchens of Brooklyn to becoming a lauded Southern chef.

In addition to 610 Magnolia, Lee operates a special events dining room called The Wine Studio, which features cooking classes, wine tastings and guest chef dinners. MilkWood is Chef Lee’s newest venture. Located in the basement of the locally revered Actor’s Theater in downtown Louisville, MilkWood interprets the traditions of Southern comfort food with an Asian pantry. The menu features small plates and smoked meats, all personalized and creative versions of familiar classics in addition to an array of bourbon cocktails.

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 is also working with a Korean company to launch an organic fermented Korean hot sauce in spring of 2015.

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.


I’m Afraid It’s Too Late to Save Restaurants

Empty tables stand at a covered outdoor area at a cafe in Brooklyn. With coronavirus cases on the rise again in New York, the city is tightening restrictions on restaurants. Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images

When Louisville chef Edward Lee was forced to close the doors to his restaurants—610 Magnolia, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as Succotash in Washington. D.C.—due to Coronavirus, he shifted his focus to helping restaurant workers in need. His small nonprofit, The LEE Initiative, launched the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, serving more than a million meals to industry employees across the country who lost their jobs or had a significant reduction in hours due to the pandemic. The nonprofit has also invested more than $800,000 in small sustainable farms among other initiatives. We talked to him about the struggles the industry faces right now, and what it’s like to run a thriving nonprofit as your own businesses falter.

“This is the end of the independent restaurant era, and I don’t know any chef in their right mind who feels hopeful right now. We have meal kits we’re getting tents and heaters. But at the end of the day, I’m on the Titanic, trying to throw out buckets of water to stay afloat. I’m fighting to save my restaurants and chefs and farmers whom we’ve had relationships with for decades. But part of me is very pragmatic. We’re not getting a bailout from the federal government and we’re not getting leadership—state, federal, even local. We’ve been left to our own devices.

The options for restaurants right now are to go further into debt or to close. If we make 80 percent of our income now, that’s a great day. It’s like a Saturday night with all the tables booked. But then there are days when we’ve done 15 percent of our normal revenue. Those are days where it’s actually cheaper for me to keep the lights off and close the doors.

It’s the fluctuations that really hurt us. We rely on patterns and predictability for inventory, for staffing, for everything. Now we don’t have a clue. Some of it is COVID-related some of it is related to the protests and some of it related to consumer fears about eating out at restaurants. Sometimes it’s just a viral article on Facebook that affects consumer confidence. 610 Magnolia has weathered recessions. Revenue-wise, last year was our best year ever. And we were on pace to beat that in 2020. There’s cold comfort in knowing an entire wave of restaurants will have to close.

Chef and restauranteur Edward Lee.

I devote most of my time now to my nonprofit, The LEE Initiative and the Restaurant Workers Relief Program it’s the only thing keeping me focused, hopeful, and proud. It’s very odd to have one sector of my life be incredibly successful: We’ve served over a million meals to date and opened more than 30 relief kitchens around the country. Yet I’m seeing the other sector of my life crumble before my eyes. It’s an emotional roller coaster—like watching one of your children soar while the other dies in your arms. I feel great sometimes. Then I feel guilty about feeling great. It’s hard to navigate.

We’re trying our best to keep everyone hopeful, but at the end of the day, it feels like piling sandbags against the tsunami. For every effort we do, it just doesn’t stand a chance against the economic backdrop of what restaurants are going to face this winter. And what we’re seeing now is people who are basically considered middle class—who’ve worked their whole lives and never been on welfare—are suddenly food insecure. That is a whole new demographic that didn’t exist before. Some are too proud, or too ashamed, to admit that they’re food insecure. These are people I know: bartenders, waiters, dishwashers, line cooks.

Unfortunately for restaurant people, our skill set doesn’t translate well to other industries. We’re hyper-focused on one thing: hospitality. And when the industry crumbles, you have an entire population of people not equipped to do other jobs. I’ve devoted 29 years of my life to this I can’t just go sell neckties or insurance. Yet the people in power don’t see that. They don’t see restaurant workers as a valuable sector of our society. Their attitudes are, ‘Well, they can go find other jobs.’ That’s just not the case.

We’re trying our best to keep everyone hopeful, but at the end of the day, it feels like piling sandbags against the tsunami.

There’s a huge feeling of abandonment. You devote your life to the restaurant business, you pay your taxes, and then you realize there’s no help coming from anywhere. People are suffering through a deep, deep depression. And the last thing you want in the restaurant business is for your restaurant owner, chef, GM, or waiter to be depressed, right? The whole point of the hospitality industry is for you to come to my restaurant and forget about your depression. We’re the ones who supply the entertainment our positive energy is contagious. It makes you feel great to be in a restaurant full of people who execute their jobs with passion and joy.

We’re not professional actors. Everyone’s on the edge of emotional breakdown. It’s heartbreaking to watch dedicated young men and women who’ve honed a craft and made this beautiful thing we call ‘the restaurant renaissance,’ which brought pride and global attention to ‘American cuisine’ and two decades ago didn’t even exist, you know…making $8 cheeseburgers to-go just to make payroll.

But that’s where we’re at. Yet you drive by the local McDonald’s and there are 20 cars lined up for drive-through. It breaks your heart to see that, and to know that by the time all of the independent restaurants go away, it’ll be too late. The customers will say, ‘What a shame.’ The chance to save them is right now.

Old-timers like me can’t pivot I am stuck in what I’m doing. But there are a lot of diverse younger people—so many Black and Latino and Indian chefs who are just starting out—saying, ‘Wait a second, maybe this isn’t the career for me.’ They have the creative energy and the verve and the youthful exuberance that the restaurant industry needs. If we lose them, I don’t see an industry that has anything to offer.

The shell of the restaurant may survive, but the beautiful energy inside may not. If the people are not there, or the people are depressed because they feel like no one cared about them during the pandemic, they’re not going to bring the same passion and energy and joy to it when they come back. It’s just a job—no difference between that and working at a chain restaurant. That, to me, will represent the end of the independent restaurant. We’ll see. I desperately hope I’m wrong.”

We’ve been following how the restaurant industry has been coping with the Coronavirus throughout the year. For more reflections from the people on the inside, read our Restaurant Diaries series.


A History of Quick Pivots, and Helping His Community

The organization came into being almost by accident, in an attempt to keep Lee’s then-manager Lindsey Ofcacek on his team. “She came up to me one day and she said, ‘I have to quit,’” Lee recalls, “and I said, ‘Why? You’re a great manager.’ She said, ‘I have two young kids — I can’t do this anymore. I need evenings off.’” None of the restaurants had lunch shifts for him to switch her to, so he asked what else she could do for his restaurant group. They soon merged Ofcacek’s background in philanthropy and Lee’s ideas for a nonprofit, and The LEE Initiative was born.

Initially, The LEE Initiative addressed gender inequality, starting with a leadership program for female chefs in Kentucky, in response to the Me Too Movement, that has already proven successful. “We’re proud to say that of the 15 people that have graduated,” Lee says of the three-year-old program, “three are already head chefs, and one’s created a culinary program at a local public high school here. Everyone’s doing remarkably well.”

Lee himself isn’t immune to the chaos of an uncertain industry, though. Just before the pandemic, he ran five restaurants across Kentucky, Maryland, and D.C., and he admits: “We’ll see how many are left after this winter.” But he continues to advocate for the industry as a whole, chalking up his resilience to the nature of the industry itself. “We all have dealt in minor catastrophes: the plumbing goes out, the electricity goes out, the oven blows out, your dishwasher doesn’t show up, we’ve all dealt with this in our careers,” he says. “And so we know how to just deal with obstacles.”

Four years ago, Lee took an opportunity to direct the menu at Succotash, a Southern restaurant by the bustling National Harbor in Maryland. After more than a decade of being a star restaurateur in Kentucky, he was ready for something different, noting: “I’ve always wanted to venture outside of Louisville, but as a New Yorker, in my heart, I knew I wasn’t ready to go back to New York.” His reasoning: high rents, tight regulations, and fierce competition.

Succotash’s Harbor location was followed by Succotash Penn Square in D.C., and Lee relocated his family to the area, too. Both locations specialize in comforting standbys like fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese spread, and shrimp and grits, but a smattering of Korean ingredients like gochujang, seaweed, and kimchi let you know this isn’t your typical Southern kitchen.

Typically, restaurants in D.C. and Baltimore are better known for their global range than Southern affiliations. “D.C. is one of the most international cities in terms of its cuisine,” Lee says. “What’s different is that you have very sophisticated representations of the ethnic food as well. It’s not just mom and pop hole-in-the-wall-style places. I think D.C., more than any other city in the world maybe, does that really well.”

Courtesy of Chef Edward Lee


Chef Edward Lee dumps Coke in favor of 'artisanal' soda at Louisville restaurants

Purna Veer sees a need for locally grown hops to sell to all the local craft breweries that have spprouted up in the area. He is starting Veering Creek Farm to produce the hops and use the farm as an events venue.

Chef Edward Lee (Photo: File Photo)

If you think you'll have a Coke the next time you go to MilkWood or 610 Magnolia, think again.

Chef Edward Lee has dropped the monolith soda company at his Louisville restaurants in favor of smaller or artisanal sodas. The move comes after looking his menu up and down and finding that Coke was the only ingredient he didn't agree with.

“Why do we take all this time to source out the best ingredients, the best wine, the best whiskey, and when it comes it comes to soda we just say, 'oh, we'll serve Coke?' he said. "We've been thinking about it for a long time and it just never made sense to me."

Reading Marion Nestle's book "Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)" “really changed a lot of how I look at stuff,” Lee said.

It was time to rethink soda.

Serving a mass commercial soft drink like Coke is the default for restaurants for good reason.

“One of the things Coke does that's enticing is they buy you a lot of equipment, free cups, disposable lids,” Lee said. This is particularly critical to small places, “especially mom and pop startups where every dime counts."

And it's affordable. When he took a look at his Coke bill for the first time in years, he said, “I was like, 'wow it's really cheap,' so cheap I questioned what's in it. It was an eye-opener.”

“I wouldn't spend my hard earned cash from customers and buy commodity hormone-fed beef,” he goes on. “And yet I have been taking that hard earned money and buying soda pumped up with tons of sodium, sugar and chemicals.”

So that was it. Coke was out at 610 Magnolia and MilkWood – and won't be on the menu at upcoming Whiskey Dry on 4th St.

“I'm not a health advocate, I don't do health food,” he said, “but I do care about what people are pairing with their food and if a can of Coke has double the sugar and three times the sodium, you're not going to taste my food.

"If they're going to drink a soda,” he reasoned, “you may as well drink a good one.”

Lee is not the first restaurateur to ban the product from a Louisville hot spot.

The Mayan Cafe, 813 E. Market St., dropped Coke products from its menu a few years ago.

“The folks from Coke . kept saying, 'we're sorry you're going out of business,'" said Anne Shadle, general manager of Mayan Cafe. “To which I would say, 'We're not. We are busier than ever.' But they kept saying the line about us going out of business. I guess they just couldn't understand that we were doing well but didn't want/need Coke in that process.”

In fact, ditching Coke “was one of the most fun things we did here,” she said. For them, the move aligned their beverage program with the restaurant's overall sustainability efforts.

Instead, they added a line-up of house-made juices, teas and a grapefruit soda to the menu. Even when diners ask for a soda, after staff explains, “the push-back has been essentially non-existent,” Shadle said.

Lee tasked the Stacie Stewart, who manages the bar program, to look at other options for his restaurants.

“She did all this research and said there's no reason we need Coca-Cola. I didn't realize how much small craft soda is out there,” Lee said.

Diners will find Kentucky ginger soda Ale-8-One, Nehi, Boylan and Cheerwine on the menu. Prices will remain the same Lee is absorbing the cost difference (which is significant).

It also takes a lot more work, he said, “sourcing from four sources. We're doing it because we really believe in it.”

But he's not too caught up in the financial setback new pairings at the bar, where margins are better, help offset that loss. Ale-8 and bourbon is a popular new offering, he said.

In fact, “Ale-8 makes everything better and brighter,” said Stewart, “from lemonade to rye whiskey to a trendy Moscow Mule.”

But what about the folks who just want their usual Coke how have diners responded?

Nobody's walked out yet, Lee said.

When someone asks for, say, a diet Coke, “we have the script,” he added. “As a restaurant that believes in responsible sourcing of ingredients, we don't agree with ingredients and politics of big soda companies. We choose to highlight smaller more regional sodas.”

There's a level of trust between the customer and the owner, he said. “If you come to my restaurant and you respect what we do overall, this is a small part of it.”

In fact, imagine how much care must go into the rest of their menu “if we're willing to go this far on a limb with our soda.”


Chef Edward Lee emphasizes home cooks

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Chef Edward Lee of Milkwood Restaurant on Main Street and 610 Magnolia at 610 Magnolia Ave. (Photo: By Pat McDonogh, The Courier-Journal) Buy Photo

Edward Lee has appeared on CBS' "The Early Show," NBC's "Today Show," "Iron Chef America" and "The Mind of a Chef." He has been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and GQ magazines. His book, "Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchens," is in its fifth printing.

"I don't know if it has all been part of a master plan. I have always been very ambitious and I'm a workaholic. But I don't look or think in terms of a big picture. I sort of prod along and try to conquer small goals. I'm like a donkey with blinders on. When the big picture comes, it's cool," says Lee, the owner and chef of 610 Magnolia, in Old Louisville, and MilkWood, at Actor's Theater.

He is planning to open Succotash, a restaurant in the National Harbor area of Prince George's County, Md., just south of Washington, D.C. "It's a huge project. Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. It will test me in ways I haven't been tested before. I'm doing it because I want to get my message across to people outside of Louisville," he says.

Also in development is a nonprofit restaurant in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood. He says it's his passion project and regards it as the most important project he'll do in his lifetime.

Lee's bond with home cooks is the reason he wrote his book to be practical and cook-friendly. "You don't have to go to culinary school to be a good cook. All you need are passion, a source for good ingredients, patience and diligence. I have had some of the best meals in my life in people's homes. I learn from them all the time. I'm always picking the minds of old grandmas and home cooks because they're the keys to understanding good food," he says.

Have leftover turkey? We got recipes!

"As chefs, we don't cook as much as we create an assembly line that allows us to put out incredible food every night for 50, 200, sometimes 300 people. That requires a skill set that's about logistics. There's no magic powder. It takes a certain brain to function in that environment. But what I really want is for everyone to be more in tune with their own kitchen."

These recipes from MilkWood are easy enough to master with the all-important patience and diligence, and Chef Edward Lee on your side.


Watch the video: Chef Edward Lees Toad In The Hole Slider - Louisville. For The Love Of The Slider (May 2022).