Chef Edward Lee
Chef Edward Lee

Edward Lee

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Restaurants: 610 Magnolia, MilkWood (Louisville, KY) Experience: Chez es Saada (New York City) What’s a dish that defines you as a chef? My fried chicken and waffles. It’s a Southern dish, but we cook it in a very Asian way. The chicken is poached first in a vinegar and soy sauce blend. Then it’s cooled, dredged in buttermilk and flour and deep-fried. Who taught you how to cook? My grandmother taught me how to appreciate food and that food was more than just sustenance. She made very old-school Korean dishes, fermented chile paste and kimchi from scratch, pickles and marinated vegetables. Even as a toddler, I always wanted to spend time in the kitchen watching her. What was the first dish you ever cooked by yourself? Both my parents worked and were rarely home for dinner, so my grandmother cooked, but only Korean food. I was craving American food, so I’d steal food magazines from the Laundromat and save my lunch money to go food shopping. The first magazine recipe I really remember making was a steak dinner with roasted potatoes and a rosemary rub. I was probably 11 or 12. What’s your favorite cookbook of all time? Marco Pierre White’s White Heat. It was the first cookbook to show the life of a chef outside of the food, and outside of what the public persona of a chef was back then, which was a classic French image of being very precise and a student of the arts. For my book (Smoke and Pickles), I really wanted to show who I am and what I do. I wanted to show everything, the flaws and the perfection. Is there a type of cooking that you wish you were better at? For me there’s a mystery around Jewish cooking. I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’d love to make an incredible knish one day. What’s your favorite value ingredient? A bag of pork rinds. I like to grind them up and use them anywhere you’d use bread crumbs: mac and cheese, shepherd’s pie, inside sandwiches or burgers. What’s your current food obsession? I am working with bhut jolokia peppers, the spiciest in the world. They’re grown in a little town in India, but people in America have started to grow them here. Where did you go on your last trip? I just got back from Vietnam. The street food is so cheap but also so diverse and so incredibly flavorful. I had a fish I’d never seen before, kind of like a lightly pickled herring in thin rice paper, with Thai basil, lettuce, very thin slices of pineapple and freshly grated coconut. The pineapple there is so different, incredibly musky, and the coconut is so fresh and has this sweetness to it. You can’t re-create that here, and that’s one of the reasons you travel. What’s your favorite store-bought ingredient? Red Boat fish sauce, which is really starting to take off. It takes just a few drops and it adds an entire new level of flavor. It’s as simple as adding a few drops to boiled ramen. What’s your dream restaurant project? I want to open a karaoke bar that only serves fried chicken. I have no talent for karaoke, but I do have an affinity for it.
"When a person is in need, politics goes out the window," says chef Edward Lee.
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“Anyone who loves a good burger has a soft spot for the Big Mac,” says chef Edward Lee, of Louisville’s Whiskey Dry. In his ode to the fast food classic, he swaps the middle bun for a crisp fried green tomato that absorbs all of the savory juices from the beef, melty cheese and sweet chile mayo. “More bread is just boring,” he says. “The fried tomato adds crunch and a mild acidity.” Slideshow: More Burger Recipes 
“I hate veggie burgers with a passion,” says chef Edward Lee, of Louisville’s Whiskey Dry. Instead of creating a ground patty of beans, grains and vegetables that replicates the look and texture of meat, Lee serves this gorgeous ratatouille-inspired “burger” of colorful roasted vegetables layered with melty cheese. “It looks like a slice of a rainbow,” he says. Slideshow: More Veggie Burger Recipes 
Instead of melting the cheddar on the burger, chef Edward Lee, of Louisville’s Whiskey Dry, likes to crisp the cheese slices in a skillet. “The best part of the burger is always that bit of cheese that melts down the side and crisps on the grate of the grill,” he says. “This way you get crunchy texture and savory caramelization in every bite.”Slideshow: More Burger Recipes
Kimchi Pork Burgers
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Korean American chef Edward Lee, of Whiskey Dry in Louisville, was inspired by the classic Korean pairing of pork and spicy fermented kimchi when he created this crunchy, pork-rind-topped burger. “The buttermilk sauce brings it all together and cools down the heat,” he says. Slideshow: More Burger Recipes 
"This is like a bacon cheeseburger that went to heaven," says chef Edward Lee of Whiskey Dry in Louisville. The pimiento cheese and sweet bacon jam both melt into one dreamy, messy bite—this is not a burger for the faint of palate. Save any leftover spreads for an out-of-this-world grilled cheese sandwich. Slideshow: More Burger Recipes 
Chef Edward Lee loves hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving overlooked Asian cuisines. Here are three of his favorites, with his versions of their specialties.
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Gochujang Chili-Cheese Nachos
Rating: Unrated
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Edward Lee—the Korean American chef of Louisville’s 610 Magnolia and MilkWood and author of the cookbook Smoke and Pickles—has long known what the rest of the country is just learning: Sweet-spicy-funky gochujang makes just about everything better. Here, he uses the Korean pantry staple in his beer-braised, chipotle-spiced beef chili and also mixes it into sour cream for extra umami and flavor. To make the nachos, he drapes the chile and creamy dip over tortilla chips, then adds crumbled cotija cheese and slices of fresh serrano peppers. “I eat nachos only a few times a year, so when I do, I want to make sure it’s worth it,” says Lee. “This recipe is not for the timid. It requires a long night, beers, whiskey and loud music.” Reprinted from ¡Buenos Nachos! by Gina Hamadey. Copyright © 2016 by W&P Design. Published by Dovetail (www.dovetail.press)
Salads get a bad rap because people think, ‘Ugh, it’s just lettuce and dressing,’ ” says chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky. “But salads can be a mix of sweet and savory ingredients, like corn and blueberries.” Lee makes this salad once a week in the summer when corn and berries are at their peak. Slideshow: More Salad RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners
Chef Edward Lee loves hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving overlooked Asian cuisines. Here are three of his favorites, with his versions of their specialties.
Gochujang Chili-Cheese Nachos
Rating: Unrated
New!
Edward Lee—the Korean American chef of Louisville’s 610 Magnolia and MilkWood and author of the cookbook Smoke and Pickles—has long known what the rest of the country is just learning: Sweet-spicy-funky gochujang makes just about everything better. Here, he uses the Korean pantry staple in his beer-braised, chipotle-spiced beef chili and also mixes it into sour cream for extra umami and flavor. To make the nachos, he drapes the chile and creamy dip over tortilla chips, then adds crumbled cotija cheese and slices of fresh serrano peppers. “I eat nachos only a few times a year, so when I do, I want to make sure it’s worth it,” says Lee. “This recipe is not for the timid. It requires a long night, beers, whiskey and loud music.” Reprinted from ¡Buenos Nachos! by Gina Hamadey. Copyright © 2016 by W&P Design. Published by Dovetail (www.dovetail.press)
Salads get a bad rap because people think, ‘Ugh, it’s just lettuce and dressing,’ ” says chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky. “But salads can be a mix of sweet and savory ingredients, like corn and blueberries.” Lee makes this salad once a week in the summer when corn and berries are at their peak. Slideshow: More Salad RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners
Edward Lee, chef at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, is an Asian-flavor investigator: He seeks out different Asian cuisines to inspire his own recipes, like this quick and fiery Thai-inspired curry served over a bowl of shredded greens. “The crisp freshness is delicious with the richness of the curry,” he says. For even more crunch, Lee adds roasted cashews. Slideshow:  Quick Fish RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners
Making restaurant-style ramen takes days. A quick cheat is to add instant ramen noodles to chicken broth enriched with smoky country ham. Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, likes springy Neoguri noodles, a type of Korean instant ramen that can be found at Asian markets. Slideshow:  More Pork RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners
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Turmeric Chicken and Rice
Rating: Unrated
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"This is a simple one-pot chicken-and-rice dish, but the turmeric adds color, spice and flavor," Edward Lee says. "That makes it a winner in my house." He recommends using a whole organic chicken so you know exactly where the bird came from and serving the dish family-style. Plus:  More Chicken Recipes 
Boldly flavored and nicely spiced, these Cambodia-inspired wings require a pile of napkins for the delicious red curry coconut sauce. Slideshow:  More Chicken Wing Recipes 
Traditional kinilaw, the Filipino version of ceviche, uses vinegar and fresh citrus to "cook" the fish. Here, chef Edward Lee swaps in cooked shrimp. Slideshow:  Ceviche Recipes 
This sweet, spicy and tangy Indonesian peanut sauce is great with everything from warm noodles to shrimp to beef or chicken satay. Slideshow:  More Southeast Asian Recipes 
Chef Edward Lee creates an unusual dressing here, made with unsweetened coconut milk and fresh lemon juice. It's deliciously sweet and tangy. Slideshow:  More Pea Recipes 
“I love food that makes noise,” says Edward Lee, chef and owner of Louisville, Kentucky’s 610 Magnolia and the Wine Studio. When F&W challenged the Top Chef Season 9 contestant to make a fast dish with pork, kale and white wine, he created a deeply flavorful soup, then added crumbled rice cakes that crackle as they hit the broth. The dish is based on one he likes from a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese spot in Manhattan’s Chinatown. “They make a big deal out of adding the rice, so you can celebrate the sizzling sound,” Lee says. Slideshow: Delicious Pork Soups and Stews