Lara Lee

Londoner Lara Lee is an Indonesian-Australian chef, food writer, and co-founder of the events catering company Kiwi & Roo. The New York Times named her debut book Coconut & Sambal one of the best cookbooks of fall 2020. Lara contributes to The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Food52, Food & Wine, The Guardian, and Waitrose, among others.


Lara Lee's aspirations to dance professionally were sidelined by an injury. She spent a decade working in technology sales in London, never fully satisfied with her career. Lara began taking refuge in the kitchen, inspired by memories of dishes her Indonesian grandmother cooked back home in Australia. This led her to sell her creations at a street food stall. Fueled by the success of her side hustle, Lara saved up enough money to quit her corporate job, enroll in the prestigious Leith School, and start a catering business. While still in culinary school, she began developing her cookbook concept, submitting her book proposal about her heritage and Indonesian food as an entry for the Oxford Cultural Collective's Yan-Kit So Award, which funds research and travel to create original work about any aspect of Asian food. Lara didn't win, but she did get a literary agent. Seven months after graduation, she was signed by Bloomsbury Publishing.

In addition to her food writing, Lara operates a bustling event catering business serving fine Antipodean and Indonesian fare at such venues as the Natural History Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts to high-profile guests like the royal family and the Australian prime minister. She also runs monthly supper clubs at the Yurt Cafe in Limehouse.


Lara studied writing at Macquarie University in New South Wales where she graduated with a bachelor of media degree. She got her culinary training at Leiths School of Food & Wine in London, graduating with a diploma in food and wine.

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