Communal Table Podcast: Edward Lee Feeds the People

Chef Edward Lee turned his restaurant 610 Magnolia into a relief center for laid-off hospitality workers and organized similar efforts across the country. Here's what keeps him going.

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter. Subscribe to the new Communal Table YouTube page and never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 63: Edward Lee Feeds the People

Louisville-based chef Edward Lee is the kind of person who sees a community in crisis and doesn't think twice—he steps in and figures out a way to keep people fed. When the government furloughed workers, he rallied the people around him to make meals for those who were suddenly without a paycheck. Through his charity, The LEE Initiative, he's set up mentorship and education programs for women and young people interested in the culinary arts. Now as the coronavirus pandemic shutters restaurants across the country, with the help of Maker's Mark, Lee quickly pivoted to turn his restaurant 610 Magnolia—and restaurants across the country—into relief centers for laid-off hospitality workers. Running on very little sleep, Lee spoke with Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman about what the Restaurant Workers Relief Program looks like on the ground, and his hope for the future of restaurants.

Note: Because the podcast had to be recorded in a less than ideal setup, the sound quality may not be as crisp as usual. We're all doing our best.

Links and Resources

About: The LEE Initiative's Restaurant Workers Relief Program

About: The Independent Restaurant Coalition

Read: The F&W Pro Guide to Coronavirus: What Restaurants Should Know

Read: More Compassion, Less Yelling

If you like what you hear, subscribe to, comment on, and rate Communal Table on these platforms or wherever you get your podcasts:




Player FM



Previous episode: A real estate veteran explains what to do if the rent is due and you don't have any income, and what help might be ahead.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles