But his first book, Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories From a New Southern Kitchen, established him as a distinctive authorial voice in U.S. cookery. And in April, his second book, the exploratory Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine was honored with a James Beard Foundation Book Award in the prestigious Writing Category.
Writing for Mark Bittman’s new online food magazine Heated, Chef Lee recently penned an incisive essay that defends the importance of professional criticism but argues that our increasing diverse culinary culture calls for equally diverse journalism.
His tagline is telling: “For those of us who cook from a culture that is outside the European vernacular, we may own our recipes, but we never owned the words that described our foods. And it’s time we did.”