During the span of a few days, Edward Lee will help prepare a state dinner at the White House for the visiting South Korean president, and open his much anticipated Nami Modern Korean Steakhouse in Butchertown.

It sounds like an exhausting, yet rewarding, week spent working in two very different kitchens. Darlene Superville has the story at the Associated Press, as relayed by the Courier Journal.

WASHINGTON — Chef Edward Lee says food, at its best, tells a story. And the story he wants told with the meal he’s whipping up for next week’s White House state dinner is of the deep connection between the United States and its ally South Korea.

President Joe Biden is hosting South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday for a state visit, including a glitzy state dinner, and the White House invited Lee, a Korean American chef and restaurateur, to help prepare the meal.

The chef elaborated in an interview with the AP.

He said any iconic American food, if spiked with a “little Korean flavor or Korean spice,” will still be familiar, but it will just be different and unique. Real food for thought, he said.

“Your mind becomes curious about more than just the flavors,” Lee said. “When food is at its best, it tells a story.”

The article provides a bullet point bio of Lee and covers curent events.

He has one restaurant, 610 Magnolia, in Louisville, and is weeks away from opening another. He lives part time in Washington, D.C., where he is culinary director for a third restaurant, Succotash. He won a James Beard Award for his book “Buttermilk Graffiti.”

As for the forthcoming Nami, Louisville tourism’s Roseanne Mastin says the restaurant is ready to open for Derby.

A hot reservation for the Kentucky Derby weekend will be Chef Edward Lee’s new restaurant, Nami at 835 East Main Street.

As the first restaurant coming from Lee that explores the cuisine of his heritage, and his first restaurant in his home city of Louisville in five years, Nami will feature classic Korean dishes alongside modern interpretations of the cuisine such as Korean BBQ, Bibimbap, Banchan, Mandu, and Pa Jun, as well as feature items like house-made Kimchi, and more.

Inside, guests can anticipate a space that features collaborative elements from local Kentucky artists that reflect Korean aesthetics. The lower level will house the main dining room, bar, and lounge, while upstairs guests will find dining tables that contain traditional Korean table grills, a private dining room, and a private karaoke room. Attached to the building is Neighbors Noodles, a take-out only noodle shop owned and operated by the same team that will open in the coming weeks.

The kitchen will be helmed by Executive Chef Breanna Baker and Consulting Chef Yeon-Hee Chung. Nami will open with dinner service and will launch lunch in the coming weeks.

Stacie Stewart will serve as General Manager and Director of Cocktails. The cocktails at Nami will feature ingredients and flavors that pay homage to Asian cuisine and will take notes from trends around the globe while still being unique and thoughtful. Drinks will be designed to pair with food but will be balanced and enjoyable on their own.

Reservations will open on Tuesday, April 25 on the online platform Resy.

The restaurant will have two levels, with the first floor holding the main dining room, bar and lounge and the upstairs featuring traditional Korean grill tables, a private dining room, and a private karaoke room. The space will include residential apartments and other retail space.

In addition to Nami, the building will boast another Edward Lee concept, Neighbors Noodles, a takeout-only noodle shop operated by the same team.

Previously at F&D, we previewed the prospective Nami phenomenon.

Chef Edward Lee’s Nami and Neighbors Noodles, coming in 2023