Chef Edward Lee’s story and his food could only happen in The united states. Raised in Brooklyn by a circle of relatives of Korean immigrants, he ultimately settled down in his adopted homeland of Louisville, Kentucky, where he owns the acclaimed restaurant 610 Magnolia. A more than one James Beard Award nominee for his unique patchwork cuisine, Edward creates recipes–filled with pickling, fermenting, frying, curing, and smoking–that reflect the overlapping flavors and techniques that led this Korean-American boy to feel right at home in the South. Dishes like Chicken-Fried Pork Steak with Ramen Crust and Buttermilk Pepper Gravy; Collards and Kimchi; Braised Beef Kalbi with Soft Grits and Scallions; and Miso-Smothered Chicken all share a place on his table. Born with the storytelling gene of a true Southerner, Lee fills his debut cookbook with tales of the restaurant world, New York City, Kentucky, and his time competing on Top Chef, plus more than 130 exceptional recipes for food with Korean roots and Southern soul.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2013: Some of the most inventive restaurateurs fueling the Southern food renaissance is Edward Lee–Top Chef competitor, more than one James Beard Award nominee, and proprietor of 610 Magnolia. Born in Brooklyn, where he grew up on his grandmother’s Korean cooking, he opened his first restaurant in New York but instinctually claimed his true culinary vernacular when he landed in Louisville, Kentucky. Mixing stories of turning points in his food life with lick-the-page photos—the most productive of them 2-page spreads of full-on feasts of down-home sophistication, shot from above—and 130 recipes that beg to be tried, Smoke & Pickles illuminates Lee’s flair for marrying Korean and Southern ingredients and techniques, which have such a lot natural overlap–starting with barbecue as the backbone, and pickles (of all varieties) to cut the smoke’s intensity. Lee’s food and stories reflect an intense sense of place, a love of his region’s fecundity that encompasses not just the farm, but also the hunt and the mindful abattoir. His recipes “belong here, on this unique place and time, nowhere else but now,” and all our tables will probably be richer for discovering them. –Mari Malcolm