"I haven't slept in weeks," admits Chef Edward Lee as he takes a seat in our office. The Louisville-based chef and former Top Chefcontestant not only debuted his first cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, this past month but also became a father.
"It's incredible," explains Lee of becoming a parent. "It adds another layer to your life that's so different, especially for us restaurant people. I look forward to the days when she gets older and we can cook together." For now, Lee is just figuring out a new type of fare—baby food—and letting his new role as Dad sink in.
His other new role, as author, came about as a reaction to his somewhat unusual personal story. "A Korean kid from Brooklyn moving to the South and becoming a chef is a story in and of itself. It's unlikely," he explains. Lee found himself constantly being asked how he ended up in Louisville and felt that Smoke & Pickles could be his complete, "long answer." The volume not only tells Lee's intriguing story but also features 130 recipes that truly merge all elements of his tale from his Korean heritage to his late-found love of the South.
The recipes are a result of parallels Lee noticed between Korean food and Southern food. "A lot of Southern food did not come from the top down, it really rose from the masses, the poor class," explains Lee. "It is hard not to see that that is the same thing with kimchi and all the stuff that we grew up eating." One of the first recipes Lee worked on that merged the two cuisines was, in fact, kimchi and collard greens. "[Both Korean and Southern foods] are now in vogue which represents to me a real triumph of that kind of cuisine," he says. "I love to see that transformation."
Check out the slideshow above for more on Smoke & Pickles, recipes from the book and Lee's ultimate Father's Day wish.
Today only, win Smoke & Pickles and other items dad will love in our KD Finds Father's Day Giveaway. Learn more here.