Edward Lee is the Chef/Owner of 610 Magnolia and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Khora in Cincinnati, and the Culinary Director for Succotash Prime in DC and Succotash in National Harbor. He is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director for The LEE Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to diversity and equality in the restaurant industry. Chef Lee was the recipient of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for his book, Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting Pot Cuisine. His first book, Smoke & Pickles (Artisan Books, May 2013) was a national bestseller.. Lee has been a six-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast. In 2018, Food & Wine Magazine named 610 Magnolia one of the country’s most important restaurants of the past 40 years. The Michelin Guide DC awarded Succotash a Bib Gourmand in 2019. Chef Lee appears frequently in print and television and his writing has been featured in The New York Times, Esquire, Food & Wine and many other national publications. He was nominated for a daytime Emmy for his role as host of the Emmy-winning series, Mind of Chef on PBS. He has hosted and written a feature documentary called Fermented.
His philanthropic work includes the Lee Diversity Scholarship to support the Southern Foodways Alliance Oral History Workshop. In 2017, Chef Lee launched The LEE Initiative, which operates several programs under its umbrella including the Women Culinary and Spirits Program, Restaurant Workers Relief Program, Restaurant Reboot Relief Program, and McAtee Community and Training Kitchen. During the pandemic, The LEE Initiative distributed over 2 million meals, invested $1.5 million in small farms, and gave over $1 million in grants to Black-owned food businesses across the country. Chef Lee was awarded the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award in 2021. His luxury small batch bourbon created with Trey Zoeller is called Chef’s Collaboration Blend with Jefferson’s Reserve and is sold wherever fine whiskey is sold.