Corey Lee is Eater’s Chef of the Year 2016!

Discover how, by perfecting other chef’s dishes, the chef and Phaidon author became “unstoppable”

If chefs are the new rock stars, then their better-known dishes, such as Ferran Adrià's spherical olives or Massimo Bottura’s Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart, are surely their greatest hits.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Korean American chef Corey Lee, who has just been singled out as’s Chef of the Year, is that he not only has his own hit repertoire­; diners book months in advance for his American take on East Asian flavours, such as live jellyfish, beef bouillon and thyme blossoms as served at his San Francisco restaurant Benu; but Lee is also willing to offer “cover versions” of other chef’s better-known dishes at his San Francisco Museum of Modern Art restaurant, In Situ.


Live jellyfish, beef bouillon and thyme blossoms as featured in Corey Lee's book Benu
Live jellyfish, beef bouillon and thyme blossoms as featured in Corey Lee's book Benu

As Bill Addison, Eater’s restaurant editor puts it in the citation: by adding dishes originally concocted by such chefs as Daniel Patterson and René Redzepi to In Situ’s menu, Lee is “mapping uncharted territory as a chef-curator.”

And Lee’s In Situ is no amateur tribute act, Addison writes. “The menu rotates to showcase the signature dishes of 80 of the world’s most influential chefs, who work with Lee to make sure he nails the details. Rather than mere mimicry, the result is akin to a choreographer interpreting a benchmark ballet. And like a work of art, the food is as wonderful to look at as it is to savour. With the debut of In Situ, it’s clear Lee is an unstoppable genius.”




Congratulations to both Lee and In Situ’s fellow chef contributors. To find out more about Corey's cookery, career and philosophy order a copy of his debut cookbook, Benu, here. For more on the chefs who contribute to Lee’s In Situ menu, browse our chef books here.