Corey Lee talks parental advice with David Chang
The Benu chef discussed his career with the Momofuku founder at North America’s largest culinary school
In Benu, the three-Michelin-starred chef Corey Lee describes the food he serves as American. Yet, in an interview with Canada's National Post newspaper, to promote his talk with fellow chef David Chang at Toronto’s the George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, the Korean-born admitted that, in writing the introductions to each dish in his new Phaidon title, he began to realise the importance of his roots.
“I started to really think about why they’re important, and how so many of them were linked to my native culture and how I grew up,” he told the audience. “It became much more personal than I had anticipated. In that sense, I feel like I had been preparing to cook my whole life."
Alas, his mother and father weren't quite so encouraging. During his chat with Chang, the Momofuku chef asked, "were your parents excited that you wanted to cook?" "Hell no!" replied Lee.
It was an apt occasion for careers advice. George Brown is North America’s largest culinary school, and on the previous evening, Lee was the guest of honour at a dinner for 50 at Chefs’ House, the student-run teaching restaurant within the school. Under the guidance of their professor, Chef Li, the students prepared a multi-course meal inspired by the recipes featured in Benu for a sold-out crowd of 50 guests.
Corey spent two hours working with the students, provide last minute tweaks on the recipes before service, before going on to sign copies of Benu, which were included in the ticket price, chat with the diners, and engage with notable figures within Canada’s media and culinary circles; proof that today, the culinary arts can be quite a wise career choice.
We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has made this tour possible. To find out more about this important young chef, buy a copy of Benu here.