Corey Lee by Eric Wolfinger

Corey Lee is the best chef in the West!

The Benu and In Situ founder won big at the James Beard Awards 2017 held in Chicago last night

Though Corey Lee describes himself a quintessentially American chef, the Korean-born, San Francisco-based chef and Phaidon author draws his influences from across the Pacific Rim.

“Like San Francisco and its environs, which has the highest Asian concentration of any place in the US, there’s a distinct Eastern influence,” writes Lee in the introduction to his book, Benu. “Sense of place is expressed not so much in the locality of the products we use, but through the spirit and cultural influences of our area that permeate our food.”


Benu. Photograph by Eric Wolfinger
Benu. Photograph by Eric Wolfinger

So, it’s fitting that Lee won in the category of Best Chef: West at the James Beard Awards held at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago last night.

Lee beat fellow Phaidon chef Jeremy Fox, to clinch the title, thanks in part to his three Michelin star restaurant Benu, as well as his French bistro Monsieur Benjamin, and In Situ, his restaurant inside the Museum of Modern art in San Francisco, where Lee, like a skilled curator, adds other notable chefs' dishes to his menu.

Congratulations to Corey and his team! For greater insight into how he made the West Coast his own, order a copy of Benu here.