Traditional recipes

The French Laundry’s Timothy Hollingsworth

The French Laundry’s Timothy Hollingsworth

Timothy Hollingsworth, chef de cuisine of the French Laundry since summer 2009, has been participating in the first-ever chef de cuisine exchange program between his home restaurant and the other three-Michelin-star jewel in the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group (TKRG) crown, New York City’s Per Se. Hollingsworth possesses some of the deepest institutional knowledge of TKRG, having moved up the ladder from commis (prep cook) to chef de cuisine, all at the French Laundry, and also serving as part of the opening team of Per Se. With a few days left in his stay (he’ll be here through Tuesday, Feb. 28, while Eli Kaimeh is serving as CDC out West), we sat down with Hollingsworth the other morning in Per Se’s Salon, to ask him about his time here, and catch up on issues large and small:

TOQUELAND: There’s always been some cross-pollination among the restaurants in the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, such as periodic manager retreats, but is this chef-de-cuisine switch new?

HOLLINGSWORTH: This is the first time we’ve done it. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. But because of staffing and how busy each restaurant was, it just never panned out. But, finally, we were at a point where we felt comfortable enough that maybe we could move on it. It’s a very natural thing because three out of the five sous chefs here, I worked with at the French Laundry. So I know them. I have a personal relationship with them. It’s the same systems. It’s a very easy transition.

TOQUELAND: You were part of the team that came east from the French Laundry to open Per Se about 10 years ago.

HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, as far as kitchen is concerned, I was the only CDP [chef de partie] to transfer here, then go back to the French Laundry.

TOQUELAND: Do you notice changes or evolutions here? Things that are different since Per Se first opened?

HOLLINGSWORTH: It’s evolving. You see it evolving. You see the differences between Jonathan [Benno, now at Lincoln] as the chef de cuisine and now Eli [Kaimeh] as the chef de cuisine. And the managers. And we’re always pushing ourselves to take things to the next level, so, yeah; it’s evolved immensely since I was first out here.

TOQUELAND: But those changes probably aren’t that apparent to guests of the restaurant. Perfect isn’t a word that gets tossed around the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group (TKRG). [As readers may know, Keller opened his The French Laundry Cookbook with the now-iconic assertion that there's no such thing as perfect food; the paragraph is featured on plaques in both the French Laundry and Per Se kitchens.] But most people who have dined here would say it’s been pretty perfect pretty much from the go, since you were already operating at such a high level. So to them, the changes might not be perceptible. Can you give an example of what a significant change is to the team here?

HOLLINGSWORTH: It’s the little changes. It’s hard to state a specific example because little changes are made every single day. You’re constantly thinking of what we at TKRG have defined as The Green Tape Moment: For years and years and years, we labeled everything in the kitchen with green tape and we tore the tape, and put it on a Lexan [durable plastic container], or used it to tape a tablecloth to the pass. We tore it. And then one day somebody picked up the scissors and cut the tape. And then, another day, somebody sees somebody cut the tape and acknowledges that and says, "This is what we’re going to do from now on; we’re going to cut the green tape." And now, if anybody were to rip the green tape it would be like. ..

TOQUELAND: Nails on a chalkboard?

HOLLINGSWORTH: Yeah, exactly.


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


Interview with: Chef Corey Lee, Three Michelin star *** Ex Chef @ The French Laundry, Napa Valley

Needless to introduce this monument of World fine dining, but for starters, Chef Corey Lee is a Three Michelin Star Chef who was — till recently — at the head of The French Laundry’s cuisine.
The French Laundry is at the Very top of the Elite best fine dining cuisines of the World:
-Awarded best restaurant in the world in 2003, 2004
-Was awarded it’s 3 Star Michelin in 2006
-No 12 Best restaurant of the world (2009)
This past August 2009, Chef Lee stepped out of his position of Chef at the French Laundry with the intent to open (very soon) his own new restaurant, named Benu that will open in San Francisco’s SOMA.

Chef Lee kindly accepted an interview via email (very kind from his part, considering how busy he is currently with the upcoming opening of his restaurant):

from Corey Lee
date Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM
subject answers
Dear S Lloyd,

Thank you for your interest. The answers are below.

Question #1 : Chef Corey Lee, your latest approach of cooking at the French Laundry was undeniably moving, daring and mostly different from what we commonly see at most upscale fine dining restaurants. It was daringly modern and fun. Unarguably, I believe that it would make no sense to reproduce the exact same trend at your new restaurant — Chef Keller would surely not appreciate that — but still: do you think that it is possible to push the French Laundry trend/spirit to newer unseen levels?

Here is the attached Bio he sent to me (mentionned in his reply to Question #3):

Corey Lee was born in Seoul, Korea in 1977. The son of an engineer, he moved to the
U.S. in 1983 when his father’s work relocated him to New York City.
Being an immigrant, the food his mother cooked became the most important and tangible link to
Corey’s native culture. And so at an early age, he realized that food occupied an
important role in society, one more significant than just sustenance, and he became
acutely interested in the different kinds of cuisine he encountered.
At age 17, in need of a job and at the random suggestion of a friend, he applied for work
at the Bromberg brothers’ popular restaurant, Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York’s SOHO
area. He was hired for the dining room but immediately became fascinated by the unique
world of the professional kitchen, an environment he found to challenge and gratify both
the mind and body on many different levels. He quickly started working in the kitchen
and soon realized that cooking would be his profession.
Since that almost accidental beginning to Corey’s career, he has gone on to work for
some of the most acclaimed restaurants and chefs in the world. In 1997, he moved to
London where he spent time working and staging in the kitchens of Interlude, Pied à
Terre, Savoy Grill, Pierre Koffman’s La Tante Claire, and Marco Pierre White’s Oak
Room. He later went on to work with many other venerable chefs including Christian
Delouvrier at Lespinasse, Daniel Boulud, Montreal based chef Normand Laprise, and
Parisian 3 star Michelin chefs Guy Savoy and Alain Senderens.

In 2001, Corey started what would be his 8 year working relationship with Thomas
Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. He also spent a
year opening per se, Thomas’ acclaimed restaurant in New York City. The latter half of
Corey’s time with Thomas was spent as the head chef of The French Laundry. During his
tenure, the restaurant was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in America” by Restaurant
Magazine and received the highest rating from both the San Francisco Chronicle and
Mobil Guide. In 2006, French Laundry was the only restaurant recognized with 3 stars in
the launch of the prestigious Guide Michelin for California. In that same year, Corey was
the recipient of the “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation. In 2008,
Corey co-authored Under Pressure which was released to critical acclaim and
documented many of the techniques and recipes Corey developed during his time at
French Landry and per se.
Corey left The French Laundry in the summer of 2009 to prepare for the opening of
Benu, his highly anticipated restaurant in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been
honored by being appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Seoul, Korea. He has also
collaborated with iconic Korean porcelain manufacturer, KwangJuYo, to design and
produce a custom line of porcelain that will be used at Benu. The restaurant is slated to
be open in the summer of 2010


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