One could say that the virtuoso Chef Susur Lee was born with a spoon in his mouth— but it would be a tasting spoon, not a silver one.
From humble beginnings as a 16-year-old apprentice at a prestigious Hong Kong hotel to his Atlas stride atop the fickle universe of celebrity chefdom, Susur Lee has never deviated from a consuming passion: to create tantalizing dishes that blend textures and flavours in glorious harmony. Balancing the epicurean traditions of China with the classical techniques of French cuisine, Lee improvises a daring and original culinary aesthetic.
Praised as one of the "Ten Chefs of the Millennium" in 2000 by Food & Wine magazine, Susur Lee is still at the top of his game. In addition to helming five restaurants in Toronto—Lee, Luckee, Lee Kitchen and Fring’s—and overseeing his prestigious TungLok Heen in Singapore’s Hotel Michael, Lee makes numerous television appearances and travels the world as guest chef and consultant. Following appearances on Iron Chef America, he became a media sensation on Top Chef Masters, where he vanquished 20 competing chefs and crossed filleting knives with chef Marcus Samuelsson in a kitchen showdown. Lee served as a resident judge on Food Network Canada's Chopped Canada, and has also made appearances on Lifetime’s series Masterchef Asia. Over the past three years, Susur Lee has broadened his culinary horizons in his hometown, Toronto. In Spring 2014, the Chef together with partner Henry Wu launched Luckee, a contemporary Nouvelle Chinoise restaurant serving dishes and dim sum inspired by the classic cuisines of Guangzhou, Hunan, Shanghai and Szechuan, transformed and enhanced by Lee's signature artistry.
The sky appears to be the limit—literally— for Susur Lee’s global brand. In Spring 2015, Lee with HMSHost launched a bistro-style eatery, “Lee Kitchen,” at Toronto's international Pearson Airport. Globe-trotting gastronomes rejoiced, and airplane food will never be the same.
Levi and Kai Bent-Lee, the Chef’s two older sons and influential members of his management and development team, are also burnishing the family brand. They recently launched the newest constellation in the Lee universe: Fring’s, a coolly elegant dining space that almost overnight has become the go-to destination for Toronto’s in-crowd. At once polished and thrumming, Fring’s delivers an artful and seductive mix of glamour and global supper-club sensibility that would be right at home in London, New York or LA, but is instead prompting line-ups and inundating Instagram feeds on Susur Lee’s home turf, King Street West.
WEBSITE COPY BY JOANNE EIDINGER
UPDATED August 2017