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Chef Lee talks with Food and Beverage Today

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Chef Chris Lee joins Aureole, Charlie Palmers flagship restaurant
Chef Chris Lee, Chris Lee, Chef Lee Plating

Many chefs only dream of achieving this kind of career pinnacle, but Chef Lee is no typical chef. Last year he decided to make another bold move. Chris left his two star digs to join the legendary Charlie Palmer team and re-open Aureole, Charlie’s flagship restaurant.

It looked like a perfect match to both Chef Lee and Chef Palmer as they share the same philosophy. Chris says, “Our food philosophy is pretty simple, use the best ingredients we can and find people that really love what they do.”

Lee says of Aureole, “We are Progressive American Cuisine… built on classic French technique… with a focus on American regional ingredients.”

It was a bold decision (and one most of the chefs among us can appreciate) to leave his two-star legacy at Gilt and team with culinary lion Chef Charlie Palmer. We asked Chef to share his perspective this phase of his career.

FB: Our readers will be fascinated by your decision. How did you choose to make the move?

Chris: “Daniel taught me classic French technique with the attention to detail, Jean George showed me the way of Fusion, working with Alfred Portale matured me as a chef and taught me that at the end of the day running a restaurant is a business, and what I hope Charlie Palmer will do is to show me how to run a successful restaurant group,” he said.

FB: What was the hardest part of this transition.

Chris: “Making sure we do not lose our focus on the overall goal, to create a great dining experience for our guests.  Consistency is always a problem and a pet peeve of mine, keeping everyone from taking short cuts was a challenge, because the increase in overall size of the restaurant.  Needed to spend some time on teaching people how to control their fears.”

FB: What is your typical day at the restaurant now?

“My day is filled with problem solving, coordinating service and developing new menu items, while managing each individual personality in the kitchen.  Tasting and identifying the best products to serve in the restaurant. Making sure that all the guests receive the absolute best food/wine/service experience. And making sure we are running a successful business at the same time.”

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