“Southern food has always been a fusion of foods with influences coming from all over the world." – Chef Edward Lee
Edward Lee is a Brooklyn-born chef and restaurateur based in Louisville, KY, known for bringing global flavors to traditional southern cuisine as well as appearances on ‘The Mind of a Chef’ and ‘Top Chef’. Across his four award-winning restaurants; 610 Magnolia, Whiskey Dry, MilkWood and Succotash (D.C.), Chef Lee’s cuisine embodies the diverse ethnic influences of the south.
Expanding on the cultural impact of traditional southern food, Chef Lee continues; “It’s a fusion so you have European influences—things like pork and bacon and more the refined items like baked goods and pot pies. The Native American influence is more agricultural, so think about corn, squash and all kinds of beans. The final piece is the African influence where we get spices, barbeque, okra, collard greens, and beignets. Obviously, you can’t talk about Southern food without talking about fried chicken.”
As a melting pot of Asian, African, European, Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cultures, traditional southern cuisine is experiencing a culinary renaissance. Today, new southern cuisines go beyond the status quo with elevated ingredients and global inspirations.
The Symrise team took a journey across distinct southern regions to explore all the facets of southern cuisine, from the kitchen to behind the bar. Through chef interviews, tasting treks and ingredient mapping we immersed ourselves into the new flavors of the south, resulting in our Southern Revival Initiative; a series of new concepts and flavors.
“What you are seeing in this second wave of the revival movement is a return to an origin or natural Southern cuisine.” shares Chef Lee. As a focus of our interview series, Chef Lee embraces his Korean heritage in his approach to southern cuisine.
“I am not from the South, so I didn’t have my grandmother’s recipes telling me what to do and I didn’t live in a community that demanded a one-dimensional version of Southern food. So, when I started experimenting with Korean ingredients, people didn’t protest and say you can’t do this because it’s not traditional Southern food.”
Symrise is excited to sponsor Chef Edward Lee’s Keynote speech at the 2019 Research Chefs Association Conference in Louisville, March 13-15. The RCA Conference is a unique experience for food industry experts to explore the latest innovations and discoveries in culinary arts, food sciences and product development.
If you’re attending the conference and looking for some southern flavor inspiration, Symrise Chef Noah Michaels created a complete guide to wining and dining during this years’ conference: 29 Of The Best Spots To Eat & Drink in Louisville.