About chef Peter Lee

Cooking and food have always been an integral part of my life. Growing up in Los Angeles my parents owned Chinese restaurants and my father was a master chef in Chinese cuisine. Like most Asian immigrants, the restaurant business was our way into American society and a means of survival for my family.
I started cooking professionally in 1996 while attending California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After graduating from culinary school I begin working in fine dining restaurants such as Rubicon and Restaurant Elisabeth Daniels. Working hands-on with chefs in the Bay Area helped me gain valuable experiences as a cook. I was learning different styles, techniques, discipline from some of the top chefs in the city. I enjoyed cooking and the restaurant culture gave me a sense of direction which I lacked in my early years growing up in L.A. My passion for the culinary arts extended to researching food history, learning about a certain cuisine and its culture. I developed an eclectic palate as I tried different foods and working with a diverse range of ingredients.
Around 2001 I got a job offer as the executive chef at a small bistro on the Westside of Los Angeles. The owner I work for was Moroccan and had an establishing Moroccan restaurant for 20 years. The newly renovated space of the bistro was right next to his Moroccan restaurant. We cooked out of the same kitchen for the new bistro and the Moroccan restaurant. The kitchen space was small but we made it work. The menu I wrote for the bistro was French Californian, most of the dishes on the menu were a remake of what I learned back in the Bay Area. During that time I still have not got to the level of creating my dishes. I realize two things, the head chef one was the business aspect running a successful restaurant and the other was offering something unique from the menu.
I always wanted to live in Hawaii and feeling the need to get out of the hustle and bustle of California. After holding several chef positions in the restaurant and luxury hotel business in Southern California, I was ready for a change. I saved up some money and relocated to the island of Maui. I was starting over again, not knowing a soul in my new home and eager to learn about Hawaiian food, culture and, language. Maui was laid back as if the time has slow down, there were no freeways just highways connecting you to different towns. The smell of plumeria gave a nice scent in the air, the turquoise ocean was picturesque made for a postcard. I was living aloha, as I meet locals who share their recipes and tell me stories about Hawaii and its food. Working with local chefs and ingredients from farmers gave true meaning to a farm to the table. Living on Maui for five years taught me about ohana, family, and community. It also taught me about the people who influence Hawaiian regional cuisine, from the first Polynesian settlers to the Asians who worked on the sugarcane plantation fields. The Portuguese also contributed to the culinary landscape of the Hawaiian islands as they introduce malasadas and Portuguese bean soup. The contemporary cuisine of Hawaii is a melting pot like the beautiful people who built it and created its unique cuisine.
In 2009, my culinary path takes me back to Southern California where I planted my roots and started my own catering business. My catering business led to full-time private chef positions in Orange County, California and currently launching my food blog. Please join me, as I post about my culinary philosophies, recipes, food traveling and anything to everything about what we eat.

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4 Comments

    • Hi Keren, thanks for comment and reading my blog. I created this blog as a hobby and for the love of food and cooking. I hope you find it entertaining and informational. Take care.

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