In the Kitchen with Chef Frank Lee
Posted 10/10/2010 6:13:00 PM
Chef Frank Lee
is one of the partners in Maverick Southern Kitchens
, serving as vice president of culinary development and executive chef of four restaurants: Slightly North of Broad
and High Cotton
; Old Village Post House in Mount Pleasant
; and High Cotton
. Slightly North of Broad was the first of the restaurants “and where I’ve been cooking the last 17 years,” he said. Lowcountry and Southern dishes with a “Maverick” twist are the specialty here.
Q: What are you cooking these days that excites you the most?
I get energized by chefs that run my kitchens. I might come up with an idea, but they flesh out the reality in ways I would never imagine. Local fish and birds paired with seasonal produce always float my boat. What excites me is the rhythm of mise en place -- get a great local product from a familiar source, break it down, nail the execution, use it up, clean up and go home.
Q: What restaurants do you like to eat at when you’re not working?
A: I usually eat in my own restaurants, quality checks, or a Vietnamese hole in the wall or at a small group of local chefs’ restaurants who I love and trust.
Q: Who is the best American chef?
There is no best chef -- only the best last plate. Who knows? Who cares? It’s not a competition; it’s sharing.
Q: What’s your prediction for the next big food or restaurant trend?
I hate trends. The only trend I’m interested in is continued emphasis on local markets until we have the same type of food culture as France and Italy.
Q: Who in your life has most influenced your cooking?
Columbia, S.C., Chef Malcolm Hudson.
Q: What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done in a restaurant kitchen?
To lose one’s temper is always embarrassing and sets a bad example for the young chefs.