$$$$ Asian Fusion


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From inauspicious beginnings as a 16-year-old apprentice at Hong Kong’s elegant Peninsula Hotel to his Atlas stride atop the fickle world of celebrity chefdom, Lee has never strayed from his 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.

Soon after he opened his 12-table restaurant, Lotus, in Toronto in 1987, Susur Lee tongue-tied food critics from The New York Times to Art Culinaire with menus of astonishing artistry. Courvoisier’s Book of the Best proclaimed Lotus the finest restaurant in the country; Zagat unabashedly pronounced Lee “a culinary genius.”

Never content to rest on his laurel leaves, Susur shuttered Lotus after a decade of glowing reviews, and decamped to Asia for a “re-energizing” period, during which he consulted for the Tung Lok Group’s 45 restaurants.

Returning to Toronto in 2000, Chef Lee drew up plans for his gastro-dome, Susur. The restaurant immediately earned accolades from such industry heavy-weights as Food & Wine magazine, which heralded Lee as one of the “Ten Chefs of the Millennium,” and Gourmet magazine, which dubbed him “an improvisational artist.” In 2004, the chef opened “Lee,” a less formal, more youth-oriented kid sister to “Susur,” which food critics praised for its inventive sharing platters and inspired gastronomy.

In 2008, after years of being courted by New York hoteliers to “take Manhattan!” Susur Lee was persuaded to apply his culinary savoir-flair south of the border. He donned the toque as executive chef at Shang –Chinese for “upwards”– in the sleek new boutique hotel, Thompson LES.
Shang and Susur were launched into New York’s A-list society orbit in October 2009 with critical raves, and Lee soon joined forces in Washington, D.C., with The Do Not Disturb restaurant group to open Zentan (Chinese for “Spy”), in the Thompson Donovan House hotel. Zentan quickly achieved status as a dining “destination” in the Capitol, and America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, has graced the premises on numerous occasions.

One of Susur Lee’s most ambitious goals was realized in 2009 when he unveiled (in partnership with Tung Lok Group), Chinois by Susur Lee restaurant in one of the world’s leading gourmet destination– Singapore. Located in the exclusive Hotel Michael at Resorts World Sentosa, bordered by the establishments of Daniel Boulud, Pierre Boulez and Wolfgang Puck, Chinois is the jewel in Susur Lee’s crown.

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