Off the Press: A profile of Chef Corey Lee


Corey Lee standing in Benu's sunny kitchen.

I interviewed and photographed Corey Lee at his restaurant Benu for the November 2011 issue of KoreAm magazine. What a treat. Set in an alleyway in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, the restaurant, which opened in 2010, has already garnered two Michelin stars.

Here’s a look at some of the pictures that didn’t make it into the magazine. To read the full article, click here.

Lee designed the tableware for his restaurant with a renown Korean porcelain maker.

A cup bearing Lee's moniker.

Homemade tofu in kimchee broth with chrysanthemum leaves.

A modern, minimalist sign serves as portent to the dining room's style.

Sea cucumbers bubble in a sous vide machine. Lee co-wrote a book on the cooking method with his former boss, Thomas Keller of French Laundry.

One of the kitchen staff weighs each pair of dumpling skins.

Well wishes decorate a plain white column in the kitchen. This one is from the famed Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in nearby Berkeley, Calif.

Portrait Practice: Self and Other


I’m taking a photography class at RayKo Photography Center. Our first assignment was to practice portraiture, using light, proximity and the surrounds to tell a story.

The first shot is for a piece I’m working on for KoreAm magazine. It’s supposed to tell you something about what the person in the shot does for living … Can you guess? The next two are just me messing around at home trying to create mood. I took a self-portrait next to a sunny window, and then I dunked myself in the tub for the second shot right after. Finally, we have Freidrich the Gnome. He needed pictures of him at work and at play for his online dating profile. 🙂

Environmental Portrait: JeWon at Work

Sketchbook and seasonal inspiration.

Straight Portrait #1: Dry and Sunny

Straight Portrait #2: Wet and Dark

Friedrich works in an urban garden.

But in his spare time, he likes to read.