Chef Christopher Lee of Huntington Social - Biography

Huntington, NY

August 2010

The restaurant business runs in Christopher Lee’s blood: he grew up with a family restaurant on Lexington Avenue and his penchant for cooking shows. He got his first restaurant job at the age of 15, and hasn’t left the industry since.

Lee worked at restaurants through college, then headed to San Francisco, enrolled full-time at the California Culinary Academy, and promptly began working six nights a week, first with Chef Bruce Hill and later as garde manger at The Fifth Floor. After graduating in 2000, Lee spent time at Jean Georges and Daniel in New York, and as chef de cuisine under Neil Gallagher at Oceana, who he credits with opening his mind to flavor theory and introducing him to every fish known to man.

After Oceana, Lee spent two and a half years at Striped Bass in Philadelphia, where he won the restaurant critical acclaim, including a highly coveted four bells review from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Best New American Restaurant 2004 in Travel + Leisure, and a 2006 top US restaurant rating in Gourmet magazine. He returned to New York as executive chef of Gilt, where Lee is credited for earning the restaurant two Michelin stars. In 2005, Lee was named the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year; in 2006 was among Food & Wine’s Top Ten Best New Chefs; and selected as a StarChefs.com New York Rising Star Chef in 2007.

In December 2008, Lee was selected by Charlie Palmer to take command of Aureole’s kitchen, just in time for the restaurant’s move to the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park and its spring re-opening. He later left Aureole for his hometown of Huntington on Long Island to open Huntington Social.