French Laundry Chef Corey Lee Opens Own Restaurant

French Laundry may be one of the most famous restaurants in the country, let alone in San Francisco, but now the eatery’s former chef de cuisine, Corey Lee, is making the transition from chef to restaurant owner and chef.

Lee will be heading over to the former Two space, located in San Francisco’s SoMa area, where he plans to open his restaurant this spring, reinventing the venue as Benu, a 66-seat dining establishment with an additional lounge setup on the patio.

Taking what he has learned from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, Lee plans to make Benu a product-driven restaurant, and while he prefers not to place a label on his cuisine, he does go so far as to say, “the food will be American with many global influences and cooking styles.”

Acknowledging many people’s desire to enjoy fine-dining while still watching what they spend, Lee is planning a prix fixe as well as an a la carte menu for his new restaurant. “These days, people are looking for options,” says Lee, adding, “A multicourse, multi-hour meal isn’t for everyone.”

Lee hasn’t worked at French Laundry since July 2009 when he said goodbye to Keller and fellow French Laundry employees to focus full time on the Benu venture. Coming from the Bay Area’s only Michelin three-star rated restaurant, it’s probably safe to say that while French Laundry will certainly miss him, Lee will do just fine for himself at Benu.

The name Benu refers to ancient Egypt’s mythological version of the phoenix.

Via: San Francisco Gate