Chef Richard Sandoval announced the appointment of Neiman Lee as the new chef de cuisine of his Latin-Asian inspired restaurant, Zengo, located in the heart of Chinatown in Washington, D.C. Chef Lee brings a diverse range of experience to the restaurant’s kitchen this season. Born and raised in South Korea, Lee's passion is creating authentic, globally inspired dishes.
Lee began his culinary career in South Korea at the five-star Kolon Hotel in Gyeongji, before graduating from Keimyung College University in Daegu. Upon graduation, Lee accepted a position as a hot station sous chef at the Broi Restaurant within the Ariana Hotel in Dae-Gu, South Korea. In 2006, he joined the South Korean National Army where he was responsible for the preparation and management for the daily meals and banquets for 1,800 soldiers. After serving two years in the army, Lee accepted a position as head chef of the three-star Anyjoy Western Contemporary Cuisine in Dae-Gu.
In 2009, Lee relocated to the U.S. and held a number of culinary positions at a variety of restaurants including the Sinobi Japanese and Korean Fusion Restaurant and Big Y Restaurant Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania, and at The Gettysburg Hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Looking to further his culinary knowledge, he enrolled in the International Culinary Center in New York City where Lee earned a culinary arts degree in 2015. Upon graduation, Lee served as senior sous chef at Zuma, known for its modern Japanese cuisine, before he accepted the position as chef de cuisine of Zengo in June 2016.
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