ABOUT

Lindsey Ofcacek is the Managing Director of The LEE Initiative.  Chef Edward Lee is the creative director of programming and also serves as mentor to all the participants.  But every member of our restaurant staff is dedicated to these programs and contribute in some way.

MEET OUR FOUNDERS

LINDSEY OFCACEK

Co-Founder, Managing Director & Mentor
The LEE Initiative

Lindsey and Chef Edward Lee are co-founders of the LEE Initiative. She’s the former manager of 610 Magnolia and continues to be director of their award-winning wine program. Throughout her 20-year career in the restaurant industry, Lindsey has devoted tireless hours to all aspects of the food lifecycle from farming to distribution to front and back of house. Now her passion is leading The LEE Initiative as managing director. She is a proud mentor to chefs and future young restaurant professionals as they develop into progressive leaders in the culinary industry.

CHEF EDWARD LEE

Co-founder, Director of Programming, Mentor
The LEE Initiative

Edward has lived in Louisville, KY since 2003 and has three restaurants there – 610 Magnolia, MilkWood and Whiskey Dry. He is also the Culinary Director for Succotash restaurants in Washington, DC and Maryland. He is a multiple finalist for the James Beard Foundation Best Chef Award and won the award in 2019 for writing the best-selling book Buttermilk Graffiti (2018) He also authored the best-selling book Smoke and Pickles (2013). He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as Host of Mind of a Chef Season 3 and wrote and hosted the documentary Fermented. Chef Lee has been working to promote equality and diversity in the restaurant community for years and The LEE Initiative programs are his passion.

ChefEdwardLee.com


MEET OUR MENTEES

WOMEN CHEFS PROGRAM

Through a rigorous application process, five chefs are selected to participate in an eight-month, well-rounded development program. The program includes one week with their mentors on location among many other opportunities to elevate them as culinary leaders.

(Click each chef’s photo for more information)

CLASS OF 2020


CLASS OF 2019



CLASS OF 2018



MEET OUR MENTORS

For the past three years, highly successful chefs have stepped up to mentor each new class in the LEE Initiative Women Chefs Program. They generously share their deep knowledge of the restaurant industry, leadership techniques, street smarts and passion for one week of intense training. 

(Click each chef’s photo for more information)

2020 MENTORS



2019 MENTORS


2018 MENTORS


YOUTH HOSPITALITY PROGRAM

CLASS OF 2020 ANNOUNCED IN JUNE!


MEET OUR BOARD

Our board consists of select members of the restaurant community in Louisville and around Kentucky who believe strongly not only in the excellence of food and service, but also, in the need for constantly improving the social standards of our industry.

CHEF EDWARD LEE

About Chef Lee

DIANNE S. LEE

About Dianne

LORA SMITH

About Lora