Susur Lee


Susur Lee is an internationally renowned chef known for his innovative and artistic culinary style that seamlessly blends Western and Asian influences. Over the decades, he has built a formidable reputation in the global culinary scene, leaving an indelible mark with his unique approach to food.

Early life

Born in Hong Kong in 1958, Susur Lee’s foray into the world of culinary arts began at a tender age. He was the youngest sibling among six. The bustling streets of Hong Kong, with their myriad of flavors and fragrances, played a pivotal role in shaping his culinary sensibilities. The vibrant amalgamation of Eastern and Western cuisines in his hometown introduced him to a world where food was not just sustenance but an art form. Lee left school at the age of 14 and stepped into the restaurant industry, working tirelessly in various kitchens and absorbing the essence of both traditional Chinese and modern Western cuisines.

He began his culinary journey at the renowned Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. In 1978, he moved to Canada, where he met and tied the knot with Marilou Covey that same year. Tragically, in 1983, while the couple planned to relocate to Hong Kong, Marilou lost her life on Korean Air Lines Flight 007, which was taken down by a Soviet jet. In 1991, Susur found love again and wed Brenda Bent. The pair have three children: Kai, Levi, and Jet.


In the early 1980s, Lee made a bold move by relocating to Toronto, Canada. It was here that his culinary prowess truly began to shine. Embracing the city’s multiculturalism, he commenced his journey of blending the East and West on a plate. His first venture, “Lotus,” opened in 1987 and garnered immediate attention for its revolutionary take on traditional dishes. But it was his subsequent restaurant, “Susur,” that truly placed him on the global gastronomy map.

While “Susur” showcased Lee’s culinary brilliance, it was also his stepping stone to international fame. By the early 2000s, his reputation crossed oceans, leading him to open establishments in other parts of the world, including New York City. “Shang,” his Manhattan venture, encapsulated his signature style and further consolidated his position as a leading figure in global cuisine..

Professionally, Susur climbed the ranks to become an executive chef at various eateries and ultimately ventured into entrepreneurship. His unique culinary approach is often characterized as fusion cuisine. He’s particularly renowned for his “Singapore Slaw,” a reinterpretation of the traditional Lo Hei salad consumed during Lunar New Year celebrations..

Susur showcased his culinary expertise as a contestant on Bravo TV’s Top Chef: Masters’ second season, finishing as a joint runner-up, with Marcus Samuelsson taking the title. He’s been featured on numerous TV cookery shows and stands as the second Canadian chef, following Rob Feenie, to grace Food Network’s Iron Chef America..

Throughout his career, Susur has donned multiple hats – from leading kitchens in various Toronto restaurants to judging culinary events, making frequent television appearances, and overseeing multiple eateries in Canada, the U.S., and Singapore. His debut restaurant, Lotus, opened its doors in Toronto in 1987. Today, he heads the Susur Lee Restaurant Group..

Over the years, Lee’s talents haven’t been restricted to the kitchen alone. He has made appearances on popular television shows, including “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters,” where he competed against some of the world’s best chefs. These appearances not only amplified his fame but also showcased his unparalleled skill and creativity.

Current Restaurants:

  • Lee, Toronto: 2004 – present
  • Tung Lok Heen (previously Chinois), Singapore: 2010–present
  • Lee Kitchen, Toronto Pearson International Airport: 2015–present
  • Kid Lee, Toronto: 2018–2020

Past Restaurant Affiliations:

  • Luckee, Toronto: 2014–2018
  • Fring’s, Toronto (co-owned with rapper Drake): 2015–2018
  • Bent, Toronto: 2012–2017
  • Zentan at the Donovan House, Washington, D.C.: 2009–2013
  • Shang, New York: 2008–2011
  • Madeline’s, Toronto: 2008–2010
  • Susur, Toronto: 2000–2008
  • Prague Fine Food Emporium, Toronto: 1998
  • Ritz-Carlton, Singapore (as a consulting chef): 1997
  • Kojis Kaizen, Montreal
  • Hemispheres, Toronto (consulting chef)
  • Oceans: 1990
  • Lotus, Toronto: 1987-1997
  • La Bastille, Toronto (as a guest chef): 1987
  • Lela, Toronto
  • Peter Pan, Toronto
  • Le Trou Normand, Toronto
  • Le Connaisseur, Toronto
  • The Westbury Hotel, Toronto (as a cook)
  • Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong (as an apprentice/commis)

Net Worth

Susur Lee’s dedication to his craft, combined with his entrepreneurial ventures, has resulted in a substantial net worth. While exact figures fluctuate and are not always publicly available, estimates suggest his net worth to be in the $8 million dollar range, a testament to his success in the culinary world.


Throughout his illustrious career, Susur Lee has garnered numerous awards and recognitions:

His restaurant "Lee" consistently ranks among the top dining establishments in Toronto.
Lee was ranked as one of the "Ten Chefs of the Millennium" by Food & Wine magazine.
He's made multiple appearances on prestigious culinary television programs, highlighting his expertise and influence in the industry.
His unique style of East-meets-West fusion has been celebrated and imitated by chefs globally, setting trends in contemporary cuisine.
He's been an ambassador for global culinary events, representing the essence of fusion cuisine on the international stage.

Social Profile

Susur Lee maintains an active presence on various social media platforms:
Instagram: @susurlee
Twitter: @susurlee
Through these platforms, he shares glimpses of his culinary adventures, personal life, and insights into the ever-evolving world of gastronomy. Those interested in following his journey, gaining insights into his culinary philosophy, or simply being inspired by his dishes, are encouraged to follow his profiles.