Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gas Station Sushi

Would you buy sushi at a gas station?

The variety of gas station food has been improving over the years - you can now find salads, wraps, fried chicken, and even the occasional piece of fresh fruit - but the quality is still more likely to be sketchy than yummy.

Enter J. J. Lee, the 24 year old sushi chef of Lee's Fresh Deli in the BP Station at the corner of Poplar and Ridgeway in Memphis, Tennessee. A fan of extreme tastes ("If it's sweet I like to put a lot of sweet ingredients in there. If I like it hot, I like it hot. Nothing in between," he says), he has set the standard for gas station sushi. He sells about 300 boxes of sushi a day. And the quality? How many gas station chefs get mentioned in Gourmet magazine (August 2009, Travel section, page 44)?

Lee, who grew up on his mother's kimchee and other traditional Korean foods, started cooking fried rice when he was five or six. He hates soy sauce because it masks the flavor of the food. And why did he decide to become a chef?

"At the restaurant where I worked, the sushi chef always made more (money) than the servers."

Memphis Commercial-Appeal (via News of the Weird)
I Really Like Food
Go Memphis
Baltimore Sun

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