Old Fashioned Butcher
Chef, Salumiere, Butcher, Teacher, Consultant
Christopher Lee, born and raised in Chicago, is descended from Southern folks who migrated north in the early part of the 20th Century. He studied philosophy in college in the 1970's, but spent most of his time in the music department playing jazz. Along the way, he became enchanted with cooking, and thoughts of becoming a chef eventually took over. In 1976, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to follow his kitchen dream.
Arriving in Berkeley, California, Christopher joined the team of Narsai’s Restaurant, Market and Bakery, where he stayed for 10 years. He ran the Catering Division of Narsai’s empire for most of that time, and created two esteemed Narsai’s Cafés in the heart of San Francisco.
In 1987, Christopher joined the kitchen of Chez Panisse Restaurant, where he stayed for over 15 years. He began curing meats – initially prosciutto – in a temperature-and-humidity-controlled shed he built behind the restaurant. During his tenure as chef, the restaurant held Four Stars from the San Francisco Chronicle; was named "Best Restaurant in America" in 2001 by Gourmet Magazine; and was ranked number twelve in the world by Restaurant magazine, the British trade journal.
In 2004, Christopher opened his own restaurant, Eccolo, in Berkeley, where his food received three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, and was one of its “Top 100 Restaurants in the Bay Area.”
Christopher co-created the adored and influential Pop Up General Store (PUGS), an Oakland-based food artisan incubator, with a 15-member group of cooks, bakers, farmers, and craftsmen. PUGS was the first of its kind; had a huge local following; and established the format for many similar pop-ups to follow.
In 2011 in NYC, Christopher built and created the salumeria and salumi program at il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, which was awarded 3 Stars by the New York Times. For the next 7 years he consulted and worked in NY and Europe.
Today, Christopher consults for restaurants, salumerias, butcheries in the U.S. and in Europe.