Hi! My name is George Lee. I am from Taipei, Taiwan and currently an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Before I went to college, I spent a summer at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, where I received my culinary training in cuisine. While I was beyond inspired by the chefs at the institute and all the new culinary knowledge I had yet to learn, I couldn’t help but feel hesitant about the cooking I was doing. Particularly, the part of cooking that involves tasks such as breaking down whole chickens, filleting fish, chopping pig liver, among others. While I loved to cook, I did not enjoy having to process raw meats. After arriving at college, I took a short break from cooking and began focusing on pursuing a degree in science. I became particularly interested in food science and alternative protein — the thought of that someone could grow meat out of a petri-dish is enough to make me dizzy.
In April 2020, the midst of a raging pandemic, I started Chez Jorge while staying home in lockdown. I eventually decided to dedicate the page to strictly posting vegan recipes (even though I was not fully vegan then), to feed off my budding interest in the field. Considering I spent 18 years of my life non-vegan, this was a seismic shift, to say the least. Although I did have vegan and vegetarian friends back then, I myself could not imagine a meal without meat. But I would go on to cook nearly every single day, spending each day learning a new dish, or creating elaborate spreads over my kitchen counter for the perfect photo. Over time, I slowly fell in love with plant-based cooking, and taking those techniques to recreate dishes that might re-live moments from my childhood. It was exciting — liberating, almost. I feel that it not only allowed me to bridge between my love for science and cooking, but take pride in my heritage and continually challenge myself to innovate.
Chez is a French word that means “at the home of (someone).” At Chez Jorge, I hope to teach you how to cook in a cruelty-free, sustainable fashion that would make anyone feel at home.