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Dennis Lee

CHEF OF NAMU GAJI

"ONE OF OUR FAIR CITY'S MOST EXCITING CHEFS."
— TREVOR FELCH, SF WEEKLY

Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, Dennis Lee experienced an intimate spectrum of Asian foods from a young age. Learning how to cook from his mother, he developed an innate sense of flavors and ingredients.

In Namu Gaji’s first year, Lee was recognized with a Rising Star Chef Award from San Francisco Magazine. Lee’s food is highly personal and explorative, though he calls upon strict tradition when appropriate. He is committed to using the best ingredients and exploring the grower/consumer relationship. Namu Gaji has its own farm, which operates without petroleum fuel and uses Korean Natural Farming techniques. Lee credits his success to his strong relationships with friends, family and his brothers (and business partners) David and Daniel.

Food & Family

Growing up in the suburbs outside of Boston, the Lee Brothers — Dennis (”the chef”), Daniel (“the engineer”), and David (“the musician”) — spent many hours working at their mother's popular pan-Asian restaurant, Dah-Mee. Years later, after all, three had moved one-by-one to San Francisco, they were naturally drawn to a reuniting of food and family.

Their vision was to create a dining experience that they felt was missing in San Francisco — a comfortable and personal space, featuring delicious and sustainable food that reaches beyond traditional culinary boundaries. Their mother taught them that a table needs three legs to stand and that they must stick together to accomplish their dreams. Namu Gaji is one of those many dreams.

The Namu Farm

Growing the Old-Fashioned Way

We continually develop our love of food and community through our one acre farm in Winters, California — across the bay from San Francisco. We bring beautiful, hand grown vegetables and Asian herbs directly from our farm to the Namu Gaji tables. Our farmer, Kristyn Leach, uses organic, biodynamic, and permaculture practices without any fossil fuels — truly growing the old-fashioned way.

“We have integrity in the way we do things,” says Kristyn. “At the end of the day, no matter how stressful it is, I pick up dirt from the farm and know that positive things are going on. We're farming in a way that emphasizes people's relationship with a place that they care about.”

WATCH THIS VIDEO to see Kristyn talk about her farming practices at the Namu Farm.