In this episode, I’m talking with Matt Lee, who – along with his brother Ted, wrote the book Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business.
Celebrated for their work within Southern Food Culture across television and award-winning Southern cookbooks, Matt and Ted spent an intense six years working in some of the most challenging and fast-paced catering environments in New York City and various other locations.
Often times, these locations were in vintage era buildings that were severely lacking in any sort of kitchen infrastructure – with the catering staff operating in places ranging from loading docks to elevator vestibules.
The world Matt and Ted inhabited was markedly high end, with tickets to various events ranging in the thousands of dollars per plate, often involving crowds easily topping five hundred guests and larger.
Hotbox: The Catering Business 411… for BBQ?
And… I can already tell what you’re thinking.
Come on, Kevin… you run a BBQ Podcast. Why are we talking about catering up-scale fine dining events geared to billionaires?
Well… I’ll tell you.
BBQ and Southern Food Culture are finding their way into the world of elite food venues more like the James Beard House more and more these days.
Both Aaron Franklin and Rodney Scott have won coveted James Beard awards.
All told, Matt and his brother Ted wrote three cookbooks, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook (2007), The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern (2009), and The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (2013) which have won a combined six James Beard and IACP Awards.
And… if you need just one more example of how these worlds are converging… look to my podcast episode with Craig Verhage, the BBQ Ninja, where we talk about his trip to the James Beard House to assist Miss Leslie Roark Scott and the Ubons BBQ staff for a dinner they served there back in 2018.
At the end of the day, culinary skills mastered and displayed within extremely intense environments are always topics that my friends and I enjoy discussing, and I hope that you enjoy this conversation with Matt Lee.
Be Sure to Listen to More Episodes!
If you enjoyed this episode of the BBQ Beat Podcast, you can see the full podcast archive here. Or, simply catch up on some of the other most popular BBQ podcast conversations listed below.
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- Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue
- Ted Reader on Making it Tasty with Live Fire
- Chris Becker of CookinPellets.com
- Amy Mills – BBQ Business and the Legacy of Mr. Mike
- 2021 Hog Drop Champion John Lindsey
- Rusty and Anthony of the Pitmasters Podcast
- Montana Max on Food Sport and His BBQ Champs Academy Series
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