Chef Vivian Lee has stayed busy during the pandemic with her pop-up, Foodcation Forever, but things really ramped up for her this month.
For one thing, Lee started selling her croissants and milk bread dough pastries at the newly-opened Kinship in Virginia-Highland, in addition to supplying the market with the bread it uses to make its breakfast sandwiches.
But Lee recently announced an even bigger project -- her own sandwich shop.
Leftie Lee’s, named for Lee’s toddler daughter, is slated to open in early 2022 in the forthcoming Avondale Estates mixed-use development Olive and Pine at 6 Olive St.
Lee, who studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, previously worked as the executive pastry chef at Osteria Mattone and Table & Main before leaving pre-pandemic to persue landscape architecture work.
But while she enjoyed taking a break from the restaurant industry, she found she missed cooking and making the laminated baked goods she’d come to be known for.
Launched a little over two years ago, Foodcation Forever scratched Lee’s baking itch as she served up Korean-inspired pastries and food through pop-ups and virtual bake sales as well as catering gigs. When the opportunity came to combine her love of baking and sandwiches in a brick-and-mortar space, she jumped at the chance.
Expect to find pastries and baked goods as well as globally-inspired breakfast and lunch sandwiches served on house-baked breads, including a mojo roasted pork sammy with fried yucca and cabbage slaw and a Korean barbecue sandwich with scallion slaw.
In addition to feeding the Avondale Estates community, Lee also sees Leftie Lee’s as a space for chefs to showcase their skills via their own pop-ups.
“I want us to be a place they can launch and grow their businesses,” she said. “When you’re first starting out, it’s really hard. I want to open a place where it’s easy, where people can grow followers and potentially reach out to investors.”
The space will feature limited indoor seating, with additional seating throughout the Olive and Pine complex. Lee is also mulling a weekend subscription delivery service.
“I want to bring people together, whether it’s through the pop-ups that happen there, or even just having a place for people to come and have a breakfast pastry with their coffee.”
Until Leftie Lee’s opens, catch Lee at Kinship and at periodic Foodcation Forever pop-ups.
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