A teenaged Chen-Wei Lee worked his way up in restaurant kitchens from dishwasher to head prep cook, but his desire to “help shape people’s dining experiences more directly” prompted a shift to front of house. As Royal Dinette’s general manager, he deftly conveys the narrative of a meal, skillfully complementing dishes with inventive wine pairings. Lee’s impeccable professionalism, refined over 10 years in the industry, “balances hustle and volume with finesse,” says one of our judges, while building lasting relationships with guests.

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