Meet Bluefin chef Ja Min Lee


Ja Min Lee is executive chef at Bluefin restaurant. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Ja Min Lee is executive chef at Bluefin restaurant.

Ja Min Lee doesn’t smoke, drink alcohol or coffee. She looks decades younger than her 54 years.

“Food is very important for your physical body,” she says.

Lee is practicing what she preaches at Bluefin, where she has been executive chef for three months.

Lee, who owned three restaurants in Savannah, Ga., brought her healthy American menu to Memphis after she moved here three months ago to work with her brother, Bluefin owner Suk Woo.

Lee began cooking Korean food at age 6 at her home in Seoul, Korea. She later moved to the United States to study interior design in Atlanta.

While in the States, Lee learned how to cook American food, but decided to make it healthier by eliminating oil and by using fresh vegetables.

After moving to Memphis, she spent two months researching Memphis restaurants.

Woo said Lee told him she had to have fresh vegetables every day and no canned goods. “She doesn’t like canned food,” Woo says.

Bluefin kept its regular menu and added Lee’s American and other items, which included four piece chicken tenders (the chicken is not frozen, she says), gyros (red onions which Lee believes are the “most nutritious”) and Phillysteak (no salt, she says).

She also added a couple of bowls or Balls as it's written on the menu, including the chicken or beef K-Pop Ball, which has tofu and egg; and the Memphis Ball, which has lettuce, tomato, pickle, and corn. The customer can choose between white rice or “purple rice,” which she makes by boiling purple cabbage in the water with the rice.

Her menu, which is available at lunch and dinner, also includes burgers, wraps, shrimp, subs, and a club sandwich.

All items are available at Bluefin and next door at Bluefin Deli.

Bluefin is located at 135 South Main; (901-528-1010).

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