Leslie Kelly

I'm a seasoned restaurant critic turning cook. After Seattle P-I closed, I've been apprenticing in restaurant kitchens around the city, which has been exhausting and exciting.

  • Website
  • Location: Seattle, Maui, Memphis
  • Favorite foods: Flora Payne's pulled pork, anything cooked by John Besh, John Currence, Karen Carrier, David Chang or Holly Smith. Gina Batali's secret family meatballs at Salumi and more!
  • Last bite on earth: Southern fried chicken and chess pie.

Latest Comments

The Serious Eats Barbecue Style Guide

Nice job James! Glad to see some of my favorite Memphis places on there and also Scott's. Ricky Parker rules!! You should watch my friend Joe York's film on Whole Hog:
Will I see you at Memphis in May?

Critic-Turned-Cook Says Goodbye To Some Old Cookbook Friends

I love Cookbook Junkie's suggestion!

This weekend, I am going to try making my first caramel cake. A little nervous about that, especially since I'm entering it into a contest!!

Critic-Turned-Cook Says Goodbye To Some Old Cookbook Friends

Wow! There's quite an eclectic collection here. I'm intrigued by the Farm Journal books. Way back when I was a food writer in Spokane, there was a phantom "homemaker" who offered tips and recipes. Dorothy Dean was Spokane's version of Betty Crocker. Still use some of those recipes to this day, especially the Christmas cookies.

Critic-Turned-Cook Goes On SFA Field Trip, Eats Nasty Bits

Here's a link to a short video I made during the field trip that might offer more dish:

Critic-Turned-Cook's Top 5 Cheap Meals

Thanks for all the great comments!

A few peeps have been crushing on my lovely Green Apple from Lodge...

Here's a little report I wrote about that pretty pot:

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 119: Is It Time To Retire This Column?

Stay the course Ed! It's entertaining as hell. Do not listen to the haters!!

Critic-Turned-Cook: Is Your Kitchen a Mess Too?

I am so loving all these comments. Just remembered something: When I was growing up, my favorite aunt had a habit of stashing dirty pans/pots in the oven!! Which often led to a smoky surprise when you went to preheat the oven and those dirty pans started smoking!

Critic-Turned-Cook: The Coolest Things I Learned While Working in Professional Kitchens

Missing bullet point #3: Always lock the door of the changing room! Awkward!!

Critic-Turned-Cook Mulls Question: Worst Meal Ever?

After this posted, a friend reminded me about the time we were served creme brulee finished with salt instead of sugar!! Horrors!

But what made it worse... no apology, didn't even comp the dessert!

Happy National Pie Day

What an awesome lineup!
Inspired me to try a recipe that's long been on my must-do list: Lemon meringue. I already know it won't be as good looking at Junior's.

Rendezvous Shipment Satisfies Case of Homesick Memphis Blues

Cozy Corner is wonderful, especially the Cornish hens and the wings.
I also LOVE Payne's on Lamar and Seattle! Next time, say hey to Ms. Flora and don't miss the fried pies! Central is one of my favorites, too. And I hit Corky's and/or Interstate at the airport coming and/or going. Really like the sauce at Bar-B-Que Shop and Commissary and the seasoning from Hog Wild.
Memphis has got it going on for BBQ. That's why I am so happy I can get some Rendezvous delivered thousands of miles away.

Critic-Turned-Cook Auditions for 'Master Chef'

Thanks to everybody for the good wishes and, yes, nivlek... working on my home tape this weekend. Star ingredient of my signature dish? Rendezvous BBQ from Memphis!

Critic-Turned-Cook Auditions for 'Master Chef'

It's supposed to show a softer side of chef Ramsay. Though, I'm not afraid of a little drama.

Critic-Turned-Cook Tries Out at Delancey in Seattle

You're so right Adam. He helped build it. I got carried away in my breathless description, thinking of all the other projects he managed to pull off single-handedly.

Critic-Turned-Cook Steels Herself for Canning Season with Canning Across America

Hey there!
The "Canning Across America" party was some sticky sweet fun. A ton of work, but the results were gorgeous.

Here are a few pics I posted on Facebook:

Critic-Turned-Cook Steels Herself for Canning Season with Canning Across America

OMG amylou61! Can we please get the recipe for caramel apple butter??

Love everybody's enthusiasm for canning!

I've got 40 pounds of peaches perfuming my kitchen right now. Tomorrow morning, jammin!!

Critic-Turned-Cook Goes Job Hunting

Thanks for the tip Bunnee!
I've got an interview Tuesday morning. Wish me luck!

Critic-Turned-Cook Goes Job Hunting

I'm up for working late and/or early... just not so sure if I could muster the "fun personality" at 6 in the a.m.

Lunchbox Laboratory's Dork Burger Is Drippin'-Down-Your-Chin Good

Hey everybody! I love the comments here. I just wish I had a better pic of the burger I ate and wrote about, the unadorned Dork. That's what I like about this Lunchbox. You can go minimalist or way over the top.

As far as other great Seattle burgers, don't miss Palace Kitchen or Betty on top of Queen Anne, which just started a happy hour burger served with hand-cut frites, housemade pickles on a house-baked brioche baked by the talented pastry chef Brittany. Just $8.

Critic-Turned-Cook Gets a Beer Lesson

I stand corrected rockfish42! You are right! Kolsch is an ale... See! I told you my beer skills were lacking...

Laid-off Restaurant Critic's Plan B? Cook

Thanks to everyone for these great suggestions! The subject of sore feet obviously struck a nerve...
Here's what I ended up going with:

Has Anyone Had Sister Schubert's Rolls or Marshall's Biscuits?

Another great story by John T.
Sister Schubert's orange rolls are a little bit of brunch heaven. I also like Mary B's biscuits, but they still pale when stacked up against the fine buttermilk gems at Bryant's Biscuits on Summer Avenue in Memphis. So good. Especially with sorghum!