Food for Thought

Season 6 MasterChef finalist Stephen Lee hosts locally sourced feast.

Lori Cohen-Sanford Restaurants

Locally sourced beef from Da-Le Ranch in Lake Elsinore, Calif., will be the featured entrée course at a private residence in Palm Springs for the “Naturally Sourced 7-Dish Feast” hosted in partnership with MasterChef and EatWith.

Imagine being a MasterChef contestant, continually having to up your game to compete successfully in the top-level cooking competition.

Season 6 MasterChef Stephen Lee, a Palm Springs resident, proved that he can stand the heat. And just because he’s not competing doesn’t mean he isn’t striving to create awesome dishes for anybody with taste buds.

As part of a partnership between MasterChef and EatWith, an outfit that promotes the global exploration of food where, as its website suggests, “strangers become friends,” Lee is offering a singular dining experience Nov. 4 for Greater Palm Springs foodies. Interested eaters may register via the website ( to attend this and other dining events around the world that promise, according to EatWith CEO Susan Kim on the website, “a new alternative for chef-hosted dining events in a more intimate and authentic experience you can’t get in a restaurant.”

VIDEO: Shop with chef Stephen Lee at the Palm Desert certified farmers’ market.

Lee is excited about the partnership and for the opportunity to “create my own event and experience. I want this dinner to show my joy of cooking. Everything will be from scratch. It helps me become a better chef by being able to practice my timing, techniques, and flavor profiles.”

The dinner champions locally sourced ingredients. The menu will have a Middle Eastern influence because, Lee says, “lately I have been into the spices so prevalent in this cuisine.”

Chilled Herb Soup with tomatoes and sourdough will be one of the seven dishes prepared by chef Stephen Lee for guests at a private residence in Palm Springs.

Almost as much as food the event is about the exchange between the guy who’s making the meal and the people who are eating it. Lee hopes people will “come to the dinner to strike up conversation and relax, and have fun.” He hopes to build a collective of fine food fans in Palm Springs and a network of farmers, chefs, local businesses, and fans of MasterChef.

Seats for the Nov. 4 dinner are limited. Visit to book a seat. The cost is $115 per person, and it’s BYOB.

It’s not a MasterChef dinner without chocolate. Lee’s dessert contribution is Baked Chocolate Ganache with orange oil and pop rocks.