TikTok-famous food critic Keith Lee ranked eight cities he visited on a food tour that ended last month.
Lee began his “Keith Lee and Family Food Tour” on August 4, trying food at several restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and New York.
Lee ranked the cities in a TikTok video posted Friday. The city at the bottom of his list, Atlanta, may not surprise his supporters. During the tour, Lee gained national attention after documenting his frustrating dining experiences in the Georgian capital, sparking discussion about the city’s culinary scene on social media.
Top of Lee’s list? New Orleans, which he said was partly due to customer service.
“Everywhere we went, I felt like family,” Lee said in the video. “I didn’t feel like I was going to a restaurant. I felt like I was going to Aunt or Mom’s house. I left 15 pounds heavier.”
Where do other cities rank?
According to Lee’s videos on TikTok, he judges the entire experience of ordering or eating at a restaurant.
Lee’s personal judgment is based on how he and his family were treated at a restaurant, the customer service and the taste of the food. Here’s Lee’s ranking, starting with his favorite:
Lee’s controversy in New York
In addition to his controversy in Atlanta, trouble followed Lee to New York when he purchased a sandwich known as “salmon chopped cheese”, embarrassing New Yorkers a bit and potentially explaining in part of why the city ranked 7th for prices. Lee.
“Little did Lee know,” wrote Mashed writer Maria Scinto, “chopped cheese is a sandwich that stirs strong emotions in many people, and salmon is not on the accepted list of ingredients…. A chopped cheese sandwich made with loads of salmon. sacrilege.”
Scinto describes traditional ground cheese as “a slightly less sloppy version of a sloppy Joe, or maybe even a budget Philly cheesesteak made with ground beef.”
“Who suggested salmon chopped cheese?” wrote one TikToker. “As a New Yorker, I have never heard of this a day in my life.”
Another said: “SALMON ????? Chopped cheese ????? Keith, I don’t know.”
Keith Lee interview goes viral
In the same video, Lee eats chopped cheese (which he considers good but “a little salty”) Lee also notes that New York’s customer service was a bit lacking, which came up following his interview with the show of Breakfast Club radio on December 15, which went viral.
During the interview in New York, Breakfast Club host DJ Envy told Lee that he was “a food critic in the neighborhood way.”
“I wouldn’t say neighborhood style. I just eat food,” Lee told DJ Envy in the video. “I criticize everything, not just food, and I experience everything.”
After DJ Envy called Lee a “hood”, which Lee didn’t like, Lee told DJ Envy that he didn’t like being called a “ghetto” but had thick skin for that. don’t bother him. He compared DJ Envy’s treatment of him to his overall experience in New York.
“When I first came in, you called me a ghetto food critic,” Lee said in the interview. “That alone embodies what New York is. New York is cold and they play with you a lot.”
Who is Keith Lee and why does his opinion matter?
Lee, 27, gained more than 15 million followers on TikTok by posting honest food reviews and featuring struggling restaurants.
In an interview with the Breakfast Club, Lee said he offers a free marketing platform to restaurants that offer quality food and service but lack marketing skills.
“I go to places that maybe have just opened or places where people don’t know about them,” Lee told The Breakfast Club. “These places don’t have a social media presence or don’t do a great job of word of mouth. A lot of these places are run by people who don’t have a social media presence.”
Some restaurants across the country have credited Lee’s criticism with sending significant numbers of customers to their doors, such as a Las Vegas pizzeria owner who said his business began to thrive after Lee criticized his food in January.
Lee told The Breakfast Club that he has been a professional MMA fighter for eight years. He transitioned from fighting to becoming a food critic after making videos on TikTok to overcome his anxiety about doing interviews for MMA.
“As an MMA fighter, food is one of the most important things because you have to lose a lot of weight,” Lee told The Breakfast Club. “Going from 170 pounds to 135 pounds is 90 percent diet and 10 percent dedication. So I’ve always had a passion for food and cooking.”