Marilou Covey: Remembering Chef Susur Lee’s First Wife

Real Name:Marilou Dianne Covey
Birthday:June 17, 1949 - September 1, 1983
Net WorthN/A
Occupation:Late Wife of Susur Lee

Marilou Covey was an educator, author, and humanitarian whose life story intersects with notable historical and personal events.

Born in Canada, she devoted her life to teaching and humanitarian work. Her passion for education led her across the globe, enriching the lives of those she taught.

Marilou’s life took a romantic turn when she met the now-celebrated chef Susur Lee in Hong Kong, culminating in a marriage that brought together diverse cultural worlds.

Together, they had two sons, Kai and Levi, who would grow up to honor their mother’s international legacy.

Tragically, Marilou Covey’s life was cut short in an event that sent shockwaves around the world.

In 1983, as part of a family move to Hong Kong, Marilou boarded Korean Air Lines Flight 007, which would become infamously known for being shot down by a Soviet jet fighter after inadvertently violating Soviet airspace.

The incident not only marked a grave moment in Cold War history but also left behind a family who would remember and celebrate her life’s contributions.

Key Takeaways

  • Marilou Covey was a Canadian teacher and humanitarian married to chef Susur Lee.
  • Her life took an international trajectory, leading to significant personal and cultural collaborations.
  • Covey’s untimely death on Korean Air Lines Flight 007 left an enduring impact on her family and legacy.

Early Life and Career

Marilou Covey’s journey before her untimely passing was one marked by love, education, and a fateful meeting that led her to become part of a culinary legacy. She was more than the wife of a prominent chef; she was a guiding force in her own right.

Culinary Beginnings

He may not have known it at the time, but Susur Lee’s venture into the culinary world in the 1970s would set the stage for his future fame.

Beginning his career in Hong Kong, Lee honed his skills by combining Eastern and Western culinary techniques.

His passion for food and commitment to excellence propelled him from modest beginnings to becoming a professional chef noted for his ingenuity.

Rise to Fame

Susur Lee’s move to Canada in the late 1970s marked a turning point in his professional life.

In Toronto, he quickly established himself as a celebrity chef known for his innovative approach to cuisine.

Lee’s rise to fame was boosted by appearances on the Food Network and other culinary platforms, which showcased his unique fusion of flavors and elevated him to the status of a culinary visionary.

Personal Milestones

In 1976, while teaching English in Hong Kong, Marilou Covey touched the life of Susur Lee in a way that transcended their individual careers.

Their shared love of food and culture blossomed into a romantic relationship. By 1978, they had married, blending their lives and ambitions.

Over the course of their marriage, they welcomed two sons, Kai and Levi, adding to Susur’s three children with his second wife, Brenda.

Culinary Ventures and Achievements

At the heart of Marilou Covey’s legacy is her connection to the culinary world through her husband, Susur Lee, a maestro of fusion cuisine. Their shared passion for food led to establishing a restaurant empire revered for its innovation and excellence.

Innovating Fusion Cuisine

Susur Lee, renowned for blending Eastern and Western flavors, has creatively spearheaded fusion cuisine.

The Susur Lee Restaurant Group has been a foundation for this culinary exploration, much of which began at Lotus, a New York eatery that rose to fame under Lee’s vision.

  • Signature Dishes:
    • Singapore Slaw – A vibrant, textured salad that became an instant classic.

Award-Winning Restaurants

The crescendo of Lee’s career can be found in the success of Lee Restaurant and its siblings like Bent.

These establishments have not only won awards but also the hearts of food enthusiasts.

  • Notable Accolades:
    • Critically acclaimed menus
    • Prestigious culinary recognitions

Television and Public Appearances

Susur Lee’s charisma has frequently landed him on the television screen, making guest appearances as a judge on shows like Iron Chef America, Chopped Canada, and MasterChef Asia.

His stint on Top Chef Masters showcased his culinary prowess to a broader audience.

  • TV Highlights:
    • Iron Chef Canada
    • Food Network appearances

Personal Life and Legacy

Exploring the life of Marilou Covey brings us closer to understanding her as the dedicated wife of Susur Lee, a loving mother to their children, and a compassionate humanitarian whose influence is felt deeply.

Family Ties

Marilou Covey became part of a remarkable culinary legacy when she married Susur Lee, a renowned chef and restaurateur, in 1978.

Their union was not just a bond of love but a blending of cultures and passions.

Together, they had two sons, Kai and Levi, who not only shared their parents’ love for the family but were also exposed to a life rich in culinary tradition.

Their family expanded with the birth of their youngest son, Jet Bent-Lee, who followed into the culinary world, forever intertwining the Covey-Lee family with gastronomic pursuits.

Tragic Loss and Resilience

Tragedy struck on September 1, 1983, when Marilou Covey was aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007 which was shot down by a Soviet jet fighter.

This event was a devastating blow to the Lee family and the broader community she influenced.

Her untimely death was mourned by many, yet it became a catalyst for her family to exemplify resilience.

Susur Lee, often recognized for his appearances on Iron Chef, continued to honor her legacy through his culinary creations and dedication to family values.

Influence and Philanthropy

Marilou Covey’s spirit of generosity and commitment to bettering the lives of others lived on through her family’s engagement in philanthropy and mentoring.

Embracing the importance of culinary education, Susur Lee ensured that the values instilled by Marilou extended beyond their immediate family, touching the lives of aspiring chefs and the community at large.

Their involvement in various charitable causes, inspired by Marilou’s dedication to service, has made a lasting impact demonstrating that her legacy of love and humanity carries forward.

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.