Hee Sook Lee, a first-generation South Korean immigrant and founder of the BCD Tofu House based in Los Angeles, has passed away.
Lee died in early or mid-July, but no cause of death has been given, according to LAist.
The Koreatown Youth and Community Center broke the news of her death on July 28 in a Facebook post: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, BCD Tofu House Wilshire graciously partnered with KYCC for our Emergency Hot Meal Delivery Program, which brought Korean fare to limited-income elders who were isolated in the citywide quarantine. We are so grateful for the support from Ms. Lee and her BCD family.”
When Lee opened BCD Tofu House in 1996 in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, she named it after Buchang Dong in Seoul, the same location where her mother-in-law once opened her own restaurant.
BCD is known for its sundubu-jjigae stew, which consists of vegetables, seafood, sliced meats and egg.
The tofu house became “a small empire that has spawned numerous imitators,” the Los Angeles Times described in 2008.
When asked about her secret to a successful business, Lee said one has to devote their time and effort.
“To succeed in anything, you just have to be fanatically devoted to it,” Lee said at a South Korean government-sponsored convention in 2006. “No matter what other people tell you, you shouldn’t look back.”
Since the opening of the first BCD on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown, Lee has opened 14 locations in Los Angeles County, Orange County, New York and New Jersey, and Texas.
Feature Image via thebcdtofu