Know More About Keith Lee Food Critic: Tiktok Star Biography. The former MMA star has traded in punches for authentic food reviews.
Keith Lee’s career change is one of the most remarkable in recent history. The former MMA fighter has pivoted to become a beloved food enthusiast and TikTok star, with millions of followers around the world. He has created a niche for himself by being genuine and authentic, and by sharing his passion for food with others.
Lee is a huge trend right now, especially due to his most recent visit to Atlanta as a part of his food tour. Like a Black Santa Claus, Lee went on his merry way spreading love and light throughout ATL. However, he seems to have left a trail of restaurants shaken in his wake as well due to his criticism of Atlanta’s food scene. Even Cardi B has corroborated Keith Lee’s story about the restaurants in ATL. Now a renowned food reviewer, he has come a very long way from his MMA days. For those curious about the personality shaking up TikTok (and the ATL restaurant scene), here’s all you need to know.
Keith Lee Biography
Born on October 4, 1996, Keith Lee first gained media attention duking it out with opponents in the MMA cage. Keith, who is the brother of MMA fighter Kevin Lee, has previously fought in both the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions, going professional at the age of 20 in 2016. Known by the nickname “Killa,” Lee went on to partake in 13 MMA fights. Altogether, he holds a fair record, with eight wins and five losses. On TikTok, Lee shared how he secured a contract with Bellator MMA. “A day after Christmas (2019), I got a call from my manager and I earned a six-figure contract,” he said. Unfortunately, his contract with Bellator was terminated in August 2021, and he became broke again. However, that was probably the best thing to happen to him. The seemingly unfortunate event spurred Lee on to take a step that changed his life forever.
Keith Lee actually started posting content on his TikTok account way back in 2020. For most of his life, he had dealt with social anxiety and wanted to try conquering it through making videos of himself. In an interview with MMA Fighting, he shared, “I originally started doing TikTok to get more comfortable with doing interviews for MMA.” He explained further, “Because, at the time, all I was doing was MMA. Within that, it was about me learning how to slow myself down, how to speak at a more monotone tone. I usually speak this slow anyways, but when I get excited or I get nervous, I talk real fast.”
It would still take a while for the internet personality to finally settle on food reviews. He first pivoted to making more family-related content, often featuring his then-pregnant wife. Subsequently, the unusual cravings she had led Lee to start making cooking videos. Soon after, he was invited to appear on an episode of the popular YouTube show, People Vs Food.
“I was like OK, if I was to be on their show and I was a viewer, what would I look for if somebody was on a different platform?” Lee shared. “What would I look for in order for me to go to their platform and watch their videos? I was like, food reviews. I would watch somebody do food reviews all day. So let me start doing food reviews.”
For all of the long term members of the Lee family We thank you for being here during this whole journey 💕 For the new members Welcome to the family , we also thank you for being here. To myself Thank you for never giving up and trusting God , to my wife Thank you for trust me and what God has for us. To @REACT & @Disney I will see you soon 💕 God is amazing 💕 #thankful #storytime
Lee subsequently became an overnight TikTok sensation. On the platform, he achieved a followership gain of over four million between November 2022 and January 2023. In a vulnerable moment, the food critic shared with MMA Fighting, “I felt very expendable after I lost my contract with Bellator. I promised myself I’m going to build something that no one can take away from me.” Evidently, he has managed to do just that. If nothing else, Keith Lee is a man of his word.
Keith Lee’s rise since he started posting food reviews has been something straight out of a fantasy book. Audiences evidently love his honest reviews, and his followers have grown exponentially since January 2023. While all of this is great for him, perhaps the best part of it all is how he’s used his platform to elevate small food businesses. The Keith Lee effect is no joke, and he has used it positively ever since.
Keith Lee Vs. Atlanta
On his nationwide food tour, Lee recently shook the internet during his stop in Atlanta. In like fashion, the food reviewer intended to highlight food from as many places as he could, and honestly, too. However, he was faced with a surprising obstacle: the unorthodox, and sometimes ridiculous rules of some restaurants in Atlanta. This has since become a major hot topic on social media, garnering all sorts of responses from celebrities, as well as the general public.
Over time, Lee has been vocal about how he does not want to be given special treatment. However, since he has become such a recognizable figure, it’s hard to know whether or not he’s being treated specially. As a result, what he often does these days is have another member of his family place orders or walk into restaurants in his place. Several restaurants in ATL went on to state their rules, including things like limits on dine-in times, no reservations, no waiting areas, hour-long waiting times, etc.
These rules, however, were typically overturned whenever Keith Lee eventually revealed himself. Obviously, if someone was influential enough, these restaurants could break their rules, and Lee just wasn’t a fan of that. Consequently, he shared videos of every time this happened, and it was more than a few times. It happened at The Real Milk & Honey, Old Lady Gang, and Atlanta Breakfast Club, among others. Lee, hoping only to share his experiences at these establishments, always expressed that he did not condone any disrespect towards them. Regardless, chaos ensued, and Lee has said he may have to put his food tour on hold. He prioritizes honesty and transparency, and has since shared, “I’m going to be 100 percent transparent, 100 percent candid, me and my family will postpone touring if other cities are going to be like this. Every review [is] not going to be the best.”
The Keith Lee Effect
As a result of his transparency, Keith Lee has managed to put several rising restaurants on the map. Particularly, many small-time spots have expressed their gratitude for his positive reviews, which has, in turn, boosted their clientele. However, his visit to ATL has led to many on social media to call out the pretentious façade of many restaurants in the city. Nonetheless, Keith Lee forges on, sharing his experiences, one spot after another.