Chef: Mei Lin
Restaurant: Nightshade, Los Angeles
Awards: Winner Top Chef, Season 12
Chinese-American Mei Lin creates food reminiscent of the things she ate as a child, just reimagined. She grew up cooking alongside her father in the family’s Chinese restaurant in Detroit where she learnt how to run an efficient kitchen and business. Lin built her culinary resumé in the restaurants of some of the most recognisable and celebrated chefs in the US, including Michael Symons’ Roast in Detroit, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Las Vegas and Michael Voltaggio’s ink. in Los Angeles.
Lin grew rock star chef status when she won her season (season 12) of Emmy-winning television show Top Chef to much acclaim. Lin’s cooking has a propensity for cross-cultural flavours; her precise cooking style, driven as much by ideas and technique as ingredients; a sense of pointed modernism underscored by a devotion to the pleasures of comfort food.
Lin opened her own restaurant Nightshade in the prospering Arts District in downtown Los Angeles in early 2019 and it echoes the fabric of the neighbourhood’s eclectic and artistic ethos. Nightshade has already received acclaim named Food & Wine’s “Restaurant of the Year” with Lin’s iconic shrimp toast also being named “Dish of the Year”. In addition to her significantly impressive kitchen experience, Lin has enjoyed several accolades, including winning Esquire TV’s Knife Fight, being named one of Eater’s Young Guns in 2014 and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list.