Greater Taichung chef Chen Lan-shu (陳嵐舒) was named this year’s “Asia’s Best Female Chef” in Singapore on Monday at an event organized by William Reed Business Media.
“This award recognizes the commitment, creativity and talent of women in Asia’s restaurant industry and [Chen] is a hugely worthy recipient,” said Jean Marc Lacave, president and chief executive of the award’s corporate sponsor, Veuve Clicquot.
In her speech upon receiving the award at the ceremony — part of the “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” program — Chen said she felt very honored and was proud to share the award with her team.
“I could not believe it when I learned I had won the title. I thought I would get it at a later time,” Chen said.
Chen is the head chef at French restaurant Le Mout, which she opened in the then-Taichung in 2008.
Her restaurant serves a menu inspired by Chen’s extensive culinary training in France as well as local ingredients, and she stressed that she would continue to use homegrown ingredients to create unique French cuisine for her patrons.
“Taiwanese ingredients have a lot of potential and variations, which can be highlighted in French cuisine. It’s amazing and quite fun to create [new dishes],” she said.
“It has become a trend in recent years for chefs to use local ingredients in their dishes and doing so helps us reflect on how to better interact with our environment. It shows respect for the land, and is a sign of sustainable thinking on the part of chefs,” she said.
The 33-year-old received a classical food education in France at the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts and earned a diploma in pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, before moving on to work with culinary heavyweights such as Pierre Herme and Thomas Keller.
She once described her work producing new dishes as an extension of every step in her life, adding that she feels she is “creating a culinary map belonging to myself and this land.”
The “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” program, launched in February last year, is an offshoot of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” competition launched by William Reed Business Media in 2002.