Lin was born in China, grew up in Canadá, and trained in Australia. He is now chef at Mume, a small restaurant in Taiwan that saw the fastest rise to the top in the 50Best list for 2018. He defines his cuisine as “western with Asian techniques”. It is a delicate, sensitive, highly aesthetic cuisine that is based on the amazing native produce available in Taiwan, the exuberant and welcoming land that he considers home.

January 30, 2019

He opened his talk with a wild pepper, one of his favourite ingredients, that he uses in cocktails, ice creams, desserts, in powder form, etc. This hinted at what was to come and helps answer the question as to why he opened his restaurant in Taiwan. For products like this, for the immense potential of the natural produce and of the actual location. Another example: fig seeds to which he only adds water – a technique used by the natives of Taiwan, who produce a dessert from these seeds – so that, together, the seeds form a natural jelly without the need to add heat.

For the dish he presented, his interpretation of Cantonese pigeon, he first soaked the pigeon in brine with the aim of protecting its flavour. It was then dried for eight days and submerged in water with maltose and vinegar. After then drying it again at room temperature, it is dipped in oil and cooked at low temperature. Lin combines several teas and spices to smoke the pigeon in a pan with steam. A laborious process, with the various stages being repeated more than once, before the final frying.

Colour is important in his presentations. Sometimes he uses several tones. In this case, purple. He uses roselle vinegar, a local product, and dehydrated, fried soy beans. And beetroot. The legs and bones of the pigeon are cooked longer than the breast to make a sauce that will cover the garnishes – the beetroot purée, the dried roselle, the soy, all to accompany the boned breasts.

Richie Lin, a star. Mume is beauty, colour, time.