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Taiwanese chef to treat New Yorkers to special creation

2012/04/16 19:58:07

New York, April 15 (CNA) A female Taiwanese chef recognized by Relais & Chateaux, a global network of individually owned luxury restaurants and hotels, will serve New Yorkers Monday a Taiwan-inspired French dish at an event held by the association.

Chen Lan-shu, who specializes in cooking French food with a Taiwanese twist, will offer diners veal seasoned with osmanthus flowers she brought from Taiwan at the association's second annual Grands Chefs Dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City.

The multi-course dinner, which is part of the network's World Culinary Tour, will feature 45 of its top chefs working in teams of three to create an appetizer, a fish dish and a main course of veal or lamb using the finest American produce.

Chen told CNA that she used Taiwanese mustard seeds preserved with osmanthus petals as she thought the seasoning brought out the best in the veal.

U.S.-sourced morel mushrooms, turnips and pears will also be used to further amplify the character of the meat, Chen added.

In 2011, Chen was named one of the association's Grands Chefs along with 160 mostly Michelin-starred chefs. She was the firstTaiwanese and ethnic Chinese to be awarded the title.

Having developed a love for cooking as a fourth-grader, Chen's passion stayed with her throughout her time studying in the foreign languages department at Taiwan's top university, National Taiwan University.

While others crammed for graduate school tests in the senior year at college, Chen dreamed of being a master of French cuisine. In 2005, she enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu, the world-renowned cookery school in Paris, to learn how to make desserts and later went to ESCF-Ferrandi to study French cuisine.

Chen came back to Taiwan in 2008 and set up Le Mout Restaurant in the central city of Taichung, which she preferred over other urban areas as the city's larger, more affordable premises meant she had a better chance of realizing her dream of operating a big kitchen.

It was not long before the 31-year-old made her mark by turning quintessential Taiwanese dishes, such as bitter gourd with salted duck egg, into French ones using French spices and olive oil.

Another one of Chen's unique creations involved the use of a chili pepper from southern Taiwan's Hengchun area in a gourmet beef dish.

Relais & Chateaux first held the dinner event in France last year and will host its 2013 event in London.

(By Leaf Chiang and Scully Hsiao)