Mei Lin Is Changing The Game For Women & Asian American Chefs In The Food Industry

Wonho Frank Lee

Mei Lin is an award-winning chef, Top Chef winner, and owner of Nightshade. Located in Los Angeles, Nightshade is Lin's first restaurant and is already receiving critical acclaim, thanks to its innovative and thoughtful Asian dishes inspired by her years spent cooking at fine dining establishments, as well as her childhood growing up in her family's Chinese restaurant in the Midwest. In an industry dominated by men, Lin was unafraid to blaze her own trail as an Asian American woman, never forgetting her roots and always staying true to her self. That's why Mei Lin is included in this special edition of Bustle's Must Follow, in which we highlight the incredible Asian American and Pacific Islander voices you need to follow on Instagram and Twitter.

Briefly describe yourself, including how you identify and what you do.

Fierce/resilient

What do you hope people take away from following you/your work in the industry and on social media?

The hospitality industry is tough, but can be very rewarding.

When did you first feel that you were a voice for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community?

When I won Top Chef — that’s when I became relevant and recognizable, nationally. It’s not something I sought out, specifically.

Who's another Asian American or Pacific Islander person you would recommend to follow on social media?

I don’t intentionally seek out people because they are Asian American or a Pacific Islander, but I guess of the people that I actively follow, off the cuff I would recommend Thomas J. Raquel and Maxou Boonthanakit.

Follow Mei Lin and Nightshade on Instagram, @meilin

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.