Only two years after opening, Chef Jimmy Lim’s JL Studio in Taichung has already garnered considerable acclaim, culminating in being named as the winner of the Miele One To Watch Award for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
Marrying Singaporean and South East Asian flavours with the best of fresh Taiwanese ingredients, JL Studio is the result of Lim’s travels around the world and his experiences at world-famous restaurants as seen through the eyes of a true Singaporean.
Growing up in Singapore, the chef had hospitality in his DNA, as his father owned a hawker stall in the city-state where he prepared traditional dishes such as fish head curry, chilli crab and clay pot tofu. Lim’s father proved to be an inspiration for him when his dreams of becoming a professional basketball player were interrupted by a sudden knee injury.
The chef’s newfound love for the kitchen led him to enrol at the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre and to sign up to various cooking competitions, where he started to get recognition for his inventive take on Singaporean dishes.
Honing his skills at restaurant Le Moût under award-winning chef Lanshu Chen, Lim perfected his knowledge of French cuisine before he embarked on a series of restaurant stages around the world that expanded his vision and taught him to see things from a different perspective. From Copenhagen’s Noma to New York’s Per Se, Lim accumulated a wealth of knowledge that he would put to use at his debut solo restaurant.
When he returned to Taiwan in 2017, he first thought he would open a European restaurant – but as the opening drew closer, he found that the concept didn’t feel true to his spirit. Since then, Lim has been on a mission to prove that Singaporean food is more than traditional dishes such as chicken rice, creating his own personal interpretation of Mod-Sing cuisine.
Marrying the best produce from Taiwan – 90% of the ingredients used at the restaurant come from nearby farms – with South East Asian spices, Lim set out to deconstruct Singapore’s traditional dishes and re-imagine them for the 21st century. Thus, JL studio was born.
Through dishes such as Satay – where the chef reimagines the classic peanut sauce as an ice cream shaved on frozen foie gras, onion, cucumber and fried chicken skin – and Seafood Ho Fan, a nest of flat rice noodles served with vegetables and a seafood sauce, JL Studio is giving a delicious new shape to the many influences and forms of Singaporean cuisine.
Now read the interview with Jimmy Lim on the 50 Best blog.