TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
Devoted to establish a relationship between the food and the people, Richie Lin, the leading chef of MUME, aspires to speak for our society through the power of food and to introduce the sustainable food culture to more consumers. Founded in Taiwan six years ago, MUME once again receives the honorary Michelin star and ranks as number 18 of the 50 Best Restaurants in Asia this year—with every step and milestone representing Richie’s many years of hard work and diligence.
市場不斷升級，MUME從2015年創立之初秉持著永續、環保與在地食材的概念成功闖出一番天地，林泉深信餐飲業要勇於創新與顛覆世人價值，從細節看出差異去掉守舊思想，凝聚團隊合作力量，找到有目標有態度的，他認為這是他選擇員工最看重的。他一手打造的MMHG餐飲集團旗下擁有多間餐廳，在疫情陰霾全球餐廳紛紛倒閉，他卻於去年七月份新開了一間餐廳位於晶華酒店B2 COAST，他透露其實是個很早做出的決定，因緣際會與晶華酒店創辦人潘思源從MUME忠實顧客變成了趣味相投的朋友，當時潘總和他說想把Taste Lab改成開放性空間，問及有沒有好玩的想嘗試，故有了以「海鮮」鮮味為核心COAST的誕生。
Think with Prospective
Although the market continues to fluctuate and upgrade, MUME is still able to carve out a niche by upholding the concept of only using sustainable, local produce since 2015, the year when it first opened in Taiwan. Richie strongly believes that the culinary industry needs to have the courage to create and dismantle the static stereotypes, to look in between the details in order to eliminate any outdated mindsets and practices. Establish strong support for a cohesive teamwork and to always have a clear vision and goal to work towards—these are the qualities he finds most important in his employees. Richie single-handedly founded MUME Hospitality Group (MMHG), which owns several different restaurants. With the pandemic looming over the global culinary industry and causing many to shut down, he surprisingly launched his new restaurant, COAST, last July at the Regent Hotel. Richie explains that it was a decision made a long time ago, when he befriended the founder of Regent, Mr. Steven Pan, who also happens to be a loyal customer of MUME. Back then, Mr. Pan told Richie that he wanted to turn Taste Lab into an open space and asked the one-star chef if there was anything fun he wanted to play with with the new restaurant—thus, an unprecedented “oceanic” restaurant serving coastal cuisine, COAST, was born.
The Clash of Molecular Cuisine
Just a few feet away from MUME, a private cooking studio established exclusively for Richie to brainstorm and come up with more fusion dishes. Walking into the extended area, you will find that the shelves are stacked with all kinds of English books on culinary arts. Having learned from restaurant management and improved his culinary skills immensely, Richie emphasizes that the main reasons are that he acquired his knowledge through the study of recipe books and the implementation of a systematic learning routine. “To me, cooking is all about science and logic. Physics and chemistry explain the reactions—heat conduction, the blending of water and oil, the changing of molecules. I’m very into the science behind cooking.” Searching for inspirations within the construct, a fine dining chef is exactly like a professional athlete. He mentions how, when it comes to team management, his role has slowly gone from being the player on the field, to the coach who gives orders on the sideline. “My time spent in the kitchen will only decrease. So I want to use my experience to provide more effective and accurate advice. The most important thing is how do you lead your restaurant to success through efficient management.”
“I love doing private dinner parties. It’s the only time I get to actually do the cooking.” As an annual tradition, Richie hosts twenty parties each year and accumulates different experiences and new friends along the way. It is challenging to take the most common, simple ingredients, and turn them into a brand new dish. Vegetarian diets, meat substitutes, non-dairy milk—the trends of global cuisine are evolving and people’s dining culture is changing. While humans are progressing towards a sustainable, biodegradable living style, the survival of physical stores becomes a pressing matter; Richie believes that experimental services and the purity of savour are the key. The younger generation needs to maintain their passion and to constantly reflect and improve themselves. Looking back on his culinary career, he speaks with his eyes flickering with this tenderness, “Never give up and never be afraid to restart. To be honest, there are a lot of good opportunities out there. But kids nowadays only want to see the immediate results.” Using culinary as a medium, Richie devotes his time to philanthropy to help the disadvantaged and the kids who need the support. He aspires to broaden his brand culture to merchandise and events, and to improve the Taiwanese culinary industry and the agricultural environment to make the world a better place.