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Taiwanese claims title of Asia's 'Best Female Chef'

SINGAPORE -- Taiwanese chef Chen Lan-shu was named as "Asia'a Best Female Chef" for 2014 in Singapore on Monday at an event organized by William Reed Business Media.

"This award recognizes the commitment, creativity and talent of women in Asia's restaurant industry and (Chen) is a hugely worthy recipient," said Jean Marc Lacave, president and CEO of the best female chef award's corporate sponsor Veuve Clicquot.

Giving thanks for the recognition she received at the award ceremony — part of the "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants" program — Chen said she felt very honored and was proud to share the honor with her team.

"I could not believe it when I learned I was given the honor. I thought I would get it at a later time," Chen told CNA.

Chen is the head chef at French restaurant Le Mout, which she opened in Taichung in 2008.

Her restaurant serves a menu inspired by Chen's extensive culinary training in France as well as local ingredients, and the chef stressed that she would continue to use homegrown ingredients to create unique French cuisine for her customers.

"Taiwanese ingredients have a lot of potential and variation that can be highlighted in French cuisine. It's amazing and quite fun to create (new dishes)," she said.

"It has been a trend for chefs to use local ingredients to cook in recent years, and doing so helps us reflect on how to better interact with nearby environment. It is a show of respect for the land and a sign of sustainable thinking on the part of chefs," she said.

The 33-year-old Taiwanese chef received a classical food education in France at the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts and earned a pastry diploma at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris before moving on to work with industry heavyweights such as Pierre Herme and Thomas Keller.

She once described her work producing new dishes as an extension of every step in her life, adding that she feels she is "creating a culinary map belonging to myself and this land."

The "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants" program, launched in February 2013, was an outgrowth of the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" competition launched by William Reed Business Media in 2002.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list covers North, East, Southeast and South Asia. The list of restaurants was voted for by the World's50 Best Restaurants' academy of judges as part of the overall voting for the World's 50 Best Restaurants.

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