When Chef Lien Lin was in high school, she and her friends would often eat lemongrass marinated chicken, with red rice, fish sauce and fresh cucumber slices at local Vietnamese cafes.
She was inspired by these nostalgic hangouts when creating the Glazed Chicken on our Featured Menu this month. Her current interpretation features tomato rice, mustard greens and nuoc mam (fish dipping sauce).
Not an unsurprising dish since the the now chef and co-owner of Bricolage, a modern Vietnamese gastropub located in Brooklyn, says that what inspires her in the kitchen is real life. “I love being in touch with my roots and my family. I’m always trying to bring back childhood memories through the food I cook and create new ones with my family.”
For those who don't have much time to cook (or might not feel confident in the kitchen!), Lin advises to not be afraid to try new things. “Trial and error is the best way to learn. Relax and enjoy the process and the food!” And aside from eating RealEats, she says that planning, batch cooking, and freezing are your best friends.
‘Sure, that might be easy for a chef to say’ you might be thinking! But Chef Lin gets real:
“I run a restaurant and manage a 7-year-old and 14-month-old at home. I need to plan out meals for the week to make it work. I usually only cook 3-4 times per week, eating leftovers or variations of leftovers the rest of the week.”