"Follow your heart and follow your palate. You should always love what you do and follow your feelings and your instincts."
Acclaimed chef Lea Linster won a Michelin star in 1987 and owns three restaurants in Luxembourg. She became a gold medal winner of the 1989 Bocuse d'Or, which made her the first and to date only woman to ever accomplish this. Women in The Food Industry co-founder, Mecca Ibrahim, spoke to Mrs Linster about her inspirations and how she put Luxembourgian cuisine on a global map with her achievements.
Léa Linster took over her father's restaurant in Frisange in southern Luxembourg in 1982. She had always said when she was young that she would bring a Michelin star to the village and within five years, she won a Michelin star in 1987.
She said "Winning Bocuse d’Or was a true highlight of my career, as it meant global recognition. But the inspiration for the Bocuse d'Or was easy for me as I made everything that I loved. My standards of quality are very high. As a child we traveled a lot for food, and always for the best ingredients.
Now I have passed on that love of food and passion for quality ingredients to my son Louis who has taken over the family restaurant and runs it with dynamism, talent and great pride".
When asked who most inspired her she said "Joel Robuchon, who I used to work with and there is no one quite like him. I also admire the French chefs and restaurateur brothers Pierre and Jean Troisgro, Swiss chef Frédy Girardet and of course Paul Bocuse."
With favourite dishes, Mrs Linster has surprisingly simple tastes: "I love potatoes" she said. "Good potatoes with good butter and some sea salt can be one of the best dishes for me. In Luxembourg we have some of the best butter in the world. Also “Saddle of Lamb Bocuse d’Or” is my signature dish. I have a saying: “First I made my lamb and then my lamb made me.”
Her best advice for today's chefs is to "Follow your heart and follow your palate. You should always love what you do and follow your feelings and your instincts. Your favourite dish is probably one that you will make the most famous".
Read the full interview with Léa Linster on Women in the Food Industry's website.