Mei Lin

Top Chef Season 12; Chef & Owner, Daybird

Mei Lin is a renowned culinarian, TV judge, and celebrity chef who has made a name for herself with her innovative and dynamic cuisine, which combines her Chinese heritage with modern culinary techniques. Her culinary career began in high-end restaurants, including Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Las Vegas and Michael Voltaggio’s Ink.

After winning the 12th season of “Top Chef,” Mei rose to national prominence and has since become one of the most exciting and influential chefs in the country. In 2019, she opened her first restaurant, Nightshade, in the downtown Arts District of Los Angeles. Nightshade quickly gained critical acclaim and was named “Best New Restaurant” by Los Angeles Magazine and “Restaurant of the Year” by Eater LA. Since the closing of Nightshade, Mei has continued to innovate and create, launching a line of sauces under her Umamei brand that are frequently sold out. She also opened a first-of-its-kind fast-casual Szechuan Hot Chicken restaurant, Daybird, located in Silver Lake Plaza in Los Angeles, CA.

In addition to her success on “Top Chef,” Mei has been featured on numerous TV shows, including “Iron Chef,” and “Knife Fight.” She has received many awards and accolades for her cooking, including being named a “Young Gun” by Eater, 30 Under 30 by Zagat and 2020 “Best New Restaurant” finalist by the James Beard Foundation.

Mei is known for her versatility and creativity in crafting unforgettable dishes for celebrity events and award shows. Her expertise has earned her numerous high-profile collaborations, including creating custom menus for the Academy Awards Governors Ball and serving as a judge on popular TV shows like Food Network’s “Chopped,” “Supermarket Stakeout,” “Beachside Brawl,” and “Guy’s Ranch Kitchen.” She’s also served as a judge on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Most recently, Mei won Food Network’s “Tournament of Champions” Season 4, a high-stakes culinary competition that brought together some of the biggest names in the industry. Her success in this competition only further cemented her status as a leading figure in the culinary world.