Get involved with the bCreator Awards 2024

Shu Lin talks work commissions & celebrating her vulnerability

When Shu Lin ascended the stage at the bCreator Awards to accept the Food bCreator of the Year Award she did so with tears in her eyes after the shock of hearing her name called out by hosts Matthew & Ryan. It’s safe to say it was an unexpected and happy surprise!

In an Instagram Reel Shu shared a segment of her poignant speech and reflected on her upbringing in a Chinese Takeaway and how she “never saw faces like ours reflected onto the screens” and hoped to see more East Asian and South East Asian food on the map.

For 12 years Shu has been creating content online and has accumulated over 500 videos on her YouTube Channel. In 2020 Shu participated in a BBC series called ‘A Very British History‘.

We had the pleasure of catching up with Shu post-Awards to find out more about her personal and online journey…

You’ve been commissioned to produce 10 videos by BBC Good Food! How did this opportunity arise and what has that process been like?

This BBC Good Food commission has been an absolute LIFE HIGHLIGHT. I was introduced by BBC TalentWorks and after pitching the Good Food team 10 different ideas – all of which were easy, simple recipes inspired by my favourite Cantonese, Korean and East Asian dishes – to my surprise, they were all commissioned?!

I presented, filmed and edited the entire series from my little London kitchen – one of my most ambitious projects to date but also the proudest (it was extra rewarding devouring the whole lot afterwards)!

I may not be a professional chef but if these homemade recipes can introduce my interpretation of my culture to a wider audience, then I couldn’t be prouder!

Shu Lin

The teams are also an absolute dream to work with, I’m still not over it!

Where did your passion for food come from and why did you choose to start sharing it online?

Food is the ultimate love language in my household – it was the way to learn about my heritage, my culture and a better understanding of my parents. They may not say “I love you” verbally but they’ll definitely show their love to you through food and cut fruit.

I grew up in a Chinese takeaway and loved seeing the differences between British Chinese dishes and the traditional Cantonese ones we’d eat at home. It naturally crossed over to travel and I wanted to keep a video scrapbook of everything I ate to remember the experiences by! Here we are 12 years later still loving life eating my way around the world.

How has winning this Award inspired you as a content creator? Has it encouraged you to pursue any projects, ideas or goals?

I burst into happy tears when my name was called out for the award. It’s one of my proudest moments of my career –  I still can’t believe it. (Thank you Alice, Jamie and the judges!)

I’ve always wanted to pursue presenting but didn’t think it would ever be a possibility – until I built my own platforms online. Next year, I want to focus even more on presenting, cooking and developing ideas that will celebrate our rich and beautiful cultures even further! 

When exploring places around the world, how important is it for visitors to immerse themselves in the local cuisine? What have been some of your favourite experiences?

To me, the best way to first learn about a culture is through its food. While I LOVE trying traditional dishes, I’ve been even more interested to explore what “local” cuisine actually means.

Just like British Chinese food was adapted to regional palettes, I want to see how other communities have drawn influences from their heritage and where they’ve immigrated to and how they’ve created their own cuisine unique to that destination!

I was recently in Hong Kong and found this at the restaurant Hong Kong Cuisine 1983 in Happy Valley. The exec chef Silas Li brought his experiences of being classically French-trained and infused it within the methods of traditional Chinese cooking. What came out of it was a unique blend of both cuisines that drew the best of both worlds together in taste, presentation and flavour. Mind blowing experience.

Alongside food, you also share personal content about how you view yourself and your own self worth. How has being a content creator influenced this journey?

I love any opportunity to be able to celebrate vulnerability. It’s scary at first – but taking ownership of our beautiful, big messy hearts is ultimately what makes us human.
I don’t want to only share the highlights of my life, because it isn’t representative of reality and on our sad days, there’s comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in feeling the way you do.

People say that misery loves company but I think company can also bring you out of misery.

Shu Lin

Building this incredible community online means we know we all have each other’s backs and I want to be able to facilitate that as much as possible. I’ll bang on about this until the end of time but representation matters and our differences should be celebrated and not a cause for division.

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Thanks to Fordtography & Zoe Griffin Photo for photographing the bCreator Awards 2023.