The DL on Chef Desmond Lim

We’re always in awe when we watch chefs display their culinary talents and compete against other contestants on Chopped. Just the thought of preparing an entree under a time constraint makes us nervous! One chef who didn’t seem fazed by the pressure was Desmond Lim, currently the Executive Chef at Trump SoHo New York. We caught up with Chef Lim to learn more about his experience on the show. Also since he’s from (and works) in NY, OF COURSE we had to ask him where some of his favorite places to eat are!

Chef Desmond Lim. Picture courtesy of Trump  SoHo New York.
Chef Desmond Lim. Picture courtesy of Trump SoHo New York.

FP: How did you get your start with cooking?

DL: Cooking was always something I loved. I used to cook with my mom while growing up. At 22, I decided to commit to culinary school and the rest is history.

FP: Name some chefs that have inspired you.

DL: Mario Batali, Jacques Pepin, Emeril Lagasse and Jason Harrison.

FP: Great chefs indeed!

Tell us about your experience on Chopped.

DL: Chopped was a pretty cool experience overall. It was very nerve-wracking before and during the first round. After that, I was much more calm. The final round was more of a competitive feeling because it was just one-on-one and even if you don’t win, you still have much to brag about.

FP: What was the hardest ingredient to work with?

DL: The hardest ingredient I thought was the avocado. I didn’t think the avocado matched any of the other items in the basket.

FP: Which round was the toughest? 

DL: The first because I did not know what to expect.

FP: Those Chopped baskets are definitely full of surprises!

When you’re not working at Trump Soho, what are some of your favorite meals to cook for yourself and/or for friends?

DL: My favorite meals to cook depend on the season. During the Spring/Summer, I love grilling, making appetizers and light meals. During the Fall/Winter, I love slow cooking–soups, braised meats, stews and confit.

FP: When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in NYC or other cities you’ve visited.

DL: In NYC I love Rubirosa, Traif, Totto Ramen and Meatball Shop. In Chicago I love Purple Pig and Slurping Turtle.

FP: More places to add to our ever growing list of places to eat!

What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂

DL: DimSum, oxtail and pork belly.

FP: Yum, yum and yum!

Name three individuals you would want to invite over for dinner and what you would prepare for them. 

DL: I would invite anyone that is hungry and just wants to eat with an open mind. I would prepare fun foods packed full of flavors and textures. I’m big on different textures on the plate.

FP:  In three words, how would your friends and family describe you?

DL: Creative, dependable, knowledgeable.

FP: Your creativity was definitely displayed on Chopped!

If you hadn’t become a chef, what would you be doing? Any non-cooking hobbies? 

DL: Most likely an accountant or a career involving computers. My favorite hobby is snowboarding!!

FP: Thank you Chef Desmond for your time! We wish you continued success! 

As Executive Chef at Trump SoHo New York, Chef Lim oversees the banquet and in-room dining operations for the 391-room AAA Five Diamond luxury hotel which features over 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Chef Lim is a graduate of The French Culinary Institute where he specialized in classic French cooking. He has worked with acclaimed chefs including Michael Mina, Todd English, Julian Serrano and Carla Pellegino.


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