Former Masterchef finalist, radio broadcaster, BBC Presenter, and co-director of one of the city’s most talked about restaurants in recent years.

On paper, a list of Glasgow-based chef Julie Lin’s achievements appears to tell the story of a woman who has always been destined to reach the dizzy heights of celebrity chef stardom.

Speaking as she prepared for a trip to London for her latest culinary adventure, however, the 31-year-old revealed that’s not quite the case.

The Herald:

“I’ve never had a plan or any kind of direct route in mind,” she said.

“I promised myself that I would just keep doing what I was excited about in that present moment and that’s allowed the boat to steer itself.

“Saying yes and always being open to trying new things is also a huge thing for me.

“I mean, even with festival folk back in the day, they would ask me to come along, and I’d agree only to end up standing somewhere in the pissing mid-January rain selling boxes of satay.”

As Julie well knows, saying yes can sometimes come with a degree of sacrifice.

Having spent five years building her reputation as one to watch at Julie’s Kopitiam, a tiny spot that celebrated her Malaysian heritage, the chef sent shockwaves through the city’s food and drink scene by announcing she was calling quits in January.

Thankfully, it was see you later, not goodbye with her co-owned second venue, GaGa in Partick, still very much open for business.

The Herald:

Nonetheless, stepping back from a venture that she had nurtured since her mid-twenties signified a huge step into the unknown for the rising star.

She said: “I think I’ll always miss the Kopitiam, but that door is never closed.

“There might still be somewhere similar in the future, but the timing was right for me to focus on GaGa and other opportunities like teaching cooking classes in schools and TV or radio presenting.

“In today's society, it feels like you’re less likely to be pigeonholed into one specific career.

“We’ve all got such fond memories of the Kopitiam, but it felt necessary to close, and I think the last few months have proven that it was the right decision.”

If there was ever a way to go out with a bang, it was surely by inviting a pair of bonafide British TV icons along to Shawlands for a meal of hearty homemade dumplings and Singapore chilli crab.

In an instance of serendipitous timing, The Hairy Bikers Go local episode starring the Kopitiam was broadcast just weeks before the news of its closure would be announced, despite having been filmed over a year prior.

More than just the perfect way to say goodbye, the experience gifted Julie with a new set of mentors who are well acquainted with the world of TV presenting.

The Herald:

She said: “They say you should never meet your heroes, but they were so much nicer than I had ever even imagined.

“They were so open-minded about food and learning from others which is very similar to the way I feel.

“They’ve been so supportive of everything I’ve done since I shut the Kopitiam, and it was such a lovely to end things.

“It’s helped with GaGa too, and we’re still in touch, so they really have been… Would I call them knights in shining armour?

“Yeah, I suppose so.”

The new friendship couldn’t have come at a better time, with Julie soon going on to appear on an International Women’s Day episode of Saturday Kitchen where an undeniable on-screen charisma led viewers to suggest it was only a matter of time before she secured her own prime time spot.

Asked how she feels about a potential future in showbiz she said: “It would be bananas to say I don’t get a little bit of stage fright.

“But I love talking to people and I’ve spent a lifetime being a really curious person who loves hearing people’s stories.

“In terms of TV that helps a lot.

“I’ve also been so lucky to have been given opportunities where I’m in a really supportive environment, like Saturday Kitchen.

“That’s always been one of my favourite TV shows so to be on it with all of these inspirational women was absolutely amazing.”

The Herald:

Taking things back to the working kitchen, Julie will soon set off for London to take on a four-day residency at Carousel, a creative hub in Fitzrovia known for hosting globally recognised talent.

Looking forward to what the future brings, she ends our conversation by paying tribute to the Glasgow food and drink heroes who she says continue to inspire her journey every step of the way.

She said: “Hospitality can feel like a thankless job because there are so many factors you’re up against, especially in the current climate.

“But actually, I think that’s all the more reason to try and celebrate what I call ‘heart on sleeve businesses’ and there are so many of them in Glasgow.

“The kind of people who are excited about exploring the ideas of culture or identity through food and doing incredible things.

“I walk into these places, and it makes me so happy because it reminds me of when I first opened the Kopitiam.

“Life has been a total whirlwind since, but it’s all so much fun.”

GaGa is located at 556 Dumbarton Road.

Julie's pop-up at Carousel will run from June 6 to 10.