I’m the co-founder, in-house sommelier, and marketing director for three beautiful restaurant venues in Sai Ying Pun – Brut!, Pondi, and Fat Chad’s.
That’s an interesting question. I guess the broad answer would be that it started years and years ago when I first fell in love with the industry. Most restaurant careerist dream of eventually setting up their own venues. I worked really hard to get here, but was equally fortunate to meet my business partner, George Kwok, when I did. Without him, none of this would have been possible nor would it have ever carried the same kind of magic.
Mostly Sai Ying Pun residents. Brut!, Pondi, and Fat Chad’s have seen a fair amount of exposure recently but it’s our neighborhood that keeps our super special homely vibe going. Within that, our clientele is extremely diverse. We have such an eclectic team that our venues tend to fill up every night with people from every walk of life. We’re very lucky as our customers help us grow and explore different cultures and profiles which we use to better adapt to an ever-changing market.
I take my down time just a seriously as I take the time that I’m inside our restaurants. Part of the process for creatives is making sure that we have time to process and to be inspired. I try to run or hike or do something outside in the mornings before I go into work. From there, the days are usually spent in and out of wine tastings and brainstorming meetings. A lot of time is dedicated to research and writing. I’m responsible for the marketing across all three venues so I do my best to stay on top of the social media. I work service every night at Brut!, so once it hits 6pm, the lights dim and the show begins.
That feels like such an impossible question to answer after the last few months of the pandemic. I want to believe that our business will grow into an ever-evolving hospitality institution where dedicated industry workers will come and go, leaving their marks on our menus and our spaces. However, the truth is that there’s very little visibility at the moment. We’re living day to day and praying that we can continue to build a better tomorrow for our industry and our city.