My name is Lisa, and I come from a family of food entrepreneurs. I am new to the industry and never thought I’d be asked to share my story tonight… but here it is.
Picture this: I am 8 years old living in China. I find myself drawn to the allure of street food, walking down bustling alleys, picking out skewers of potatoes and vegetables dunking them in a rich and spicy fragrant broth. I would go out for a hot pot - a fondue-type steamboat dish where everyone gathers round and cooks fresh raw meat and veg into a communal pot of soup broth.
After school, I nip into the local noodle shop for a steaming bowl of hearty beef knife-cut flat noodle soup garnished with a dash of coriander. This is the moment I discover the joys of Sichuan food.
Through food I learnt about my heritage and how food underpins many aspects of Chinese values. There are no individual dishes at the table; so it’s kind of like tapas - relationality is key in Confucian culture; we measure our own growth by how we grow our relationships.
The younger generation would always make a point to serve rice first to the elders; the businessmen would pour wine first for their clients, and so on. This holistic and relational way of viewing the world was completely opposite to individual dinner plates and boundaries of the western world. From Fortune 500s, to international NGOs, I am now running my family’s business, where I get the chance of writing my own chapter as a food entrepreneur.
My impact will be to ensure that the emotional and cultural ties which bind me to my family business history are brought to life with each bite.