Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Company: Vegetable-focused fine dining restaurant
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Education: Bachelor of social science in political science, University of Ottawa (2008)
Charitable involvement: Taste for Hope, For Pivots Sake
Biggest biz achievement: We are still growing after seven years in business.
Biggest obstacle: Moving to a new location and expanding from the original location. It was almost as tough as starting a new business.
Biggest influence: My mom! She’s my biggest supporter and toughest critic. When I first decided to start the business, she told me that I should be prepared to run a business for at least 10 years no matter how hard it gets. I’m very close to accomplishing that.
Biggest lesson learned: If your vision evolves, be confident in that evolution, even if not everyone agrees with your new direction. When we moved to a new location in Hintonburg, we introduced a new concept that focused on multi-course tasting menus and sharing-style plates. Not everyone thought the new approach was the right choice for the business, but the concept gave us a competitive edge. As a result, we’ve gained new customers from Ottawa and beyond who wouldn’t have tried us out before.
First job: Server at a local restaurant in Peterborough when I was 16.
Advice I’d give the younger me: Keep following your instincts.
What’s left to do: Compete in this year’s Gold Medal Plates in November.
Favourite pastime: Listening to loud music.
I’m currently reading: Alinea, a cookbook by Grant Achatz
Favourite movie: Cafe de Flore
Favourite song: Now I’m All Messed Up by Tegan and Sara; Formation by Beyonce
Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa Senators
Favourite local summer event: Ottawa Bluesfest
Preferred social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Company Twitter handle: @cafemyhouse