Ever since winning MasterChef, many people have asked me how can they taste my food and when would I be opening my own place. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally found the right opportunity and I am excited to begin a new chapter in a professional kitchen. What brings me the most joy is to be able to share my culinary creations with other people and make them happy through food. I am and was passionate home cooking when I auditioned for MasterChef season 3. In spite of my vision loss, I won the competition and went on to write a New York Times best-selling cookbook. I have traveled all over the world to take part in events that advocate for women entrepreneurship, disability rights, and Asian-American awareness. My first restaurant, The Blind Goat, is slated to open early 2019 in Houston.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
I am still at the beginning stages of building my restaurant business, The Blind Goat, so there haven’t been too many hurdles yet. I imagine the biggest challenge will be learning how to run a commercial kitchen and restaurant business without having had the experience before AND being visually impaired.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
As a writer and lover of literature, I am constantly reading multiple books. Currently, I am reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, though no entrepreneurship books at this time.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
The Blind Goat hasn’t opened its doors yet, so it’s hard to say. Right now, I would say it’s trusting my instincts.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
The success of a venture depends largely on teamwork.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Constantly reassess your goals. Know when to heed the advice of others and when to trust your gut.