Family and food are like gin and tonic — they’re good on their own, but better together. Sister act Hannah and Marian Cheng — co-founders of New York City’s popular dumpling spot Mimi Cheng’s — launched their joint venture with a simple concept: high-quality ingredients and a killer family recipe. Here, we caught up with the business owners about fashion, finance and what sets their dumplings apart from the rest.
Dreaming of something and seeing it physically materialize through a process you control. When you own and run your own business, how fast or slow something can happen is up to you.
And the most challenging part…
Managing a large and diverse team with very different backgrounds. Management is definitely the hardest and most rewarding part of the business. It’s forced us to become better communicators and leaders.
Working with your sister…
It’s the best part. We used to have the opposite schedule and never saw each other even though we lived together. Now we can get breakfast, work out with our favorite trainer (Stephen Cheuk of S10) together, and see each other more often.
Something people don’t know about Hannah…
Marian Cheng: She painted a lot of the artwork that’s hanging up in our restaurants.
Something people don’t know about Marian…
Hannah Cheng: She looks tiny but she can do 9 legitimate pull-ups.
MC: It’s a 180. There’s nothing about fashion that prepares you for restaurant life. It was a steep learning curve.
The transition from finance to food…
HC: A fast-casual restaurant and a trading floor have some similarities in the sense of urgency and fast-paced environment of the kitchen. The kitchen team needs to know how to communicate as succinctly and clearly as possible just like when you’re dealing with millions of dollars on a trading floor. Both teams need to know how to focus and think quickly on their feet when things get stressful.
Pro-tips for the perfect dumpling…
Use the highest quality and freshest ingredients you can find.
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