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A 29-Year-Old Woman Is Now Running The Momofuku Restaurant Empire

When Marguerite Mariscal started interning for Chef David Chang in 2011, Momofuku was about to open up in Australia. Toronto came next, and with all the momentum, the budding restaurant group then took on funding from outside investors for the first time.

Soon after, Chang recalls, “there was a lull.” An era of “complacency” ensued. His next big project—Nishi, a take on Italian food made solely with Asian ingredients—opened in 2016. What Chang calls “a real painful moment” followed. The New York Times wrote that Chang’s usual magic was showing “a little wear.”

“It was, honestly, all my fault. I wasn’t a good enough leader, and I didn’t prepare us to be successful. I wasn’t doing my job. I was, quite frankly, all over the place. It was fear of change, fear of growing up, fear of taking chances,” Chang recalls. “I had thought that what’s good for me is going to be good for the company. And I swore to myself that I was never going to do that again.”

But Chang says Mariscal worked tirelessly against it, proving herself during hard times. She hopped on the line to prep before service, worked the door at private events without being asked and helped out when the in-house reservation system wasn’t working. “She’s probably the most respected employee we have in the whole company, because there is nothing that she won’t do herself, if needed. You can’t say that for a lot of people. You just really can’t,” Chang says. “As she got promoted and had more and more say, I realized she understands Momofuku better than me sometimes, maybe more. She’s seen the highs, and she’s seen the very lows.”

Now Chang is stepping aside to focus on media and work with Momofuku’s next-generation chefs, along with spending more time with his newborn son. And Mariscal, a New York native and member of the iconic Zabar’s family, will become Momofuku’s first official CEO at just 29 years old.

“I’m not tasked as being a steward of the brand. Dave wants me to basically be a custodian of change. He wants to make sure that I’m the person who is making sure that we’re moving forward,” says Mariscal, who was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 food and drink list in 2018. “If I don’t, if things don’t change, if we progress on the kind of trajectory that we are now, that’s failure.”

Chef David Chang brings his ramen to Toronto in 2012.

Chef David Chang brings his ramen to Toronto in 2012.

Toronto Star via Getty Images

Previously Momofuku’s creative director and chief of staff, Mariscal is now in charge of an empire that includes 14 locations, from critically acclaimed Majordomo in Los Angeles to the revamped Noodle Bar location recently opened on New York’s Upper West Side. There’s a new, potentially scalable, concept, too: a Momofuku-inspired Asian convenience store called Peach Mart, with a new flagship inside the shops at Hudson Yards. (And it’s Hudson Yards’ billionaire developer Stephen Ross who backs RSE Ventures, the owner of a minority stake in Momofuku. There are also some other small private investors.)

“For us to grow, the most Momofuku thing is to break with what we are already doing, not try to distill it and franchise it. It’s really figuring out how do you scale without losing what made Momofuku successful in the first place, but at the same time, knowing what made us successful is not going to work moving forward,” Mariscal adds.

She is also taking charge of Momofuku’s growing consumer packaged goods business, which started selling its own Korean chili Ssam Sauce in select Whole Foods locations in 2015. Last year, Momofuku’s partner Kraft Heinz initiated a relaunch, and it now can be found in 3,800 locations nationwide, as well as Amazon. Momofuku says sales increased 38 times from 2017 to 2018 but declined to provide specific figures.

Mariscal says the company is already planning to launch two more products: a fermented chickpea paste called Hozon, featured in Nishi’s signature ceci e pepe, and Bonji, the soy sauce alternative made from fermented grains, not soybeans. Momofuku has previously sold these to other restaurants and distributors but never to customers.

“It was proven really early on to me that Momofuku was a meritocracy. There really isn’t a lot of red tape,” Mariscal says. “We encourage people to come in, learn the systems and then make recommendations as to how to make it better. We have no sacred cows.”

Follow Chloe on Twitter and Instagram.

I cover all things food and drink as a staff writer at Forbes, from billionaires and ag tech startups to CPG entrepreneurs and wine.

Source: A 29-Year-Old Woman Is Now Running The Momofuku Restaurant Empire

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Meals And Manicures: Inside A Billionaire’s Booming—And Unconventional—Restaurant Empire

This past fall was pretty hectic for Zhang Yong. His popular restaurant company, Haidilao, was entering the public stock market, and he was also determined for the business to keep up its frenetic growth. A second Hong Kong location of Haidilao was debuting, and shortly after its doors swung open for the first time, Zhang dropped in for an inspection. As he walked through, servers and cooks rushed out to meet him, eager to greet Zhang da ge, or “big brother Zhang……..”

Source: Meals And Manicures: Inside A Billionaire’s Booming—And Unconventional—Restaurant Empire

Top 10 Industry Secrets That Make You Buy More Food – Be Amazed

Be Amazed at these top 10 sneaky industry secrets that make you buy more food! Endorsement secrets – We all know that for years, food companies have paid celebrities to endorse their products. Think Justin Timberlake and McDonald’s, or Snoop Dogg and Hot Pockets. Fast food secrets – When it comes to using ingenious tricks to get you to buy more food, the fast food industry are the absolute masters.

They stop at nothing to make sure we’re always filling our faces with burgers, fries and nuggets. It’s a fact that sugar is addictive. Processing secrets – It’s not just sugar that’s addictive. There are all kinds of mysterious substances that we can get addicted to, and you can bet the food industry make sure our food is loaded with as much of them as possible. Restaurant secrets –

You probably think I’m being a bit harsh on the fast food industry here. Let me redress the balance. The guys at the other end of the spectrum, high-end restaurants, play tricks on us too. Why do you think they restaurants play classical music over the speakers? Research by the University of Leicester showed that classical music increases the amount of money people spend by more than 10%, compared to when there’s no music. Political secrets –

If they wanted to, governments could shut down a lot of the food industry’s murky practices. To stop that happening, big food companies spend a lot of money and effort playing politics. Health secrets – In today’s health-conscious times, food brands want you to think they’re good for you, so you’ll buy more of them. Unfortunately, when a food screams at you from the packet about how healthy it is, it isn’t always the case. Use-by date secrets

You’re hungry, but when you open the fridge, all that greets you are some random foodstuffs, and they look like they’ve been there a while. Colour secrets – Call me old-fashioned, but I like my food to be the right colour, and I’m not alone. Supermarket secrets – As much as the food industry likes to play with our food, its advertising and packaging to make sure we buy it, your supermarket is doing its best to manipulate you too. Brain manipulation secrets –

The food industry employs psychologists to work out how they can subliminally influence our minds, so we buy more product. Researchers in Belgium figured out that humans are drawn to glossy objects, because shiny and glossy surfaces make us think of water and our brains remind us that we need it to survive. As a result, soda companies make their bottles and cans glossy, with bubbles and dewy drips all over them.

 

 

 

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