Erika Chou

Erika Chou

Food has always been a great love of mine and a guiding force in my life. Things clicked as soon as I started waiting tables and working different positions. The quick pace, clarity of the job, and creativity of restaurants was something that felt like meeting a kindred spirit.

Learning how to keep an open mind and sit with decisions has been an important and challenging lesson I’ve learned throughout my career. It’s so easy to want to move things quickly or do them the way they’ve always been done. Another great lesson is simply to test things even just for a couple days, sometimes it’s okay not to be perfect and actually few things once done are set in stone. Math is important too!
Creativity, tenacity, and empathy have been very important skills for my particular area of expertise. Also, learning Excel.
I keep my team motivated (and hopefully inspired) by working alongside them as much as I can, as well as being transparent about what is happening with the business and what our goals are for the future.
I find the most inspiration while traveling and seeing what other people are eating, designing, and even wearing.
I believe that most skills can be learned, so when hiring aspiring professionals, I really look for a resume that shows dedication and perseverance. I look for those who are eloquent, observant, focused, inquisitive, and have positive energy.
Maintaining a healthy work/life balance was a big challenge for me early on, but it quickly became imperative to do it in order to have longevity in such a demanding industry. I think the most impactful thing was focusing on hiring and training the right people to create a strong team and a nurturing company culture. At the end of the day though, you have to let go and trust in the team and the systems you have built.
Besides food news and eating new things, I enjoy reading about mental models and immersing myself in a lot of design and art. A few years ago, I began event planning and interior design at Bespoke Only, which really complements and enriches the work I do at our restaurants.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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