Hong Kong Tatler
4 May 2021
Women and men who’ve joined forces with their successful working mothers share what they’ve learned and how they navigate the professional-personal blurred lines
It’s one thing to have a working mother. It’s quite another to go into business together.
In time for Mother's Day, we spoke to eight people who have grown up to work alongside high-achieving mothers in all kinds of industries, from the arts to law to hospitality.
Some like Singapore-based Renyung Ho of Banyan Tree started pitching in as young as 11 or 12. Others like Daphne King-Yao of Hong Kong’s Alisan Fine Arts gallery forged their own career paths before choosing to team up. All spoke of their mothers as role models.
“Every day I work with her I am inspired by her unlimited knowledge and passion for Sichuan cuisine,” says Tracy Wong, whose mother is the chef at Michelin-acclaimed Chilli Fagara. “She is not just a mother to me, but also a mentor and a source of inspiration.”
Here are more candid, heartfelt and humorous responses that convey the challenges—and many more rewards—that can come from working closely as child and mother.
Tracy Wong On Her Mum Chan Kai Ying: Chilli Fagara Restaurant
What she has learned from her mother. Just how hard it is to become a Michelin-acclaimed chef! Since 2005, Chilli Fagara has become a true Sichuan mainstay, and it’s her unyielding passion that keeps our customers returning. Today, I’m proud to share that passion and work with her to push boundaries.
She has also taught me how to be patient and detail oriented. To quote my mother: “always walk the extra mile—it’s never crowded.” My mother often tells me that the philosophy of cooking is the same as our attitude towards life. I must take time and patience to ensure things are perfect. For her, it is also essential to always be open-minded, so I’m always seeking new knowledge and learning how implement it in my work and personal life.
Their favourite things to do together. My mother and I love going to the wet market together to select the freshest seasonal ingredients and source new flavour inspirations. And when we’re not in the restaurant, we play Mahjong at home or create new recipes together over a good bottle of wine.
On how her own cooking compares. There are a few things that I cook better than her, she says! Pasta and desserts are my specialty, and I love preparing my mum's favourite dishes when she asks for it after a long day.