The Tatler 10: Adrian Cheung
Some may know Adrian Cheung as the son of Michelle Ong and David Cheung—like his parents, Adrian is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. He recently opened traditional Cantonese restaurant, Stellar House, at the end of last year and has followed it with the launch of his food truck, Crunch Munch.
In our latest edition of the Tatler 10, a regular column where we pose 10 questions to Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs about their businesses, we asked Adrian about how he plans to reinvigorate traditional Cantonese fare in the city’s diverse dining scene:
1) What does Hong Kong mean to you?
I am proud to call Hong Kong home. It is where I was born. Although I left for boarding school at 13 and spent over 13 years in the United Kingdom, I always knew that I would be coming back to develop and pursue my career. Hong Kong is still a place that continues to provide entrepreneurial opportunities and a positive business environment.
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2) Summarise your businesses in one sentence.
My new restaurant, Stellar House, brings traditional Cantonese cooking to the Hong Kong dining scene, which is simply the best cooking and ingredients in a welcoming environment. Crunch Munch brings an original fusion concept based on the traditional and much loved Chinese cruller, through a new form of dining experience in Hong Kong—the food truck.
3)What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment to date would have to be prevailing from a field of over 190 applicants and winning one of the sixteen food truck licences on offer as part of the HKSAR Government Food Truck Pilot Scheme. After two rounds of competition, where our knowledge was tested on all levels; the first stage assessed business plans and the menu and/or concept; the second stage was a MasterChef-esque cooking competition.
4) What do you love most about running your own business?
I think first is having the freedom to implement my own strategies and ideas. The opportunity for creative development is important to me. I can manage my own schedule and dictate the pace to some degree. On a more personal level, I love seeing happy and satisfied customers who love the food and appreciate the décor.
5) What advice can you offer budding entrepreneurs?
Tenacity is really the key here—as cheesy as it sounds, never give up and don't be disheartened by minor setbacks as there will always be some somewhere along the way. It’s really important to believe in yourself and to be your idea or concept’s biggest advocate.
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6) As an entrepreneur, what do you think sets you and your businesses apart from the competition?
For both Stellar House and Crunch Munch, it's an appreciation for the heritage of Hong Kong and for Chinese cuisine. It's something integral to our home and culture that I want to preserve and make available to everyone. At Stellar House I’m devoted to maintaining the quality of ingredients and the traditional Cantonese cooking techniques, which have been passed down over the years from one chef to another.
With Crunch Munch on the other hand, I aim to provide the Hong Kong public with a unique product—the “Cru-batta.” Essentially, a hybrid product of the much-loved Chinese fried dough (the Chinese cruller) and Italian ciabatta bread and complementing it with a range of tasty fillings, a sandwich like no other.
7) Who inspires you and why?
My mother, Michelle Ong Cheung, who built her jewellery business, Carnet, from the ground up and her endless energy and ability to juggle seamlessly between her charitable interests, the First Initiative Foundation, and business interests.
8) Looking back do you wish you had done anything differently?
Looking back I actually don’t have any regrets – however, perhaps I should have gone to the gym a bit more.
9) What's your end goal?
To build a sustainable business that I can be proud of, and hope to introduce more people to the traditional Cantonese cooking techniques for many years to come.
10) What are your words to live by?
Since I'm usually too focused on the end goal, I would say remember to take a little time to enjoy the journey instead of being fixated on the destination.