Michael Chang – Head of Happiness

“It is our choices that show who we really are, far more than our abilities.”

– Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

As Head of Happiness I’m here to make sure we all have a great time as well as to enhance the food eating experience.

My parents opened up a Japanese steakhouse when I was 12 and in typical Asian parent fashion, I was immediately put to work every weekend. I hated it. I wanted to hang out with friends, not drive up an hour to wear an apron doused in soy sauce spills on Friday nights.

I started off by scrubbing dirty grills and setting up tables, and then transitioned to hosting to tell all guests that the wait was 15 minutes, even when it wasn’t 😏. I finally ended up as a waiter, the kind who occasionally spilled water on people and told corny jokes. I did tinker around with learning to be a hibachi chef because it looked cool. But I could never learn how to throw those eggs up on and down on the spatula without breaking them. Damn I hated those eggs…

Anyway, as I look back at it now, I couldn’t have been any more thankful for this experience. I learned to be truly grateful for the tremendous sacrifice my parents put in and continue to put in to the restaurant today. I learned to understand the amount of effort and time restaurant staff need to put in to create a positive experience.  And most importantly, I learned to realize the power of a good meal – the power that unites families, couples both old and new, and individuals from all backgrounds together to enjoy each other’s company and to eat merrily, even if they can’t catch the flying shrimp the chefs launch at them.

I am not much of a talker and long conversations scare me unless of course we start off with some scotch. I’m also far from a food expert and have probably committed so many culinary faux pas that I’ll be sent to hell’s kitchen. But I’ve learned that food is more than just a necessity to life – I don’t eat to live, I live to eat. Food speaks many languages; it shares centuries of histories and cultures; and my personal favorite, it brings people together.