“Just do it. Jump in head first.” The Wordrobe talks inspiration, advice and Taiwanese treats with Frank Yeung, the man behind Mr Bao and the recently opened Daddy Bao restaurants
What’s been the most challenging aspect of opening the restaurants so far – and the funnest?
Most challenging – pulling everything together for the right time – the teams, the food and recipes, the build etc. We’re a private company so all the costs come right back to us! Funnest – recipe development and getting stuck in with the build.
Why did you name Daddy Bao after your father?
Dad has always been an inspiration to me. His work ethic, his attention to detail, his focus. When he retired last year I thought it was the perfect time to pay homage.
Tell us more about your career background. How did you get into the industry?
I started working for dad washing up, then progressing to pouring drinks, and then serving tables. Over the next 10 years I was in and out of bars and restaurants.
After a stint in investment banking I decided it was time to cut my own path and I knew I loved restaurants and food, so that’s how I got into restaurants.
I opened our first restaurant in 2009, and have learned a million lessons the hard way. Now, nearly 10 years on, I’m content and happy and still loving it, trying to remember all the lessons!
What makes the perfect steamed bun?
Well there’s a lot that goes into making it perfect. Good ingredients for sure – from the flour (rice flour and wheat flour) to the fillings (free range meat from our local butcher, fresh vegetables from the market etc.).
Then there’s the process. From the proving process to how we steam them. Oh, and a drink to go with them of course.
What advice would you offer to aspiring restauranteurs?
Just do it. Jump in head first. Meet your heroes and people you respect. Listen deeply and learn from them, however weird it sounds – they probably know best.
Who are your culinary heroes?
Karen Jones, Alan Yau, Will Beckett and top of the list, dad.
Name us three of your favourite restaurants
Palomar (Soho), Nopi (Soho) and Miss Tapas (Peckham).
What can diners expect from the menu at Daddy Bao?
We’ve changed half the menu from Mr Bao in Peckham, but still tried to incorporate strong, matched flavours. It’s not a big menu, but that lets us focus on what we do. We’ll also have new desserts and weekly specials.
Do you have a favourite dish?
It changes… I eat a lot of bao so I go in cycles. Right now it’s the beef brisket!
If you could share a meal with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
My family! Most of my happiest memories are from around a table of delicious food shared with my two sisters and parents, and now my beautiful wife and son.
Try Daddy Bao for yourself
113 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9PE