Alumni Kaleidoscope: Fanny Suen - BBA(MARK)
After eight years in the hotel industry, Fanny felt that it was a good time to take a break and devoted herself to honing various skills including calligraphy, farming and cooking. Her cooking in particular improved in leaps and bounds, prompting her husband to joke that she had the potential to be a personal chef for other families. This in turn led to Fanny recalling that she often thought about the possibilities of having a chef taking care of the dinner when she was spending half the day cooking for a friends' gathering at home. After some serious brainstorming, Fanny came up with the idea for connecting food lovers with personal chefs. This idea doesn't only bring a new option to foodies but also allows them to share some great stories about the chefs' food.
Fanny's brainchild, MobiChef, is an online platform for diners to book a personal chef to come and cook in their home launched in January 2017. As of August 2020, the website boasted over 200 menus –ranging from Japanese to Italian, Szechuan to Thai cuisine– prepared by over 40 chefs. Users simply browse for their favorite menu and book a date with their preferred chef, and the chef arrives at his/her home a few hours before the dinner to prepare. For those who have a special occasion that requires a chef's tailored menu, MobiChef can also act as a communicator with their personalised concierge service. During the meal, diners can chat freely with the chef to know more about the inspiration and stories behind each dish, and at the end of the dinner the chef cleans up all the cookware used. MobiChef even provides a tableware rental service so that customers can enjoy a relaxing evening without needing to wash dishes after dinner.
The first challenge that Fanny faced when the MobiChef website launched in January 2017 was how to convince some experienced chefs to use the platform. Luckily Fanny had some connections in the F&B industry and that helped them to get the first few quality chefs listed. "As time goes by, chefs start to earn money through the platform and enjoy the flexibility of cooking, and the interaction with foodies as a personal chef," says Fanny. "And now we have chefs approaching us proactively - that's very encouraging!"
Going forward, Fanny hopes to be able to assist each chef in working on their own project according to their specialties, such as hosting cooking classes, compiling recipe books and launching branded products, which will help the chefs to do gain more publicity and develop a more diverse scope of businesses.
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