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March 04, 2024

Main Meal: Jing Gao

founder of Fly by Jing.

Main Meal: Jing Gao

Jing Gao, the founder and CEO of Fly By Jing, is a chef, entrepreneur, and a renowned expert on Chinese cuisine on a mission to bring uncensored Chinese flavors to the table. She was born in Chengdu, but grew up everywhere, and uses her experience as a chef to share meaningful flavors that open people up to new ideas and conversations.

What’s something we maybe don’t know about your entrepreneurship journey?

My entrepreneurial journey actually started back in China when I was running an underground supperclub serving Sichuanese classics with modern twists. At the time, I was doing everything — cooking, managing finances, and cleaning dishes. Eventually, I used this experience to help open up an award-winning modern-Chinese fast casual restaurant. Throughout it all, I was hooked on the feeling of creating something that expanded people’s palates, and I suppose I haven’t looked back.

In honor of Women’s History Month, who’s a woman you admire or are influenced by, living or otherwise?

I’m immensely proud of my fellow entrepreneurs for paving the way for a new wave of Asian and female businesses. I’m sure I’m missing some but Vanessa Dew (Health-Ade), Liah Yoo (Krave Beauty), Nadya Okamoto (It’s August), Sahra Nguyen (Nguyen Coffee Supply), Sarah Yoo (Blueland), and Shizu Okusa (Apothékary) are a few that come to mind. I am also so lucky to have Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth as my partner running our new modern-Sichuan grab and go concept Suá Superette, located in the heart of Larchmont Village in Los Angeles

What first drew you to want to be in food?

Food is more than just the meal on your table. It’s a conversation starter, a chance to learn about different cultures and expand your mind to the world. At Fly By Jing, what we really hope is that people, through the exposure to new flavors and new possibilities, can break down some of these barriers that might exist between people and cultures.

You embody and promote the power of intention, so what are you manifesting for this coming year?

2024 is the Year of the Dragon, a particularly auspicious year in the Chinese Zodiac. The dragon breathes magic, protection, abundance, and prosperity into your year. Dragons bring new beginnings and I’m excited for all the newness this year will hold.

As the founder of Fly By Jing, what role do you see your brand playing in shaping the future of the culinary landscape, especially for women of diverse backgrounds?

One of our core values as a team is WIN/WIN. That essentially means that we believe in win/win outcomes for everyone in the space and that we have the power to grow the pie and generate abundance for all. And when I can, I also love mentoring young and diverse female entrepreneurs in pursuit of ambitious goals.

Fly By Jing is known for its bold flavors. What's the boldest decision you've made as a founder, and how did it impact your brand?

When I was beginning Fly By Jing, I kept on hearing rejection after rejection from investors and people discounting the potential of Chinese food. At the time, it felt like a constant justification of our right to exist and to have a voice. But slowly, as our sauces reached more people in stores around the country, and we heard all this positive feedback, it became easy to silence the haters. To this day, we have tremendous faith in our product and the brand and can’t wait for the next chapter.

What’s an unexpected food item that you recommend putting chili oil on?

Chili crisp on ice cream is one of those iconic combinations that actually works. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must.

 

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