Lind­say Jang

Co-founder of Yard­bird, Ronin and Miss­bish

Prestige Hong Kong - 40 under 40 - - Contents -

When go­ing through her cur­ricu­lum vi­tae and look­ing at the num­ber of projects, busi­nesses and launches she’s in­volved in, one imag­ines Lind­say Jang as a pro jug­gler, mul­ti­task­ing res­o­lutely with­out drop­ping a sin­gle plate spin­ning mid-air. For the record, Jang is the co-owner and co-founder of pop­u­lar restau­rants Yard­bird (mod­ern yak­i­tori) and Ronin (trendy iza­kaya-style din­ing bar). She launched miss­bish.com (a fash­ion e-mag­a­zine and web­site), she has an ap­parel line sold on her site, a book out, she’s a health and well­ness en­thu­si­ast — and she’s a mother of two. What in­duces her to do so many things si­mul­ta­ne­ously? “I’m con­stantly cu­ri­ous,” she says. “I’m not a per­fec­tion­ist. I don’t be­lieve in mi­cro­man­age­ment. I feel a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the peo­ple I work with to ex­plore new op­por­tu­ni­ties, so we all have a chance to grow.” She has a sooth­ing, au­thor­i­ta­tive voice with­out a hint of her Cana­dian ori­gins.

Hav­ing grown up in Ed­mon­ton and Cal­gary, as a twen­tysome­thing she thought act­ing and the arts would be her path — her beau­ti­fully tat­tooed arms, her love of art, her eclec­tic wardrobe all tes­tify to the fact that she’s not your typ­i­cal navy-pantsuit busi­ness­woman traips­ing the Cen­tral by­ways. She says she fell in love with the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try — and since launch­ing Yardird (with her then-paramour, chef Matt Abergel) in 2011, she’s never looked back. But she’s so much more than a restau­ra­teur.

If you fol­low her on In­sta­gram — and we rec­om­mend that you do — you’ll find con­stant up­dates on what she’s up to in ad­di­tion to im­ages of her prac­tic­ing yoga, bend­ing her body to a pret­zel with ease and con­fi­dence. “Yoga is my time alone. No phone for an hour,” she says. “I’ve been prac­tis­ing since I was 17 years old; I just walked into a stu­dio one day and started ac­tively stretch­ing, I didn’t know what it was. It’s been a part of my life ever since.”

Per­haps it’s yoga that cen­tres her, as we no­tice that her phone is con­stantly vi­brat­ing with mes­sages and calls dur­ing our chat and photo shoot — it hap­pens when you’re a part of as many vi­brant busi­nesses in the city as Jang is. Fun­nily enough, she didn’t plot out a ca­reer in this busy city. “I be­lieve Hong Kong picked me, not the other way around. Af­ter Yard­bird opened, I re­alised that I’d un­in­ten­tion­ally cho­sen to stay by elim­i­nat­ing the op­tion to leave,” she says. “I face chal­lenges ev­ery mo­ment of the day — fi­nan­cial, le­gal, op­er­a­tional, emo­tional, phys­i­cal — I just choose to be re­silient and let it drive me in­stead of im­pair me.”

While try­ing to trace her roots, I won­der if what she stud­ied in­forms her mul­ti­fac­eted life. “Well, I stud­ied sci­ence, French, fine art, man­age­ment and theatre. I dropped out of ev­ery pro­gramme and never grad­u­ated with any­thing.”

We wind up the shoot and she gives a warm hug to the en­tire crew — but her phone keeps nag­ging her. We vol­ley an off-the-cuff fi­nal ques­tion at her: “What would you like to do in the com­ing year?” Pat comes the re­ply: “Spend less time star­ing at screens!”

I “face chal­lenges ev­ery mo­ment of the day — fi­nan­cial, le­gal, op­er­a­tional, emo­tional, phys­i­cal — I just choose to be re­silient and let it drive me in­stead of im­pair me”

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