Co-founder of Yardbird, Ronin and Missbish
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”