H Woo Lee // Ep 69 // Building Community Through Experiences

Welcome to Episode 69 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have H Woo Lee on this week's episode.

We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Check us out on Anchor, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Spotify and more. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a positive 5-star review. This is our opportunity to use the voices of the Asian community and share these incredible stories with the world. We release a new episode every Wednesday, so stay tuned!

H Woo Lee (AYch-wOO) is a rising food content creator, wedding planner, and founder of his underground fine-dining supper-club, Maru Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2019, and currently works for a celebrity wedding planner, Kevin Lee.

In 2017, H Woo started his entrepreneurial journey as the president of his fraternity, AEPI, where he quickly learned the skills to operate a small business. A year later, he started his second venture, ONYX, which was a music events company that hosted silent disco concerts.

In the summer of 2017, h woo taught himself how to cook, and this passion has only escalated ever since. During his senior year, he hosted weekly dinners out of his apartment for guests. In 2019, he officially founded Maru Los Angeles, which focused on Korean-Italian fine dining and the social experience of dining.

In December 2020, H Woo began food content creation on TikTok. His high-intensity, quick-clip cooking videos showcase his culinary skills and personality and looks forward to expanding towards other digital media platforms and eventually re-opening his supper-club after COVID.

Please check out our Patreon at @asianhustlenetwork. We want AHN to continue to be meaningful and give back to the Asian community. If you enjoy our podcast and would like to contribute to our future, we hope you’ll consider becoming a patron.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest with us. His name is H woo Lee. H woo is a rising food content creator, wedding planner, and founder of his underground fine dining separate club Morrow, Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Southern California in May, 2019, and currently works for celebrity wedding planner, Kevin Lee in the summer of 2017 H who taught himself how to cook. And this passion has only escalated ever since. In 2019, he officially founded Maru at Los Angeles, which focused on Korean Italian fine dining and the social experience of dining in December, 2028, who began food content creation on Tik TOK, which he has a mass to over 468,000 followers each week. Welcome to the show.

H Woo: (00:01:15)  Well, thank you guys for having me, um, uh, I’m excited. Uh, I would like to just thank you guys again for reaching out. Um, I noticed what you guys were doing before, and I was like, I really enjoy, um, and I guess honored to be part of the community that you know, wants to promote this similar values to what I believe in as well as experienced, growing up, being an Asian American, um, and trying to work your way.


Bryan: (00:01:46) Definitely. Awesome. Wanna start by saying that we’re a huge fan of your video and content. So when there was an opportunity to connect with you, or like there’s no way we will not knock her neck with you. It’s a restart and you’re responding. We’re like, that’s awesome, dude. But let’s hop right into like, tell us a little bit more about yourself. Where’d you grow up? What was your upbringing like?

H Woo: (00:02:08)  I grew up in Southern California. I was raised in a fairly, I guess, well off family. My dad was doing pretty well during my early childhood. And then, um, you know, academics is always the focus, always trying to, my mom would always tell me.I hope he can be a heart surgeon one day really hope. And I mean, that stuck with me until midway through college when I switched majors. But, um, so academics is always a focus and my family, um, it was a good, it was good family dynamic, but until the third grade, when my parents divorced and, um, that’s when our family started doing not so well financially. Um, so I’ve. I guess to say I’ve experienced both being, you know, growing up in a somewhat well off family to having to worry about when I’m going to pay next month’s rent. Um, so it’s quite a drastic, it’s such an interesting way. When you think about your personal finances, as well as what you can and can’t afford because you had. One side of the spectrum, and now you’re on the other side and

Bryan: (00:03:24) that’s so relatable, especially for us right now. You know, we had jobs a year ago and he quit and now it gets kind of broke. It just came. But yeah, you totally understand that. Thanks for sharing that part.

Maggie: (00:03:34) Yeah. Yeah. So it sounds like your mom wanted you to be a heart surgeon. Um, were your parents like kind of like tiger parents and they like absolutely wanted you to go through like one trajectory or. Were they pretty much like very laid back and kind of allowed you to discover what you wanted to do.

H Woo: (00:03:54)   Ironically, they’re very, very laid back, but there’s the subtle expectation that we would do well in school or else, you know, it’s like do well in school or else. And we would never, thankfully I never found out what or else meant. Um, but you know, whenever we. Whenever I just didn’t really have any direction in what I wanted to do. My mom was always there to go to that tutoring center and asked, you know, with tutors, what should my son do? Or how should he apply for colleges? Um, because I didn’t know. Okay. Express on this. I don’t really know. Sure. And be yourself. I mean, I didn’t know Jack shit about what I wanted to do. I mean, when I was younger and it wasn’t like my mother’s intention, I just always thought try to be a good person. B do very well in school and go be a heart surgeon. Those are like kind of the three main things. You do sports on the side because you’re in America and every kid has to do with sport. But other than that, um, I always was like a soldier, just go to school, do your work, get good grades, go to tough window practice because that was the one sport I chose and as an American growing up. Um, but, uh, I. I think that my parents were really say this, there were laid back. And whenever I made decisions, like I, this is what I want to do. Um, and especially in college, and now whenever I tell them they’re very supportive. Um, and that’s, what’s. To me the most important at the end of the day. That’s awesome. I put on this front of like, I’m going to be a doctor, but all they really want is for their kids.


Bryan: (00:05:48)  Yeah. That’s a really good point too. I think it’s a point that we bring up pretty often throughout the podcasts. Like when Asian parents, they have a, this idea and image that they want you to be a doctor, because that’s their way of thinking that you’d be happy, you know, until you show them what’s possible. They’re like you’re in the middle ones down. Pretty much just watching your videos too. Like, you seem very attention to detail. So I can see where their company even comes from. You know, like this is the way you edit your videos and their content that you put out. It’s like, we’re just looking at a trailer. Like how long has it take them to do this? You know, that’s what you mean before you met you, by the way.


Maggie: (00:06:29) Yeah. So I’m going off on Brian, like. Well, we’ll definitely talk about your tick talk experience and your growth on that platform and a little bit, but like the first time that we found you on Tecton, that’s how we actually knew about you. HQ is through your tick talk and we were just so in awe over your videos, just like. The details and every single little thing about your videos, like the way that you cut your ingredients, it’s just so amazing that you just have to watch for yourself to see the greatness of it. Um, but we’ll definitely talk about your Tech-Talk experiences.

Bryan: (00:07:02) Let’s talk a little bit more right now. We want to talk about it. We just go here. Your tech talks on our phones differently, but we didn’t know, like we both discover you’re around the same time.  


Maggie: (00:07:13) Pretty much showing up on everyone’s for you page.

Bryan: (00:07:16) Yeah. And then. I dunno. There’s every time your, your video came up, I noticed a Maggie starts over here. Like she stops what she’s doing and she like watches it Tenley.

Maggie: (00:07:24) I mean, there’s so much going on in the videos. If I blink for one second, I will like miss a single cut. And like, if I get distracted, I’ll be like, I have to watch it again.

Bryan: (00:07:40) Yeah. So I don’t know. First I’m like, who’s distracting. Are you texting your nerd dude? So I like looked at their video. Pretty good looking guy. Honestly, I could have put it to and he’s good looking, you know, his videos are great. It’s nothing to be jealous of all, you know, he’s better. He’s better than me. I take that

Maggie: (00:07:55) to all the listeners. If you like, see HBS videos, you can see all the = comments that are. On his videos and they’re all like, Oh my goodness. I would love a man who can cook.

H Woo: (00:08:11)   There’s no filter with the audience. They, they serve everything out there.

Maggie: (00:08:16)  My favorite comment is the one where they’re like, so when are you going to introduce me to your parents?


Bryan: (00:08:23) Yeah. So let’s back up a bed, right? So you started cooking and teaching yourself how to cook in 2017. Have you had any experience with content creation prior to then, or was this something that you’re just like, you know what, I’m just gonna give this a shot because I want to see what I’m capable of.


H Woo: (00:08:41)   Uh, no, I, I was more of whenever we had events or things that could be created into content, right. Things that just people wanted to see whether it was food, the events that actually that I use. I never did the onsite creating part. Yeah. And I was always the coordinator for the book or whatever the host. Um, so during, when I was throwing concerts, I hired my friend as a photographer, uh, during my dinners at Hsu photographers that helps me out with, um, editing as well as their photos and just creating content. What I personally have an interest in it in creating content, but I never. I never wanted to produce it. I always just wanted to understand the process of it. And I think it started with my aunt who is a photographer who inspired me to take a photography class in high school. So I kind of learned Photoshop then.And then in college, my last year, when I had some extra time to take an extra electives, I took a graphic design class. So that those two classes, as well as just keeping a mindful eye for art or. Content, I think really played a role in eventually what I’ll say is


Maggie: (00:10:01)  wow. That’s awesome. Yeah. That’s so awesome.  And just like the quality of your content is just so incredible. So to know that you do not even have a lot of experience prior to you starting Tik TOK is in its very essence. 


Bryan: (00:10:12) It sounds like Steve jobs story, how he created Apple, right. He like dropped into a few classes and changed his life. Yeah, exact same story with each, we drop into a few classes that changed, you know, you just never know, like you guys want to venture out your major in college and try new classes by all means. Do it. The green screen takeaway right now, 


H Woo: (00:10:30) who’s my water. That’s and that’s the other thing.


Maggie: (00:10:45)  So, Aisha, when did you kind of have like your first. Glimpse of like being an entrepreneur. Cause we know you started a company called Onyx, um, as a, which was a music events company that has a silent disco events. Um, but what was like that first taste of entrepreneurship that you got exposed to?


H Woo: (00:11:04) Uh, so I was in outbox on high, the Jewish current at USC and a friend of mine was like, Hey, you should, you should be president. And I was like, I was like, Sure. I know, I guess I would do, you know, I’d be pretty good at it. Who knows? I had zero idea was walking into, um, that was my first taste of being of the entrepreneurial side of myself, as well as running a small business, um, fraternities or my fraternity at USC. You have a hundred plus members, you have the parties that have been ranged from 10,000 to $25,000 budgets. And you are managing just a bunch of like 20 year old men, which you know, how stressful that can be. Um, but that, that experience definitely solidified as my first entrepreneurial experience. And I definitely learned how to. Run an organization, make the, it take the initiative to start. What I wanted to do, which was I did a couple things like host con or throw the parties for you. Lead the process and organizing a party. But also I started Shabbat dinners for my fraternity, which wasn’t really a thing at USC. And what I ended up doing was having these Shabbat dinners and invite other people in Greek life and not in Greek life as well. And they would just come over to our fraternity house on a Friday night, have some nice wine and some food. And that was it. It was a whole sometime to have with in. Typically, and I guess by reputation, like more chaotic environment, which is a fraternity house. Um, but the entrepreneurial side definitely came out during that time. And I even went as far to say that I wanted to do a second firm because I loved it so much, but I realized I have other things to do. Long-term big picture goals that were not aligned with being a fraternity president.


Maggie: (00:13:12)  Yeah. Yeah. So talk a little bit about, you know, you teaching yourself how to cook and then hosting these weekly dinners, um, out of your apartment for guests.


Bryan: (00:13:24) Out of curiosity too. How do you teach yourself how to sharpen a nice so, well,


Maggie: (00:13:30)  that’s like one part that is like so cool.


H Woo: (00:13:36) Um, so I first learned how to cook summer of 2017 and I was living alone at USC and USC’s food options are notoriously either overpriced or unhealthy and you’re right next to Figueroa, which I believe has the fanciest food restaurants are like per square mile and like in the world, I think that’s a statistic. Um, but, um, besides that, I want us to learn how to cook. I lived alone and I saw Gordon Ramsey’s eggs benedict video on YouTube. And I was like, let me take a stab at this. Why not? I messed up the hollandaise sauce the first time, but I got it down the second time. And. I can’t honestly, you know, there’s like these entrepreneurs that have these people that have these like aha moments. I don’t have an aha moment from that first I’m cooking. I, it was so nonchalant to me. It was like, I’m just going to learn how to cook with no intent of anything in the future, but just the presence of making myself eggs benedict, which is also what I love about cooking is I just really forgot about everything else.Um, But I don’t have like that aha moment of like, I could do cook for people. It was really just, I’m going to put all my time into reading this recipe, making it step-by-step and that was it. That was completely it. And it snowballed into something completely. Like I would have never imagined this. Right. Um, but since then, I, I was cooking for myself more and more. And then. Midway during, during my junior year, I saw a documentary on munchies, um, vices, like food media company on a supper club at USC called Paladar P a L a D a R. It’s the name refers to in Cuba. There’s like a lot of people open their homes to serve food for the local community. And that’s where the term comes from. But it was these two UFC guys who every Thursday. They would serve, um, types of mandates or for $15. Um, and it eventually got so big that part of like the documentary that they kind of focus on documentary is the fact that the cops were called on that when they had 60 people, like in their apartment dining is having a good time. Um, I don’t know what they’re up to now, but I do know that they own Bakari, which is like a small, um, Restaurant in LA. I think they have a couple locations, but I think I’ve heard about your soon. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, so after seeing that video, I was like, let me take a stab at this once again, they can just say that, um, it’s taken, just attempting it again. I was like, let me just invite. Well, first just started with my roommates. I was like, Hey guys, I’m going to make this. And you guys just come down for dinner and that’s it. They like her food. They’d give me feedback. Interviewed once a week, I’m going to kept going until I find it was like, H I would pay you $25 for this path. And I’m like, get outta here. Like, it’s not that good. Um, but you know, sometimes you need that external validation of like, this is good. I kind of realize I could maybe do something this, so I still wasn’t taking it seriously. But towards the end of my junior year, and most of my senior year, I was doing. Weekly dinners. I posted the menu on Instagram. I said, Hey comment, how many seats you want? This is how much it is. And I would just have people come over. I would, I would talk up all the time. I would definitely try to do a three-course menu and I would have my guests waiting for like 10 minutes for like the next dish come out. They just didn’t know how to decline everything.


Bryan: (00:17:33) Isn’t that standard though. I think he bought it. It’s like between dishes takes a while at other restaurants too.


H Woo: (00:17:40) It does. Yeah, it was, it was like an abnormal amount of time that they would just be sitting around just chit chatting, which was fine because they had each other to talk to.


Maggie: (00:17:50)  But yeah, as you were starting out to you, maybe you were also self-conscious about like how long they would be waiting. Right? Cause I would, personally, if I were in your shoes, I’d be like, Oh, I gotta cook faster. I gotta, I gotta put up these dishes,

Bryan: (00:17:59) but you seem so aware of everything.

H Woo: (00:18:02) Yeah. I mean, it’s stressful. I mean, working in the restaurant industry, which I have a little bit of an experience then, um, it’s high intensity high high-speed, you know, it’s, uh, you gotta get the food out perfect every single time. And if you mess it up, they send it back and you have to do it over again on top of the next orders you have coming in. So, um, but so I did those dinners for most of my senior year and. That was graduating. You know, it was still kind of looking for jobs because I didn’t want to go a corporate job. I already knew that I wanted to do my own. Um, and yeah, one, I got connected to my boss through some mutual friends, but the other thing was, my co chef was like, Hey, we’re going to live in another frat house at USC. Yeah. And he was two years below me and he was like, Do you want him to keep running the dinners and the Maru dinners there? And I was like, why not? I’m just graduated school. I don’t have anything to lose. Um, and so that’s kind of the next steps work required. Also were you guys going to ask another question? I feel like I’m rambling on. Should I keep going? No.

Maggie: (00:19:19) How did you come up with the name Morrow and like, when did you decide? Okay, well, we’re going to name this Morrow and kind of like officially slap on a name to it.   

H Woo: (00:19:28) So when I, when I made it Instagram official, when I was selling, when I was posting my menu on Instagram for my apartment, I asked my two best friends, like, Hey, um, I want a short name. I want it to be Korean related and I want it to be easy for basically the white person to say, yeah, I don’t want it to be hard for someone who doesn’t speak Korean to be able to pronounce it. They were like, Hey, there’s this club in New York called Mario. Um, why’d you call it that? And I was like, you know what? I kind of like that two syllables, nice and short four letters. Um, and as I looked more into the meaning of Maru, which kind of shows that I’m not the most, I wouldn’t say I’m the most Korean in terms of culture and like growing up, I can’t speak Korean fluidly, but obviously I’ve like had a huge interest in Korean culture because that’s my background. Um, obviously, um, but Mara means translates to wooden floors and Korean, but it. Refers to the wooden floors of a living room and grand homes and the area where people gather for food for dinner, for games, movies, family, discussion. Um, it’s actually a very common restaurant name and in Korea, uh, I’ve been to see when I went to Korea a couple of years ago, I saw like pizza Mario and like Maru, like something else or something else. So, um, It definitely. I have to think about rebranding later just because there’s trademarks, but there’s a more recopy in LA. Um, but I picked that name because I really liked, I resonated with the fact that my all the department had, would inform us, um, it was a wedding table and I just wanted people to gather and to have an excuse, to have people come over and I could just waste time from studying.


Bryan: (00:21:28) Yeah, it’s nothing wrong with that. So now I want to transition over to your tick-tock here. You know,

H Woo: (00:21:34) we’re just so eager to talk about it.

Bryan: (00:21:35) I want to talk about this. So we reached, we just rewash your Buzzfeed article that got released here in 2021. The article that forever made you extra viral. Yeah. I just want to hear more about that experience. You know,

H Woo: (00:21:57) more about that.

Bryan: (00:21:58) Like how many videos did you post before then? And so bus you picked up.

H Woo: (00:22:05) Um, so I downloaded tech talk last, like March, March, 2020. I was living with my aunt, uncle and cousin, my cousin. She was 16 at the time. And she was like always on tech talk and I was like, some of my friends were on take talk. Nothing might as well. Um, and I was just like, you know, skimming through everything. And I was like, this is like a waste of my time, but I posted like three food videos and they were, uh, like a fried chicken video and fried chicken video, a kimchi pasta video. And. Oh, my God and miso carbonara video. And I was editing through the app. I actually remember sitting down on my bed. I’m just editing on my phone, all of these clips. And it was the most difficult thing in the world to like splice these videos together. Um, but I would post a, uh, like with no intent of anything just to post something and just have something on there. Um, And then actually my first viral video was not food related. My, I was doing a pop-up dinner last end of November, 2020, uh, and like Venice and my friends had just got me a birthday gift and I love to send people. I build this habit over COVID of sending people with video messages, I guess, kind of like Snapchat, but I just texted it to them. I was like, how’s it going, blah, blah, blah. That’s what I’m doing. I’m going to hear what you’re doing. So I was driving over to this part. Then I put my phone on my phone, stand in my car and I was just telling my friend, thank you so much for the birthday present. You got me, blah, blah, blah. And on video, I get rear ended by the car behind me. Um, And showed my side. I went to the pop-up. I was like, God damn it. Like it’s got rear ended later. I’ll figure it out later. And it’ll the pop-up I come back home and I showed my roommate who is, um, sign up. Like she works for a Ted talk management company. I showed him the video and he was like, this is fucking hilarious. I’m going to post this right now. I’m like, all right, go for it. And it got like half a million views. I was like, this is fucking hilarious. I was like, I didn’t think that a video of me getting in a car crash and get this much attention or provide such entertainment fuel, but people like to see me get hurt. I have no idea. Um, but, um, so that’s my first like Ted talk experience, I would say, and going viral and then. I had just received, I just got a new computer and I got final cut pro and I was just, I just got final cut pro cause I was like, I just want to have it just in case I’m doing work for my boss and I need to edit like a wedding highlight video or something. And one night I just wanted to make myself this American while you steak with potato puree and like Bordelaise sauce. And I just filmed every part of it. And I remember starting at 9:00 PM and I didn’t finish. Like 3:00 AM. And I was like, it’s like so long because I was filming every single angle, whatever. But, um, and I also sat on the footage for maybe like two weeks. I didn’t actually even touch the footage until I sat down one day. And then I was like, you know what, let me just put this together. And I ended the video together with. Just leaving nothing on my mind. It was just like, this is my free time. I’m just going to edit something together. But the intention of it’s funny because there’s one clip in the video that says, Hey, you’re going to watch me cook for myself. Yeah. But the full video says, Hey, you’re going to watch me cook for myself. I’m not going to teach you how to make any of it because you’re probably here to just watch me cook. And just for entertainment. Thank God. I didn’t leave at noon. Oh, that’s what you took in college. I took out the rest of the bag because I was struggling to fit 40 minutes of footage into one minute possible. So the one part I left, which is like desks, my tagline now, which is you’re gonna watch me cook for myself. Stop. Then you guys to hold the clip later. It’s literally just like, I just look like a Dick. I look like an asshole. I’m like,


Maggie: (00:26:53) but I’m not going to teach you.


H Woo: (00:26:55) Yeah, it was just, yeah. I was like, I’m not going to teach you, but the intention was, I want to show every single part of the process because I’ve always thought that cooking videos were like, Here then here then here. I’m like, what the hell just happened? Um, I mean, I know, I understand my videos are like that now, but like I want it to show that I was doing it right. Or I was showing every single part and just show someone that like, this is what I’m looking at. When I make this dish, you have to, um, that video went viral. Um, and I was like, Oh my God, what am I supposed to do with myself now? Like, what am I doing? Um, But I was still going to work and, uh, about, I would say a week later I was like, okay, I gotta make another, alright, sorry. A week later I got an email from Buzzfeed, like, Hey, um, can we put your video in a compilation? And I was like, Oh my God. Amazing. Sure. Yes, please. Blah, blah, blah. Um, and I, I made a mistake of not talking about usage rights with them, but. I’ve learned from that. Um, but it was not until like a month and a half later, did they actually post, not only that first video, but along with two other videos with it, um, that were my later creations, but since then, I’ve just been working and making TikToks and food content.


Bryan: (00:28:56) So. I think you’re being too humble about the process. Now you grew enormously from that.


Maggie: (00:28:36) The interesting thing is like, everyone always talks about how you have to post three videos a day for you to get viral. And so you, you, up your, your, a possibility of going viral for like, at least like one of those three videos. Right? Right. Each one you don’t post every single day. You post like once a week or even like less than that. And I think it’s. Because like your videos are so high quality that every time like someone sees your video comes out, they’re just like, Oh my God, like Asia posted on your video, you know? So that just goes to show like how high quality, like how much time you spend on cook every day. Does he has like most of your recipes take like multiple days to prepare? Yeah.


H Woo: (00:29:20) Yeah, they definitely do. Um, yeah, I didn’t want to go the. Wanted to be over the quality lab. Yeah, sure. I want to be able to post content that I don’t feel like if I were eight years old, I could wash it and be like, I still like this. I’ve watched my videos a million times. I’m just looking for ways to improve or whatnot.


Maggie: (00:29:45) I mean on that topic. Like, we definitely see the improvements since like your first videos, your first cooking videos till now. Like how have you kind of implemented improvements into your videos and how have you tracked, like how do you track and measure your KPI is,


H Woo: (00:30:08) well, at least in terms of the creative side, uh, I, I don’t just want to make dishes for my intent is to not make a dish. That’s easy for him to be honest. Um, I wanted to, it should be like, I want to be very thorough in my recipe and to explain that anyone can make it. But I understand that a lot of my dishes are just not very approachable and that’s strictly because these are things that I’m interested in and that’s the reason why I started cooking was cause I was. Not the reason why I got better at coaching, I think was because I was more interested in these dishes at restaurants. I kind of have a home. Yeah. I think one of my, like the moment, one of the times I made Bao buns with pork belly back in college, I was like, Oh my God, like, I can’t believe I made this. Like, this is something that I go to a restaurant for three, no one makes this at home. Like who the hell makes. Yeah, we’re probably valid once at home. No one knows from Fabens, from scratch. Um, and those kinds of moments that I’ve had with clipping, I was, that’s why I just keep going for, I want to make food that I’m happy with for myself improvements wise. Um, I’m definitely trying to just stick with dishes that I like. And as I have more time, I want to be able to create dishes that. I don’t want to just post dishes that are replica, everything’s re replicable, but like, there’s definitely, I feel like there’s a personality to each one of my dishes. Like it just is a dish that I would make. Um, but I also want to be able to show people that I am a self-taught person. And this is like, this is what I learned to make on my own from the internet that are. My greatest teacher. Um, so I’m, I’m hoping in terms of improving, I started posting the recipe as my caption, which did not work out. And then now I make graphics. So I can like write out the recipe in detail for people. And I’ve seen people, you know, people post on their stories, like the dish they made for my recipe. And I touched because I’m like, wow, People are actually trying to make this stuff. And I was like, that’s insane. Um, and so I feel like that’s kind of approved some improvement in terms of my communication and what I’m making towards the end consumer. Um, in terms of content, like the actual videos, I realized that there’s a lot of people that do a pretty similar style video to me and yeah. The only way that I would ever be able to differentiate myself as well as just feel better about myself is to just have my personality and my videos. So, yeah, kind of taking the it’s alive from Bon Appetit approach where there’s, I don’t know if you guys know Brad Leoni and, um, if any of the camera man, the camera and kind of has a voice and everything. So in my videos now, and the barista one it’s, I’ve always had. These little, I guess, collaborative comments throughout the video, kind of commenting on what’s going on, which is also my voice and my personality within the video. But a lot of times, if I, if I mess up something while I’m cooking, um, I think my last video like dropped writes in the sink, like, I’ll show it. Like, that’s just like, what happens when I’m booking got to show all of the mistakes that I think are just, I guess, more human, like when you’re watching it. And you’re like, yeah, It’s not just some robot that makes these dishes, he like makes mistakes and that’s humor or, or stopping. Um, so I’m definitely trying to maintain that side of who I am and my videos about just being the old tides. Basket. Yeah.


Bryan: (00:34:10) Yeah. Yeah. That’s a super important to maintain who you are and your personality in your fields too, because I didn’t get the form of flattery to be honest, when people copy your style and we see that, Oh, totally atrial style, you know, and I think I didn’t have to create anything. It’s like how fast you catch it. Because every time that we see the video, we see your comment. Great job catches on fast. You know, this out of curiosity too, like we realized that your Instagram is also growing at a very, um, fast pace. How do you use direct your Tik TOK traffic over to your Instagram?


H Woo: (00:34:46) I just write at the end of my videos and full recipe is my Instagram, but I don’t want to be like, please go follow my Instagram because they’ll go follow if they want to. Um, they know where to go, which is. You open the Instagram app. It’s like, that? I don’t want to be some like, please go follow my Instagram. I don’t care. Like, yeah. I’ll organically grow. So. Yeah.


Bryan: (00:35:13) Yeah. I like that mentality.


Maggie: (00:35:14) Yeah. That’s really mentality. And so how do you determine, like what type of people on Tik TOK and what type of creators you want to partner with, because you recently did a collaboration with other chefs as well. Um, which is really cool video. Uh, listeners should definitely go check it out. And so how do you kind of determine like who you want to be?


Bryan: (00:35:35) How do you like initiate that too? Yeah. Hey, I like it.


H Woo: (00:35:41) No, Nick reached out to me, um, and he said, let’s do a TedTalk collab. And I was like, Oh my God, I’m going to go out. And I’m like, I don’t look at it. Yeah. Um, he reached out to me to do video and I was like, fantastic. And then he said, let’s bring on the fair guy. And I said, I’m good. I’m happy to do whatever. But since that video I’ve reached out to four other people now, and I’ve said, actually just got off the phone with, uh, The moody foodie for Brizo the Pando be at Pendo. I kept out the same. Um, no, he said that, he said  be up on that makes sense. But I reached out to him just saying, Hey, I just, shit, my shot. I really liked your content. I would love to do something with you and mind you, these are all three content creators. Um, I haven’t reached out to anyone that doesn’t do food. Um, but maybe I will, who knows? Um, but I reached out saying, Hey, I like your stuff. I would love to just one get to know you. And then two, would you possibly want to do a collaboration video? So I’ve done. I mean, I’m working right now. I’m working on one, two, three, and we’re going to have three people right now. And the fourth one, we just like spoke the other day about doing a collaboration video, but. I don’t, I, at least now that I’m learning about the food content creation space or content creator space, collaboration is don’t hurt anybody. Like collaboration’s can only help in terms of your viewers get different content and you might get a different crowd. Um, and when there’s collaboration, there’s two different minds working together. So there’s definitely more creativity in terms of. What you guys can do. So I’ve always just wanted to meet other people in this space since I’m so new to this space. And I think collaborations are my way of asking people, Hey, you want to FaceTime and see what we can do. So, yeah.


Maggie: (00:37:47) That’s really awesome. I love how you just did your first collaboration and then now you kind of like, know how easy it is, right. And just kind of like opening the door for even more collaborations in the future.


Bryan: (00:37:59) In front of our eyes every day weekly, we’ve been following year for a while, and then. Now, when you reached out to us, like, are you, Maggie was like, exactly how she says it too.


Maggie: (00:38:19) Like you’re going to include me in the meeting, right?


Bryan: (00:38:22) Yeah. Yeah.  


H Woo: (00:38:30) Like follow me or reach out to me.


Maggie: (00:38:31) Oh. Because, um, Brian was like super active on clubhouse more than I was. And so he saw you in one of the rooms. And yeah, I was like, yeah, because Brian has like a bunch of followers on clubhouse and we were talking about like, who’s going to get connected with you first. And I was like, we’re probably going to get connected with a first,


Bryan: (00:38:53) no, I saw you join our club and I follow you immediately, like within like 10 seconds.


Maggie: (00:38:58) Yes, no. Yeah. I followed you immediately, but Brian just had the connection first.


H Woo: (00:39:05) Yeah. I don’t know. I saw. I saw someone, I don’t know if I joined a room or if I could just saw someone’s badge at the bottom of their profile and age and badge, I forget who, um, but that’s how I, it was either in a room or just found out from someone’s profile with their badge on it, but there instances and the rest is said,


Maggie: (00:39:27) how did, um, do you think, like Tik TOK kind of changed your life? In a way. And if so,


Bryan: (00:39:34) how did it change your wife? Change your life all is easy. What’s on the else. She’s your life? Depends on like how you view yourself and your self esteem. Um, your business sense and potentially dating because there’s hundreds of hundreds of girls that comment on your every video. So how’s that changed for you?


H Woo: (00:39:58) I don’t think I’ve changed much as a person. I really don’t. I think I’m just still, what I wanted to do was cook. And then when COVID hit, I had to stop doing my dinners and I have a great relationship with my boss. So I just worked with my boss and my intention was to open up my stuff to pumpkin after COVID. Um, so I think as a person, I really don’t think I’ve changed much. I’m just doing something different now. Um, And if anything, it’s just given me more encouragement to do what I love, which is looking for people, which is kind of the opposite of what my videos are, but I’m much, I much rather prefer, you know, kicking for a group of people and just conversating and getting to know them after the dinner. That’s my favorite part of what I was doing back, um, pre COVID for my summer club. Um, it’s definitely given me a platform to. Just show what I can do and what I can provide for the world. And this is me and take it or leave it. And that’s it. Um, I mean, uh, on like the business side of things. Right. Cause I always have to keep that in mind because I don’t know. Um, Like it’s a platform where I essentially have remarketing or marketing that I work on the acquire so that when I do want to start my summer club guy, which, uh, which will be soon, I think, and then near future, um, as well as what other, any other ventures that I want to go into, I definitely think it’s incurred incredibly adventageous and I’m just lucky to have, um, Book, whatever else I want to do later.


Bryan: (00:41:48) I love that a lot.


Maggie: (00:41:50) Yeah. That’s awesome. And very excited to hear more about We’ll definitely come try when we come down to so Cal


H Woo: (00:42:02) absolutely. Also one thing I remember, I remember in the car, I was driving to work one day after I think a couple of my videos and I was, I was driving to work and I was like, yeah. You’ve always like, you’ve never wanted to do social media stuff. You were like, why, why are you doing this? And then I remember just yelling in the car, you’re doing this for free marketing, just do it. Like, just do it. Free marketing, free marketing. I just yelled free marketing. Um, but then I was like free marketing to eventually do what I think is more meaningful. Um, but I, I remember yelling for your marketing for maybe like, 30 seconds,


Maggie: (00:42:45) like envisioning that right now. That’s awesome. I like, I like that a lot too. So besides reopening supper club, um, after COVID, what are your goals for 2021?


H Woo: (00:42:59) Um, I definitely want to one open this up club too. I don’t know if I can share this on a podcast. I have a long form content series that I’m working on with a, a music company. Um, I’ve always been into electronic house music and, um, that’s a project that I’m working on, but I. Um, want to see succeed in 2021. Um, and then just solidifying my space and the YouTube. Okay. Well, YouTube are all social media platforms, but mostly YouTube is to feel like that I have a comfortable portfolio on YouTube. Um, and basically I’m just comfortable with it and there’s no like benchmark to it. And I know that most people are like, Oh, you should have, like, you should try to plan out everything. Um, but I know myself from myself as I always, um, I’m hypercritical on myself and it’s sometimes how I get things done. But also I know that if I, um, like I, sometimes I will go to the extreme to get stuff done and. It’s not healthy. So I know that when I do these, uh, social media things and having to know like what, without content there, I just, I want myself to be comfortable with it. There’s no, I need X amount of videos or I need this amount of followers or subscribers. It’s am I happy with what I’m presenting to the world on YouTube and these platforms? Um, and I obviously have like a rough number in my head, or like, I have like an idea of. Well, I’m not trying to produce, but it’s not this hour, but this is your deadline because I know in the past I’ve done that. And it’s not the healthiest thing, although it gets stuff done, but in here about my health.


Maggie: (00:45:12) Yeah, absolutely. Mental health is my basic wine. Yes. Red wine is good. You, you definitely do need a glass of red wine every once in a while to stay healthy. Yes. So. We have one more question for you, but I might ask like a bonus question later on. So our one last question is, what advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur


Bryan: (00:45:34) or just starting out like yourself? Yeah. What would you tell yourself when you first started out? Yeah,


H Woo: (00:45:45) I don’t know. Well, before I answer this, like I never, um, I think for most of my life I was, I had very low self-confidence. And I just always did what I was told and, and the type of way I was, you know, working towards these grades I was working with, I was going to med school or they’re working towards X, Y, and Z. And then when I had the first opportunity to be president of a fraternity, there was, I felt like the style was the limit. I mean, I could do whatever I wanted, even if I didn’t have the funds out and figure out to find the funds, even if I didn’t have. The resources. I reached out to people and said, Hey, can I meet with this? Can you help me with that? Just whatever it was. Um, but I think, and this is not like a general advice for every entrepreneur, but I, the reason why I quit, I dropped pre-med was because I learned how to ask for help. Um, I think learning to ask for help. It very important, at least in my life. Cause I never really did. When I was younger. I had my first tutor when I was like a junior in high school. I never wanted to have a tutor because I felt guilty of like my parents paying for jitter. Um, learning time scrap is important because I never knew I never experienced how helpful that people want to be towards whatever I was doing. I think part of that was having low self-confidence and thinking that. Why would someone want to help me, but people aren’t good out there. And if you just ask for help, they’ll help you and just make sure you pay them back. That’s really it. So I think whatever I have done, I’ve always had a lot of help from people and I’m very grateful for what they do with me. Look,

Maggie: (00:47:42) that’s really good advice. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you, Andrew. Um, okay. So one bonus question for you, which I like personally, just wanted to know out of my curiosity, what was the best dish that you have ever made? And can you explain in detail what was included in that dish?


H Woo: (00:48:03) Yeah, we’ll good on this question so many times I never had a good answer.Um, He’s a master chef in a way too many options. I think, um, one of the dishes that we served at our separate club, um, was water. So many that’s Norton. There’s a dish we started with, we call this the crispy rice duo. Um, it’s two pieces of crispy rice. Joanne’s going into detail of like how the rice is made. Yeah. Help us visualize it. Yeah. One lightning round lightning round. Just kidding. Um, I see most crispy rice. Restaurants and it’s like a blog or it’s like a circle or it’s like, some of them are like a nice tight square or rectangle. And I’m like, I don’t want to have like a, like a lazy, like cylinder of rice, like under your spicy tuna. Um, so I mean, I made sushi rice and I would pack it into a tray and then you throw in the fridge and then you deep fry it and it’s fantastic. And you cut it into cubes. So it’s perfect. Um, but one that’s two piece of Chris rice. It’s the first course on our menu. One of them has a, there’s a Korean hot sauce for when you see food called , which is like a season, the butcher John with like red pepper paste, um, with like olive oil, honey, whatever. And then you had GP male, like Japanese, Mayo, um, and then for our dinners, we have a, I usually use a whole yall hotel flight. And so like, part of it is for another dish, but the tail end I use for like the car, like, you can just put it up. So it’s like, like spicy tuna, like in terms of the like tiny tunes, but I hate how spicy tuna is like strengths. I want to be able to like bite a tiny cube. I don’t want shreds of fish. So, um, you have the yellow tail cost and this thoughts on top of crispy rice with jalapeno on top and then the other one, you know, because he writes, which I’m much more proud of. Um,  then he’s only if everything’s yeah. Uh, and underneath it has the sauce of Parmesan cream and soy butter. Um, and I kind of learned that from when I was at, when I was interning at a restaurant called keto in LA, they do like an uni soy butter cream. It’s like, um, for three tapioca, kind of like crisp, like respectful, but. Those two, those two rice starters, I think was my personal favorite. In terms of, when you start off with dinner, you have these two items. You’re like this one seems a little similar to a spicy, kinda crispy rice, the LTL one. It’s like, I don’t think I’ve ever had something like this before. Cause I’ve never had anything like that before. So it kind of set the tone a bit, the dinner. Um, that was a way longer than a minute,


Bryan: (00:51:20) one minute 34 seconds.


Maggie: (00:51:24) That sounded really good. Awesome. So how can our listeners find out more about you online HQ?


H Woo: (00:51:30) Um, on all social media platforms as at a true dot Lee on about us, I’m just at nature blue. Uh, an April is just HW O and I know there’s a lot of people that are like, how do you say your name is? Woo. Woo. I just can’t put a space in handles. I wish I could put a space there. Um, and then YouTube, I believe is just. C slash H really? I don’t know the URL for it.


Maggie: (00:52:03) Okay. We’ll look it up and we’ll include it. Yeah,


Bryan: (00:52:07) yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time tonight. H Lou, I appreciate all that you put out and all the content and this podcast too, like it’s great hearing from you and learning from you. And I don’t know if this is right, but this is just the first podcast we recorded ever.

H Woo: (00:52:25) Is my. Technically it’s my first, it’s my first solo podcast.


Maggie: (00:52:35) Oh, okay. Gotcha. So first solo podcast, you heard it here. First, H was first a little podcast.


Bryan: (00:52:44) I’ve seen that credit forever.


Maggie: (00:52:47) Awesome. Hearing your story today, too. Thank you so much for being on the show.


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