ldner #219 | bonnie chung

Our LDNER this week is the founder of Miso Tasty, who’s gone from cooking with miso in her kitchen to travelling around Japan learning the art of miso making to having her range of snacks and meal kits stocked in over 1000 stores nationwide. Meet Bonnie Chung…

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

I have lived in Hackney for more than 10 years now and currently flatshare in Stoke Newington. I adore this area’s incredible mix of independent restaurants and cafes – especially great for brunches and proper Italian food! Not forgetting the lush Clissold Park for morning runs and Sunday picnics. There is so much character here, lovely gift shops, florists and the neighbours are really friendly too!

My office is just off Broadway Market and I take the prettiest walk to work each morning through Newington Green, De Beauvoir and along the canal. By the time I’ve reached work, I feel like I’ve had some peaceful time to myself before the day kicks off with its usual mix of urgency, humour and chaos! I couldn’t imagine commuting on a tube each morning and I love that working and living in Hackney allows me to avoid that altogether – I always wear flat shoes so I can walk everywhere!

Of all the ingredients, why did you want to work with miso so much?

I actually never really set out to focus on one particular ingredient! I started by being a real fan of cooking with miso; it delivers so much flavour and due to its versatility is the basis of so much cooking in Asian cuisines. I also love that it has so many nutritional benefits if eaten regularly, hence being established in Japan as a source for maintaining a good diet. Miso heritage is fascinating!

The more I learnt about miso the more I wanted to know! I am still discovering so many new facets to miso and feel like I’m still on a learning journey. I have now become quite a specialist in the subject of miso and its many varieties over the years. I can’t quite believe that my hobby interest has been transformed into a business and cookbook today.

How did it feel to be included on Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35 2017 list?

It was such an honour to be included in an amazing list of other great women; I think it is great that we are celebrating the importance of diversity in female leadership. There were lots of people in the list that I really admired so it motivates me to be improve in many aspects of my life. It was also awesome to see other start-up entrepreneurs who are doing something a little different to climbing the corporate ladder.

You smashed your Seedrs crowdfunding target in just 36 hours, what advice do you have for people on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign and start up their own business?

I can offer two pieces of advice for both running a business and running a successful campaign; whatever the goal. Perseverance; developing an ability to keep bouncing back and pushing on hard regardless of how many times you fall over is absolutely key to any success, however small or big the target. The truth is none of this is easy; you will often be at the brink of failure and questioning yourself. Committing to perseverance however will not only make success possible but it will also make it a lot more fun, and also rewarding when you eventually look back and see just how hard you worked to make it happen.

Surround yourself with the right people. I couldn’t do a fraction of what I do today in the business or drive the crowd-funding campaign as hard as we did without the amazing team I have around me. In the early days, it is often thought that it is hard to afford the “best” people when you are start-up, but I have learnt that there is no such thing as the “best” people. However if you hire the “right” people for the company and for the role, they turn out to be the best for the company. In turn, this makes growing a business possible and really great fun! I fully credit the continued growth and success of Miso Tasty to having the best team around me who I love working with everyday.

What new Miso Tasty products should we be keeping an eye out for?

We recently launched a range of Ramen Noodle Kits which have been very successful and are now available in all Waitrose and Wholefoods stores. In the pipeline we also have a new Barley miso soup launching this autumn, as well as some brand new meal kits too. We are constantly developing new flavours and product improvements to our range, so keep an eye out!

Describe your perfect day in London.

It would of course have to be a sunny day, starting with a great brunch with delicious eggs! I love Andina in Shoreditch, The Good Egg in Stoke Newington or El Ganso on Broadway Market. Browsing little shops around Hackney and drinking coffee on the canal, then walking into town for an evening in Soho. A film at the Curzon, a dinner in a little restaurant off Old Compton Street and then winding down with a cheeky late, late show at Ronnie’s whilst enjoying a glass of wine…perfect!