Flavor of Life: 3 entrepreneurs in food business – Angela Wong (’84), Angel Wong (’93) & Samantha Tam (’93)

‘Passion can change everything. Follow your heart for what you love.’ 

Fellow Maryknollers‐cum‐entrepreneurs, 

Samantha Tam (’93), Angela Leung (’84), and Angel Wong (’93) shared their flavors of life on a Saturday afternoon, recollecting times when they challenged themselves beyond comfort zones. With no relevant training nor experience, they dived into the food industry with a simple reason – their love for food. 

The Sweet Spot 

Samantha came from a manufacturing background, for over 10 years in appliances. However, she always likes to bake. The can‐do spirit she learnt in Maryknoll ignited her passion to be a professional baker. After taking a full‐time course from the Le Cordon Bleu, the world renowned culinary institution in Paris, she set up an online bakery shop while also busy taking care of her young daughter. “I am still happy with my full schedule,” she told us. The experience of freedom at school was catalytic in building her confidence, and she is motivated to make her dream come true. 

The other speaker, Angel, felt most grateful to the Form 1 teachers who helped her adapt as her primary education was with another school. The freedom in MCS allowed her to explore many interests outside the academic studies. She was an active basketball player, and persistence and passion are her motto to success. “Girls with Maryknoll spirits are able to study and play at the same time!” Angel, a café lover, recalled that she joined the industry by chance. Just a causal talk with her friend made her decide to start her café, and subsequently, switched to focus on catering service. 

The venue owner of the day, Angela, owns a fusion restaurant and also a chain of award‐ winning Ramen shops. During her 14 years in Maryknoll, she learnt to make quick decisions in a blink. (Was it related that she was an accomplished athlete back then?) As an i‐banker for over a decade, Angela was tired of endless business trips. She applied for a full‐time culinary program but the interviewers didn’t believe she was serious. “I promised them that I would quit my job immediately if they admitted me, and I did.” We were amazed by her determination and drive. Totally. 

Dry and Bitter 

Those who work in the food industry were often perceived by the public as ‘poorly educated’, and it wasn’t until recently that such perception has changed. Yet hiring the right staff is still a headache. Our entrepreneurs emphasized the high operation cost as well as long working hours in the industry, advising people not to own a restaurant, and to consider all aspects practically and carefully. 

Angel told us she worked 12 to 14 hours a day in the café to serve the demanding customers, who would complain about anything when she was not there. The café work has occupied her entire life for years. Her business partner decided to quit and leave in a short notice, and requested Angel to take over the café within one week! During her long hours of work, she could not spare much time with her father. After her father passed away, the sad experience made her aware that family should be more important than work. Since then, she switched to the catering business which has a more flexible schedule. 

The Aromatic Aftertaste 

Angela shared that her tip to success is to relieve from pressure and allow things to run naturally. More importantly, Maryknollers should be responsible persons in society while keeping a low profile, as the school has taught us to serve others. Samantha was touched by the devotion of fellow Maryknollers, hence became a FSA volunteer herself ‐ so now we can enjoy the MCS cookies which has been the biggest hit for ordering every year! 

We were glad to taste the flavors of life of the speakers that afternoon, and hope their passion can be passed to you all. 

Bon Appetite! 

Eva So (‘99) 

Glorious Food Talk ‐ I am delighted to enjoy a cup of tea and chat about food with our honorable guests Angela Leung, Angel Wong and Samantha Tam. Throughout the talk, we were able to listen to enjoyment and challenges of being an entrepreneur. To be a successful leader, Angela believes that understanding direct objectives and directions are important, also teamwork and passion. – Amy Tin (‘07) 

I really appreciate the candor with which the speakers share their stories with us. The passion for their professions, their take on life in general, and their days at MCS. I see our school as the wonderful nurturing ground for people to dare their dreams come true, and to become resourceful individuals. It was also heartwarming to see quite a few new faces too. The audience was also responsive and the exchange was lively and interesting. – Maggie Chau (’84) 

It was a warm and lovely afternoon mingling with Maryknollers of different generations. The speakers’ sharing was truly inspiring. “Maryknollers hate to get bored”, this is one of the qualities which keeps us interesting, willing to learn and to change. I am proud of being a Maryknoller. – Polly Chan (’98)

Follow your heart & pursue your dreams with a passionate heart. Discover and rediscover yourself through your persuits. One may think they know themselves well but life is full of surprises, even within the journey of oneself!  -Melody Funk (’82)

Joining this food talk is a really delightful and meaningful experience for me. I can not only meet the expertise in the food and beverage industry which I have always been interested in, but also reconsider how a real Maryknoller should be. The impact corner does make me realize the impact made by Maryknollers to home, to country, to the world. No matter how big or small it is, we still contribute to the society.  – Cecilia Lau (current student) 

I thought the Impact Corner session was a lovely experience. Having Angel, Angela and Samantha share their personal stories and experiences on their road to success, was truly inspiring and encouraging. – Pearl Shek, daughter of Emily Ngan 

This is the first time I come to an Impact Corner talk. I’m so glad to say I have taken a lot from the three speakers. The whole‐hearted sharing of Angela, Angel and Samantha of their experiences – their ups and downs – touched me deeply. Listening to them, I can undoubtedly tell they are fully passionate and motivated at what they do. This is so important in today’s continuously changing or challenging food industry. Their stories have certainly inspired me and others (especially young Maryknollers) to live fully the Maryknoll spirit. Petrina Louey (’89)