There is a story behind every cake Joanna makes.
What’s your story?
From the age of 12, I felt that I was put on earth to make dessert. It is my expression of love for people and making people feel loved and cared for is my sense of purpose. It’s not so much the cake itself that I am trying to perfect. It’s the belief that love does make human beings better and cake is simply a medium. So I quit my job in advertising at 24, looked for a pastry commis role ( without academic studies in culinary ) in Mandarin Oriental Landmark to learn the techniques. The unique selling point of my cakes is that each cake is inspired by a story and they are incredibly delicious. My website is www.thesecretwithin.co. I am now working as a pastry chef in Nobu Hong Kong.
What excites you most about your industry?
To work with people from different walks of life. They each have their own story to tell.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Lived in Melbourne. I have worked in China and Singapore.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong and Singapore. The first advantage is the low tax. The people’s insatiable hunger for good food. And it’s so close to China. You can source literally anything you can think of in Hong Kong.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Always under promise but over deliver. It manages people well and you end up always exceeding expectation, making you stand out from the crowd.
Who inspires you?
Books inspire me more than people. All time inspiring books are The Course of Love by Alain de Botton and History of Political Philosophy by Leo Strauss.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Babies know instinctively how to walk. Newborns can not walk because they are born without kneecaps. But if you hold a baby upright with his feet on a flat surface, they will make a stepping motion.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Move to another country younger.
How do you unwind?
I like going for a massage, to the gym and spend time with my cat.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. It makes you feel refreshed and alive, especially after climbing Mount Ijen at 3am and watch the sunrise at the crater.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Getting to Yes by Bruce Patton.
Shameless plug for your business:
Cakes inspired by your story and the most delicious and beautiful ones in town.
How can people connect with you?
I don’t have one but I’m active on IG: joannayuenhk
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.