From the chefs, standing over flaming hot woks or folding dumplings with a light delicacy, and the waiters and waitresses, with their extensive knowledge of and passion for the dishes on offer, to the sommeliers, maître d’s, buyers, reservations teams and marketing: within every smoothly running restaurant are people working tirelessly behind the scenes.
A good team is fundamental to the success of a restaurant. One of the biggest advocates of this is Gigi Huang, the well-known and respected Houston restaurateur and recently appointed marketing manager and brand ambassador of Yauatcha Houston.
Gigi has had a long and illustrious career working within the restaurant industry. At the age of 12 she started working for her father, the renowned James Huang, at his restaurant, Hunan Restaurant on Post Oak Boulevard, just one block from where Yauatcha is now located at The Galleria. She went on to develop eight restaurants both independently and with her father, and became famous in the city for her many memorable parties, fundraisers and chef’s dinners.
“At first, I suppose I started working in the restaurant industry by default. My father had just opened his first restaurant; it was the original upscale Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas. Hunan Restaurant had only 20 tables, and it was an immediate success: people lined up outside to wait for reservations,” Gigi says.
Gigi’s experience has taught her that people are essential to the industry. “Although I was very shy when I was younger, I would naturally come out of my shell at the restaurant, and I enjoyed engaging with our guests. The restaurant industry is built around people, and it teaches you how to communicate with every different personality type. Meeting and interacting with so many interesting people is one of my favorite aspects of the hospitality industry.”
She talks about her personal memories of dim sum. “Dim sum is fun. The concept of sharing plates is interactive and communal, and always ensures a wonderful time with friends and family. I have early memories of watching my mother and my aunts making dumplings whilst they chatted around the table.”
Gigi is excited to introduce Yauatcha to Houston: “Yauatcha is a completely unique concept to Houston – we don’t have anything else like it.
“Yauatcha is a brand that sets high standards across all aspects of the restaurant – the menu, the operations, marketing – and I have admired that from the beginning. This level of professionalism and attention to detail are what makes the concept so wonderful and successful across so many markets.”
It is this that has helped retain the unique environment associated with the restaurant: “Yauatcha has a festive atmosphere, with guests organically bonding around the table over the diverse flavors and textures of various dim sum dishes. It is an exciting culinary experience unlike any other that the city has had thus far.”
Yauatcha Houston is now open, located in The Galleria.