Still here, Still alive: Chefbaobae

Still here, still alive: Chefbaobae

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Some days it can be difficult to maintain our mental health throughout our adult life. Little wins that we achieve throughout the week may not feel like enough and it’s we might start to question the environment that we’re exposing ourselves to, whether it’s at work, at home, or on the road. 

I believe the very core of what keeps our mental health together through challenging times is how fulfilled we are. Where do we find fulfillment? It can come from a variety of spaces that resonates with us; it could be the space we surround ourselves in, the tasks we accomplish whether they are big or small, and even the people we interact with. Continuing to fill our souls with things that keep us fulfilled helps us treat our mental health and fuel our passion to create, to work, and to enjoy the little things in our day to day. 

I want to introduce to you Britney Wang (@Chefbaobae). She was born in Shanghai, China and grew up in the sunny city of Honolulu, Hawaii. Britney “Dumpling Queen” Wang always had a love for food.

Growing up in Hawaii, she would often find herself craving the food she missed in Shanghai, especially her grandmother’s. Because Hawaii has a limited variety of Chinese cuisine, as a kid she would constantly find herself in the kitchen trying to bring these beloved dishes back to life.  From helping her mom make wontons to selling homemade almond cookies in her tiny stall, it slowly became apparent that this was not just a hobby.

In 2014 she moved to Los Angeles to work as a finance analyst.  Despite her family’s pressure for her to continue on a “secure” path, you just can’t keep a girl away from what she was meant to be. 

Britney is now a chef specializing in Shanghainese-Chinese cuisine with her modern twist.  Besides creating delicious dumplings, she hosts Dumpling Making Classes with a mission to show that we are more similar than different.

Q1. The pandemic has had adverse effects with everyone’s mental health, and sometimes it’s hard to find joy with so much negativity that surrounds us. What has brought you fulfillment during the pandemic? 

2020 was definitely a super special year for all of humanity and it definitely affected normal folks like us. Especially creatives/ entrepreneurs who relied on themselves and the community to make a living.  When it came to food, something that is directly related to experiences and bringing people together, we were hit super hard. 

It was inevitable Dumpling Making Classes had to stop but the question remained. Until when?? This anxiety which came from multiple sources of loss, uncertainty, finances, etc. mentally affected me and the majority of my community.  

What has helped me was that I started paying attention to what I control vs. the things out of my control. It was definitely a big step when I started selling food from home. I felt like a robot making frozen dumplings every day. Not fulfilling at all. But the day I perfected the pan-fried soup dumpling, that’s when things started turn around. 

Selling Shanghainese pan-fried soup dumplings helped me realize I was also able to bring myself the same fulfillment Dumpling Making Classes gave me. I was again able to share something that was dear to my heart, my childhood, experiences and culture in the most authentic and best way possible: through food. It’s always a treat to hear the community’s response. Whether it be someone’s first pan-fried soup dumpling, or taking someone else back to their childhood, or being able to connect with each other through our culture’s food… little things like this remind me why I do what I do. 

Instead of feeling helpless, I started to feel like I was in control.

Continue to do what you love and find joy in. Stay present and take notice in the things you do with no hesitation and no one telling you to. Instead of focusing on the BIGGER WHY, find joy in the little things you love to do also helps you find your why.  That’s how I find joy. In the little things that brings you joy and being present to those experiences makes life that much more fulfilling. 

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