Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Toronto food blogger Stella Yu, who, along with co-founder Kristina Chau, is also behind two annual charity events highlighting culinary talent in the city with a fun twist. Curious? Read on to get the details…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Food Junkie Chronicles is a Toronto-based food blog. It is where I share my dining experiences at restaurants, food events, food tours and basically anything food-related in and around the city. My blog is entertaining and light-hearted, a very casual read with plenty of photos. I also run contests and giveaways to keep things fun for my readers.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
At first, Food Junkie Chronicles was really just a vehicle to keep track of where I ate and to store my food photos. I was tired of posting on Facebook; I wanted a dedicated space for my food obsession! Anyway, I started sharing my blog with friends and family whenever they asked me for restaurant recommendations. As I got more comfortable blogging, I realized I wanted to share Food Junkie Chronicles with a larger audience. I joined Twitter for this reason, and before I knew it strangers were telling me that they love reading my blog. This really motivated me to keep on blogging and the rest is history!
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part: Being involved in the city’s thriving food community.
The most challenging part: Ironically, it’s finding the time to blog. This is because I try to blog at least three times a week.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
I love food blogging so I don’t see that changing any time soon. I don’t have a five-year plan for it –I’m just going to take things one day at a time. If other opportunities arise from blogging, great! But if not, I’m perfectly fine continuing with what I’m doing now.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me means being happy and having the means to do the things I love to do. It also means having great relationships with close friends and family.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I can’t pinpoint just one memorable milestone from my three and a half years of blogging. I cherish and view everything that arises from it as a milestone. This includes all the amazing new friends I’ve made as well as several once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It has been a wonderful journey so far, much more than I’ve ever imagined.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Take advantage of your youth and pursue your dreams now, whatever they may be. Go and take risks. Even if things don’t work out, at the end at least you know you gave it your best shot. The worst thing is to live your life regretting not doing something you love.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am a co-founder of two annual charity events: Toronto’s Hottest Chef and Toronto’s Hottest Bartender. Both Kristina Chau (the other half of “Toronto’s Hottest”) and I wanted to do something different, something out of the ordinary. Our charity events involve online voting by the public with a finale event showcasing the finalists’ creations where all proceeds are donated to the winner’s choice of charity. “Toronto’s Hottest” is important to us because we want to showcase the amazing talents in our city in a fun and cheeky way while giving back to the community.
What is Notable to you?
Notable to me means being recognized as an expert in your field of work. It is the result of dedication, perseverance, experience and excellence.
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I was once a BlackBerry user and an iPhone user, so I figured it was time to give Android a go. I got the Samsung Galaxy S4 when it came out and I love it so far.
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I try to get as much sleep as possible. This unfortunately doesn’t happen during the week so I like to sleep in on the weekends. Coffee keeps me energetic and vibrant! If eating counts as a sport, then yes, I’m pretty active.