This is Wayne Chow, from Vancouver, bar manager at Lunch Lady.
Wayne is 37 years old. He was born and raised in Richmond, about 30 minutes South of Vancouver, and he still resides there. He studied at the University of British-Colombia, did a major in Sociology, a minor in psychology and graduated in 2007. Wayne has always worked to pay for his school. If he did not think that he would end up working in hospitality for this long, it turns out that he’s now managing the bar program the Lunch Lady, a little gem of a restaurant located in East Van.
Wayne started to work in hospitality right at 16 years old. He started back of house, from dishwasher to line cook, and eventually realized that it wasn’t for him. Back then, he was pretty shy and needed to find a way to break out of his shell. He decided to do a full change and got himself a job front of house. At 18 years old, almost turning 19, he enrolled in bartending school. He did very well, so once he finished the intensive course, he realized that bartending was something he could pursue. He got his first job behind the wood at a karaoke bar in Richmond, where he learnt more about the people than the craft. After that, he went to work at a Milestones, where he learnt a lot about systems and structure. Following that, he got himself a job at a casino, where he would end up working for the following eight years, right until the pandemic hit and he was offered the bar manager position for the opening of the Lunch Lady.
All along his many years of bartending experience right until he started to work at The Lunch Lady, Wayne never really worked in craft cocktail bars. However, through the years, he had become very curious about cocktails and taught himself through a lot of research and reading. He would also go to the best bars, taste a lot of cocktails and go home to do some further research. Hence why when he was approached to create the bar program and open the Lunch Lady, he was definitely ready to undertake the challenge. And oh boy! he succeeded. The cocktail menu he designed is inspired by simple variations on classic cocktails that integrate Vietnamese flavours. Think phö flavoured Old Fashioned, Vietnamese coffee Negroni or some other deliciousness along those lines.
Overall, we ended up meeting with Wayne because we loved everything about the Lunch Lady so much that we wanted to share with you all how amazing this place is. The cocktail menu is fairly small, but precisely executed and conceptually very well taught. The food is absolutely outstanding. The staff works as a team and genuinely cares about making the guests happy. It really is a little gem of a restaurant and we couldn’t recommend it enough.
For Wayne's cocktail recipe, click here!
A little bit more about Wayne...
The three words that describe him best: Meticulous – consistent – loyal
His favorite after work drink: Whiskey neat, beer chaser.
One thing to do on his life to do list: Opening his own bar.
What he loves most about hospitality: “Just seeing or knowing that you’re helping people have a good time. People come here and you are the one person that pretty much facilitates whether or not they’re having a good time. And all the different people that you meet. I think it’s what keeps me going.”
One bottle to bring on a desert island: One big bottle of pre-batched negroni.