Tell me a bit about how Madam Woo started?
"Madam Woo started from a real love of Malaysian food. I have always had my favourite Malaysian go-to restaurants in whichever part of the world I was living in.
I love the way the food merges different influences and cultures like Chinese and Indian, so we wanted to go out and create a buzzing restaurant that served true authentic Malaysia food in a fun atmosphere."
What do you think sets your Christchurch eatery apart?
"We work hard to create a buzzing, fun environment at Madam Woo and we focus very strongly on serving delicious food and providing attentive and knowledgeable service. There are also many ways to enjoy the Madam Woo experience, whether it is for a quick bite, family dinner or big group for a night out."
What do you think is the most important piece of advice for a budding restaurateur?
"Think clearly about your long-term goals and what you want out of the restaurant, before you begin. Opening restaurants is a tough business with a certain amount of risk involved and nothing happens without pouring a huge amount of time and energy into it. Be ready to make some sacrifices."
What do you love most about the food industry?
"For me, it is all about the food. I love the process of starting with great produce and cooking it simply or using more complex cooking techniques for a different result, I also just love to eat and try different things."
Who first introduced you to food?
"I was encouraged to bake from a very early age, so was always into baking, cakes, pavlovas, slices – anything, really, to keep me out of trouble."
What do you think makes a dynamic team when it comes to running a successful restaurant?
"Being able to work together as a partnership and merge ideas successfully. It is very visible for instance when the food is heading in one direction and there are conflicting ideas about the style of service – for a restaurant to work successfully, the ideas need to be harmonious."
Why do you think the Madam Woo brand has been so wildly successful?
"Firstly, because we focus so hard on making sure the food is absolutely delicious and consistent across our restaurants and that it is a true representation of the Hawker and Nonya food from Malaysia. We also work focus on training our front of house team to provide fun, knowledgeable service."
What's your favourite dish?
"At Madam Woo my favourite dish is the Char Kway Teow. I have eaten so many versions throughout Malaysia and I think ours is as good as you will get anywhere."
"Opening restaurants is a tough business with a certain amount of risk involved. Nothing happens without pouring a huge amount of time and energy into it. Be ready to make some sacrifices." – Josh Emett.