Hong Kong is a spot brimming with proficient and intriguing individuals. In our weekly 27 Questions column, we stand up shut and private with town’s notable personalities, studying about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and desires — all in roughly the identical period of time it takes to sit down via a two-minute pace date.
Whether or not it’s the well-known tom yum soup shot or an Alexander Calder-inspired cocktail set up, The Woods — the brainchild of Victoria Chow — is fondly etched within the minds of Hong Kong epicureans for its fascinating method to artisanal cocktails.
Initially a downstairs hideaway opened in 2014 within the coronary heart of SoHo, The Woods could be likened to half artist’s studio, half alchemist’s laboratory, identified for doling out rigorously created experiential choices that challenged the style buds with boutique spirits and contemporary components alike. It was additionally the primary on the town to supply a novel prix fixe cocktail tasting menu, pairing elegant bites together with your tipple relying on the theme of the month.
The Woods has since succumbed to the premature finish that almost all proprietors in Hong Kong know and concern — a lease that couldn’t be renewed. However Chow noticed the prospect to evolve the idea, referring to the brick and mortar section as The Woods’ ‘research’ and now The Woods Nomadic as their ‘closing thesis’. Since final yr, the cocktail bar has lived on as a month-to-month pop-up idea that has to this point taken the crew to Kennedy City’s ‘Instagram pier,’ a sun shades retailer and a florist. The Woods additionally exists as The Woods Annex — a personal tasting room expertise the place friends can delve right into a library of over 400 bottles of spirits from Chow’s assortment.
With earlier collaborations together with excessive finish manufacturers reminiscent of Tom Dixon, Omega, Acqua di Parma and Hennessy, Victoria Chow has additionally introduced her crew on a consultative foundation across the globe, from the Maldives to Sri Lanka to Berlin, educating via workshops, home syllabi in addition to a soon-to-launch on-line content material platform for similar-minded spirits geeks.
Recognised as a spirits specialist nowadays (even her two rescued cats are named Whiskey and Gin), it comes as little shock that Chow first minimize her enamel within the storytelling subject: from her first job throughout college as a photographer and photograph editor, which later manifested into a number of years in a advertising and marketing profession earlier than the launch of The Woods. We chat with Chow about the whole lot from her go-to drink at residence to her second obsession after spirits — learn on to seek out out extra.
Identify: Victoria Chow
Occupation: To sum it up, booze. Extra particularly, spirits.
1. What’s the greatest meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?
It’s all the time been the Shanghainese food my mom cooks.
2. What was your first job?
I did numerous odd jobs once I was youthful. The very first one could be interning at HK Journal. I made a decision to kill my social life and work over the Christmas holidays throughout highschool. Why did I do this? In college, I labored the ground at an Abercrombie & Fitch (you’d be capable to odor me from a mile away), on the college name centre asking for donations from alums (obtained used to individuals hanging up on me rather a lot), crunched statistics (rebounds, passes and all of the numbers that take the joy out of a sport) for the UC Berkeley basketball crew, and spent the remainder of my time once I wasn’t in school (or out consuming) working as photographer and photograph editor for the native newspaper.
three. What’s your drink of selection?
Asking the essential questions. For a weeknight tipple at residence – Mancino Bianco vermouth with soda water and lemon peel. My solely nod to low ABV! Over dinners, in fact it is determined by the meal, however typically a medium bodied Pinot Noir. At good cocktail bars – I’ll have one thing I haven’t had earlier than, a Negroni, or a dirty martini relying on the temper. At different bars – gin & tonic (so long as they’ve respectable tonic water)… Every other time (and that’s numerous the time), pale ales or IPAs.
four. When was the final time you drove a automotive?
In San Francisco final month. Two of the routes I drive every time I’m again all the time brings me to tears – one which will get onto the Pacific Coast freeway and the place you get the primary glimpse of the ocean, and the opposite in direction of Napa Valley the place the vines begin coming into view so far as your eyes can see.
5. What’s the neatest thing in or about your house?
6. Are you a morning particular person or an evening owl?
Evening owl. I have to get up sluggish… Nothing productive will get carried out within the morning. No exercises or essential calls/conferences. Simply studying the information, choosing up any mess from the night time earlier than, and petting my cats. I really like the hours between 10pm and 2am when emails and textual content messages cease coming in and I can 110 % give attention to no matter it’s I have to get carried out.
7. Which cellphone app do you suppose extra individuals ought to learn about?
Girls – hold monitor of your cycles on an app like Flo. It’s helped me perceive my physique a lot extra in terms of temper fluctuations, vitality ranges, and even how heavy you may carry throughout a piece out sesh relying on the time of month.
If you happen to’re wherever you may see the celebs, the augmented actuality astronomy apps reminiscent of Skyview are really wonderful.
HeadsUp must also all the time be in your cellphone for impromptu video games with colleagues, household, and associates throughout downtimes or journey days!
eight. If you happen to might solely eat one factor for the remainder of your life, what would it not be?
Fruits. I really like all fruits. My greatest good friend calls me loopy fruit woman.
9. What’s your greatest remorse in life?
Don’t have one (but).
10. What do you hate most about residing in Hong Kong?
The air air pollution. I’ve allergy-induced bronchial asthma due to it.
11. What’s the prime vacation spot in your bucket listing?
Okay it’ll need to be plural locations. I’m headed to Eire this yr for my bachelorette occasion and that’s been on my listing for ages. Scotland can be excessive up there for a full-blown whisky tour however that’ll need to be one other time. Different massive ones embrace Mongolia, Antarctica, Morocco, Bolivia, Georgia, Oman, Namibia, Iceland, Cuba, and the Grand Canyon. The listing goes on, and sure, there may be an precise listing on a Google Doc that I share with all my closest associates.
12. How typically do you put together your individual meals?
My fiancé and I take turns, and once we’re not travelling, we eat at residence round 4 nights of the week, so very often! One in all our resolutions this yr is to solely cook dinner vegetarian on weekdays to focus extra on a plant-based food regimen – higher for our our bodies, and infinitely higher for the atmosphere in the long term.
13. Are you a very good cook dinner? What’s your greatest dish?
I’d wish to suppose I’m a good cook dinner, however I’m a greater baker (satirically now since I can’t have a lot sugar anymore). I was (in)well-known in highschool for my bottomless provide of brownies (not particular ones), and I used to bribe my photograph division employees to point out as much as conferences whereas in school with freshly baked cookies.
14. What’s your biggest concern?
15. What’s your favorite childhood reminiscence?
Getting frozen yogurt (all the time berry flavoured) each weekend with my dad at a spot close to our residence in California.
16. What’s your greatest responsible pleasure?
Reruns of Frasier or Pals. And cookies. I freaking love cookies. It’s solely ‘responsible’ for me as a result of I’m not imagined to have an excessive amount of processed sugar as a result of some intestine issues, so each time I sneak a chunk it positively feels ‘responsible.’ In case you have no such points and also you’re in good well being, PLEASE EAT ALL THE COOKIES YOU WANT AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY!
17. What’s one film everybody ought to see?
The documentary, The Sport Changers.
18. What’s your typical Sunday like?
Waking up sluggish (very sluggish), then making a giant breakfast – it typically adjustments but it surely regularly includes eggs, avocados, fruits, yogurt, bagels, lox, and mimosas. Sunday is all the time household day so I meet up with my mother and father, sisters, brother-in-laws and nephews for dim sum.
19. Which second in your life would you most wish to relive?
Dancing backstage to “September” when Earth Wind Hearth carried out at Clockenflap and The Woods crew and I had been serving up cocktails to the artists. It was a tune we performed at work rather a lot and it was absolute euphoria listening to it stay and on stage whereas searching on the crowd going wild towards the glowing Hong Kong skyline (this was when Clockenflap was nonetheless held on the West Kowloon harbourfront).
20. What makes somebody an actual Hongkonger?
Once you begin craving dim sum or cha chaan teng meals inside just a few days of being away. Or when you end up speaking about your Marco Polo Membership standing and which bank card is greatest for racking up Asia Miles.
21. If you happen to might invite any 5 individuals on the earth to your dream ceremonial dinner, who would they be?
Olafur Eliasson, Andy Goldsworthy, Grant Achatz, Rene Redzepi, and Robert Parker.
22. What’s one tune you realize all of the lyrics to?
Don’t Cease Me Now – Queen.
23. What’s your favorite scent in the entire world?
Pine. Contemporary Christmas timber make me fall in love. And St. George Terroir that options Douglas Fir as one in all its key botanicals is one in all my favorite gins.
24. Who’s the very best instructor you’ve ever had, what’s one essential lesson that they taught you?
I did a semester overseas throughout college known as ‘Semester at Sea’ the place we principally lived on a cruise ship. Our key professor there, Don Gogniat, reminded us that the extra you realize, the extra attention-grabbing issues get, so it inspired us to all the time study extra and do our analysis once we method new matters, even people who don’t initially curiosity us. Additionally to by no means let our age get higher than the variety of international locations we have now visited.
25. What number of international locations have you ever been to?
51 and counting.
26. Have you ever ever skilled love at first sight? Inform us about it.
May or not it’s with a distillery? Once I visited the Poli (grappa) distillery in Veneto, Italy. It was so impeccably clear, superbly designed, and completely and proudly showcased its merchandise and processes. The model has an exceptional household story behind it and it was instructed splendidly all through the journey. I fell in love with the grappa, the placement, the design of the bottles, and the entire expertise .
27. Would you reasonably by no means be alone for a single second, or be alone for the remainder of your life? Why?
By no means be alone for a single second. Despite the fact that I’m an introvert, I really feel strongly that one in all my favorite issues on the earth – a very good tipple, tastes greatest when shared!