Other Women’s Job / Lily Hoa Nguyen

Lily Hoa Nguyen is the co-founder and owner of Vietnamese Foodies, an authentic and healthy Vietnamese restaurant based in Dubai. She grew up in Saigon also called Ho Chi Minh City, therefore, she was always fascinated by Vietnamese culture, and it had a great impact on her cooking. With the experience gained from her previous jobs in Vietnam, Istanbul, and Paris, she built up Vietnamese Foodies.

What her day looks like…

7:30 AM: I usually wake up around this time, I never have to set the alarm since the noise when the kids awake served as the best alarm ever. And following is my husband who is also awakened by the noise. Once our children are ready in their uniforms and in the kitchen, I prepare the lunch boxes and their morning meals. After that, my husband takes the kids to school, and I go back to my room to brush my teeth and take a shower.

8:15 AM: Waiting for my husband to come back from his trip to our kids’ school, I prepare breakfast for us, some Vietnamese dishes for me, bread, some cheeses for him, and coffee for both of us (of course), we love coffee. Once he is home, we share breakfast and talk about our business’s situation, plan, and other economic topics. By 8:45 am, we bid each other goodbye and headed to the office.

9:15 AM: I normally arrive at the office by this time and answer all my mail, mostly from partners and my employees. If there is an upcoming event, there are lots of phone calls that need to happen. Since my start-up has a modest management team, there is a lot of work needed to handle from business development to managing inventory and budget.

10 AM: Usually around 10 to 11 AM, we will have the meeting of the kitchen team, operation team, HR team, or marketing team depending on the day. After the meeting, I will go to one of the restaurant branches under our brand name.

12 PM: This is lunchtime across our branches, the restaurant is normally very crowded so I can gain more insight when observing the customers, their types, orders, and experience with our service to improve our business. I always bring one small notebook with me and note all the information obtained in it.

1 PM: Lunchtime, my one. Having lunch is the best way to examine the food quality, I can check whether the Pho soup taste is authentic enough or the rice is perfectly cooked and fluffy. On top of that, I love Vietnamese food, it not only reminds me of my homeland but also of the childhood meals shared with my family. Professional development is important to me so I normally read some books after the meal.

2 PM: This is the time for me to go back to work. The marketing team normally will send their design and content to me around this time. We have a small team, but talent. Normally we will focus on how to deliver the best image of our restaurant to the customers, strategic plan, and priorities to figure out how we manage to get the enormous amount of work done.

4 PM: I usually go back home around this time to avoid traffic; Dubai traffic congestion is always a nightmare. When I came back home, the kids were already taken home by the driver and they always gave me a huge hug, sometimes my husband joined us as well.

4:30 PM: After telling my kids to take a shower, I go to the kitchen to prepare dinner. My husband will help me with the appetizers, he is not good at cooking. Then, we all have dinner together at 5 pm, our kids tell me about their day at school, and how good they are at sports or piano lessons. I cherish the meals we have together since I cannot meet them during the weekdays.

6 PM: After the meal, our kids can play a bit until their tutor comes to help them with their homework. When they are working on their homework, I will finish the remaining work of that day and my husband will read his newspaper. This is the most silent time we have together, only the sound of the kids’ pencils on paper and writing on my keyboards.

7 PM: Once the kids have finished their homework, we are going to watch some good movies together. Our family is a big fan of the Star Wars series and Marvel studio. I always make some popcorn for the kids and my husband, sometimes they fight over the popcorn.

8:30 PM: It’s time to put the kids to bed. My husband will stay in the living room to enjoy his favourite tennis match while I and the kids will go upstairs. The responsibility of telling bedtime stories is mine and I enjoy it, it is like a mom-and-kid secret time. And that is the end of my day.

Written By Raemona