Coronavirus Diaries: Lily Hoa Nguyen of Vietnamese Foodies

Since the beginning of March, Covid-19 has changed our lives in so many different ways, especially when you are both a restaurateur, running two popular restaurants and a mom of two school aged children. Here is what my typical day looks like:

7am: We wake up together as a family to cook and eat breakfast together as this is the only meal we have all the family members present. My sons, Berk (age six) and Kaan (age four) particularly enjoy the Lion King’s soundtrack with their breakfast so we all leave the table feeling like powerful Simba or playful Timom and Pumbaa.

8am: Time to wash up and get ready for the day ahead. The boys get changed into their school uniforms but instead of being driven to school by their dad, they get to spend some more play-time at home before their home learning starts at 8.30am.
9am:  I arrive at the Vietnamese Foodies office to start going through any HR, finance or marketing tasks that I have for the day. I am currently working on implementing a new performance review and personal development plan for our employees which we plan to run twice a year. More than ever, personel retention and development is a very important area as it plays a big role in the customer experience in our restaurants. We pride ourselves on authentic, fresh and healthy Vietnamese flavours so its important for us that our service follows suit.
12pm: I leave the office to go to one of the branches, either in JLT or Downtown where I spend time talking to the team and our customers. Being present on the ground is the best way for me to anticipate problems and find solutions to  improve our food and service quality. I also taste the food and check the produce and prepared ingredients before we serve our customers. Most of my best ideas about our menu offerings come from my time spent in the kitchen.
3pm: It’s my break to spend time with my children, I normally go home and we will play a few board games or read some books together. We sometimes make a small treat or bake a cake and sometimes we do gymnastics together with Youtube videos – our favourite channel is Go! Noodle.

5pm: I sometimes cook dinner for my husband and I, or we go somewhere to eat. After that, it’s time for us to visit the other branch that I didn’t have the chance to visit that day. During rush hour and particularly during this time, I work closely with the team to monitor orders, dispatch deliveries or whichever tasks that needs to be done. During this time, everyone is pitching in and my husband has often helped with deliveries to ensure that our customers get their food on time!

9pm: When the restaurant quiets down, we go home and have some time to wind down and relax before bed. It it’s a weekend night we would watch a movie on Netflix or a series that we want to watch – but I would typically drift off in the middle of it to start reading a book on my Kindle. This really irritates my home-theater partner!

During weekends when the children have no school work to do, we would spend time doing some science experiments which is Berk’s latest obsession, or a craft project (our latest one was Easter Egg Decorations). We recently start to go to the pool early in the morning or late at night, and we spend more time cooking and eating together, as we are the original Vietnamese Foodies!

Written By CATERER