Amelie Kang

Málà Project
East Village, NYC
We remember Málà Project opening like it was yesterday; in a sense Busboy found it's footing there (we would often gush over food together here.) When the East Village is blustering and freezing over, you can hop into the warm lights and fill your stomach with their infamous dry pot - traditional Chinese hot pot without the broth. Sipping Tsingtao between mouthfuls of Szechuan peppercorn-infused tofu is probably our happiest spot, which is why when the opportunity to interview Co-Founder Amelie Kang popped up, we were beyond excited. We sat down with Amelie over dinner to talk through her rise as a restauranteur, and what the industry has taught her along the way.
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What is your full name, age, and where are you from?

My legal name is Ning King but I go by Amelie. I’m from Beijing, China and I’m 28.

What is your role here? How did you get into this industry?

I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Mala Project. I actually went to the Culinary Institute of America and studied culinary arts management. We were cooking for two years, trained to be professional chefs. The last year we studied the management side of business. After we graduated this just became a natural path.

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Did you ever want to work in the kitchen?

I knew I loved food so I wanted to do something with food. When I applied to the CIA I actually did want to be a chef. Only when I began studying management did I know that’s actually what I wanted to do.

I liked the ability to see the whole scale of the restaurant. When you’re in the kitchen you’re tied to the kitchen. I wanted to do something that allowed me to do everything.

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What was growing up like for you?

I grew up with my grandparents because my parents were always working. My grandma used to cook, so I would look forward to dinner every night at 5:30. It was always 5:30. So I was pretty shocked when I came here and found out nobody eats before 7.

My grandma was a really wonderful cook, she explored a lot of dishes. She’s from the north, my hometown is Tangshan.

What do you think working in this industry has taught you?

Every time you have a problem or you have to face something, you actually have to face it. If you see something that has to be done, you do it there and you do it then.

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Word Association

Coffee | Milk

Sneakers | Bars

Shots | Tequila

Munchies | Media

Chicken | Dance

Work | College

Self Care | Mask

Song | Jay Chou

Flirt | Pass

Philosophy | Values

Home | Sick

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