Who are you?
I’m Cat Yeh, chief culinary officer of Nomz. Since we’re a small start-up, not only am I responsible for creating tasty, traditional Asian recipes using high-quality ingredients, I also influence our photography/design as well as everything in between. Other than Nomz, I like trying new restaurants, and I have a Biewer Yorkie who “smiles” all the time.
Rice the Biewer Yorkie!
How did you get here?
While the journey took some twists and turns, it started at home in Taiwan. My mother has been an influential person in my life. One could say I’ve actually been a (sous) chef for decades. Since I was a child, I have helped my mother in the kitchen. And because she always made dinner when she returned home, I associated my favorite recipes – Taiwanese favorites including 3 cup chicken with basil, ginger chicken soup accented with clams – with my mom.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in food studies, I am classically trained (French Culinary Institute) and have spent countless hours preparing traditional New American/French fare such as herb roasted chicken, coq au vin and steak au poivre. Despite this, my favorite cuisine to explore has always been Asian, particularly the Taiwanese favorites I grew up eating. It just reminds me of Mom and home.
Before Nomz, I had culinary and media experiences with Baohaus, Ippudo, Becca PR and Bon Appetit. Somewhere along the way, I realized there isn't just one stage of food development that excites me; I enjoy many different steps of the recipe creative process: the research, the testing, the photography, etc. When I discovered the Nomz opportunity through mutual friends, I was thrilled by the prospect of creative freedom, role versatility and the ability to share my joy of cooking with the world in an easy and convenient way.
What is something our users doesn’t know about you?
I have artwork down my left arm. It’s the arm I dedicate to my passions and spirit. There are two major designs: an Asian god and a tribal pattern. The deity is the Kitchen God (“zhao sheng”) in traditional Chinese culture. Aside from representing my love for the culinary arts, the Kitchen God is the protector of health and family. The other design is an homage to my mother – it is the tribal pattern of the Atayal tribe (Tai Ya Zhu) of which my mother is a descendant. While many Taiwanese people migrated from China before and during the civil war, the indigenous community make up ~2-3% of the population.
Go-to restaurants in the city?
At the moment, I can suggest Kura, The Tang and Taiwanese Gourmet. Kura is a Japanese sushi restaurant that has a beautiful, elegant omakase in a smart casual atmosphere. While omakase is never cheap, I think Kura is a strong value given the freshness, variety and sheer experience of it all. The Tang, a contemporary Asian concept created by NYU classmates Eric Sze and Yu Li, is currently bae[i] as they primarily serve wonderfully starchy noodles in a variety of meaty, powerful sauces. I recommend the ma la beef noodle soup and the fried radish cakes; all entrees are a wonderful value at $15 or less. Taiwanese Gourmet is an old school, no-frills Taiwanese restaurant in Elmhurst, Queens, offering solid interpretations of the more exotic recipes of Taiwan including stinky tofu, duck tongue and for the adventurous, pork blood sticky rice cake marinated with cilantro, soy sauce and peanut flour (yes, it is exactly what it sounds like).
Unusual things about you?
Scared of height, scared of flying. Oh, and I have on occasion sniffed my dog’s paws…they smell like corn chips. It’s not weird; it’s a dog owner thing – look it up!
Thanks for reading and as always, thanks to the wonderful Nomz community for being our co-pilots on our amazing Nomz journey.
-To be continued-
[i] Editors note: BAE stands for “before anything else”. The word is a reference to one’s love interest
Nomz continues its spotlight of our wholesome and clean ingredients by turning our focus towards the lotus, a star ingredient of both our Spare Rib Lotus Root soup (stem) and the Mighty Mung Bean soup (seeds).
A fibrous vegetable, the lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is an aquatic plant native to tropical Asia, Australia and surrounding areas. Its roots (or more properly, rhizomes or stems) plant in the soil of a body of water, and the lotus sprouts upwards with leaves and flowers blossoming above the water surface.
Visual Diagram of the Lotus Plant (photo credit: digthedirt.com)
Lotuses and waterlilies may look similar, but as with Asian ethnicities, avoid confusing them as they are from different taxonomic families. One tell-tale difference lies in where the leaves and flowers rest. For waterlilies, they sit on the water surface. What a cool fact to mention on your next date to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens ("BBG")!
Popular for visual, religious and practical reasons, the lotus is the national flower of India and Vietnam. Many Asian divinities such as the Hindu god Vishnu are depicted as seated on a lotus flower, which in Buddhism symbolizes “the purity of the body, speech and mind floating above the muddled waters of material attachment and desire”(1). Not only are they beautiful, lotuses have several practical uses including as an herbal tea in China ( liánhuā cha, 蓮花茶), Korea (Yeonkkotcha, 연꽃차) and Vietnam (trà sen), as an ingredient in soups (Nomz!) or as a fried side dish in India (thamara vathal). While its uses in cooking, medicine, and baking are too numerous to fully list, the lotus plant is truly a versatile actor – the Ryan Gosling of aquatic flora.
The health benefits of lotus root has long been prized in traditional Asian medicine. Low in cholesterol/fat and high in fiber, lotus root is known to support proper digestion (fiber content), ward away colds (high vitamin C content), boost the overall immune system (high concentrations of vitamin C and minerals including magnesium, potassium and iron) and may help certain types of liver disease (2,3) While it has beneficial properties, we added lotus root to our spare rib soup primarily for its clean and refreshing taste. It's the perfect complement to succulent cuts of certified heritage Berkshire pork and light glass noodles.
To see the lotus in action, head on over to the Lily Pool Terrace (@ the BBG) where one can see waterlilies and lotuses side-by-side, turning the water surface into a verdant tapestry of blooms and greenery. And as you happily lean into your companion to admire the view, don’t forget to whisper how to distinguish between the water lily and the humble lotus plant – it just may be the very moment s/he remembers for the day!
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More information about our wholesome Asian soups for busy individuals can be found at eatnomz.com
(2) Study shows tannins contained in lotus root can alleviate hepatic steatosis in the livers of test mice - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228742/
(3) From a nutrition standpoints, the lotus root is a powerhouse: every 100 grams yields vitamin C (73% of daily recommended intake), protein (5%), Vitamin B1/B2/B6 (13%/17%/20%), iron (14%), potassium (16%), and magnesium (6%) - source
Sources: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5
Hello Nomz community,
Last week we rolled out a new packaging for our Nomz Pho! Below is a brief perspective on its detail and creative thought process – we hope you try it! As always, thank you for giving us an opportunity to help you eat well and save time with our convenient and premium Asian noodle soups.
Once again, the packaging sleeve is designed to appear as select panels of an unbroken surface and is a continuation of a series beginning with our Nomz Chicken Shiitake Mushroom soup. On the top panel, our designer renders his artistic interpretation of Nomz Pho using basic and natural shapes, colors and designs to recreate important elements of the recipe. This approach is core to Nomz, the use of minimal, premium ingredients to create powerful, memorable experiences. Fancy recipes certainly have their place, yet we firmly believe simple and familiar food – like Mom’s home-cooked meals - crafted with love and quality can stand up to anything.
While not an exhaustive list of ingredients (there are too many!), our artist selected both essential ingredients and elements that would capture well using his intentionally simple design language. While the color of pho broth is certainly not green, the minty backdrop was chosen to be playful and evoke feelings of restoration and vitality. We certainly can't mimic the broth color every time - it would be too repetitive!
What will be next?? Stay tuned...
Some early sketches of Nomz Pho below…
Hey Nomz community,
Thanks for all the love we have received for our recipes. The feedback and support have been wonderful. Many of you know that consuming our delicious and wholesome Asian soups make you feel great afterward, but we wanted to explain to Nomz fans how each individual ingredient - along with a focus on high-quality inputs, no preservatives and no MSG - help our bodies feel good. Keep on reading as Nomz customer Paul Hsiao takes us through the composition of our Chinese Chicken Shiitake Mushroom soup!
(1) Chicken (note: we proudly serve Bell and Evans organic chicken):
Dear Nomz community,
Today we introduce a new Nomz packaging! A sincere thank-you to all our early customers who looked past the awkward “adolescent” phase of our packaging and loyally purchased Nomz for its wholesome, traditional and delicious taste. Our journey for improvement does not end here (it never does), but it’s another step closer. We love you guys!
From the beginning, we desired a packaging that would match our conception of Nomz – simple Asian recipes rich in flavor, premium ingredients and memories of home. Asian food packaging can be binary and boring. In Western grocery stores, Asian food brands are often intensely Asian, trying (too) hard to be authentic with dragons and silly “Asian” script, while in Asian grocery stores, Asian food brands may be entirely in a foreign language, unreadable to those who grew up in America.
Nomz is different – a readable, warm and beautiful packaging that is cleanly designed and reflects how we feel when we enjoy a Nomz recipe and think of home. Comfortably proud of being Asian-American, Nomz does not need to tackily proclaim its “Asian-ness”; a modest homage to the recipe’s origin will do.
|Boy, this looks authentic||Help?|
The packaging sleeve is designed to appear as select panels of one continuous surface. While each pane serves a purpose, the top panel is easily our favorite. Through basic and natural shapes, colors and design, our artist illustrated the key ingredients of this particular recipe: shiitake mushrooms, goji berries, green onions and chicken. His style captures the essence of Nomz – using simple, clean ingredients to create powerful, memorable recipes - and we are quite happy with the result.
Now for an occasionally embarrassing but always proud journey through the evolution of Nomz packaging to date…
Acknowledgements (in no particular order): Thanks to Lucy Ji for assisting with the first Nomz label ever; thanks to Yinan Xia for providing guidance on our initial Nomz sticker labels; thanks to Grace Audrey Kim for introducing us to Behance.net, where we fell in love with the design and taste of a Portuguese artist based in Germany - so much so that we spent a meaningful effort to locate and engage him; thanks to Guilherme, said artist who put it all together. One can find our initial inspiration here and the rest of his portfolio here. And finally, thanks to our fans who got us here with their loyalty and encouragement.
Dear Nomz community,
Recently we asked you to help shape the future of Nomz by selecting our new logo. We pitted four versions against each other and let the popular vote decide the rest. Having acquired ~56% of the vote, here is Mr. Nomz 2.0!
A sincere thank you to all our wonderful users who participated with their votes and comments. We were grateful for the amazing response (over 90 unique responses), and over 80% of respondents immediately recognized Mr. Nomz as a rice cooker – great job! If interested, you can find additional details on the birth and journey of Mr. Nomz below.
Mr. Nomz is a hungry rice cooker shouting “nomz!” in excitement after seeing a hot, savory bowl of nomz placed at his table. He adores Asian cuisine and has a particular affinity for noodle soups, affectionately known as “noups”.
Here at Nomz we are building an honest food brand for busy individuals interested in traditional and wholesome Asian recipes. Our convenient, delicious and healthy meals are made with select organic ingredients and are 100% free of added preservatives/MSG. We are proud of the culinary and ethnic diversity of Asian culture, and what better icon to unify the community than the rice cooker? No matter what Asian country someone originates from, their family will have served rice at some point!
Mr Nomz is yellow, the color of sunshine. Yellow also represents happiness, energy and comfort – the same feelings we experience when we eat nomz, guilt-free Asian meals that remind us of home and our parents. Coincidentally, yellow is also a color often associated with the Asian American community.
Does Mr. Nomz have any friends? Stay tuned…
Creating Mr. Nomz took some time! Here is an infographic charting the journey and early versions of Mr. Nomz: