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