Care of Chan

Sue Chan, Founder

We all know that food brings people together, but when Sue Chan is involved, the experience is one that goes beyond simply eating among friends or fellow foodies. Just look at any projects that her food event production company, Care of Chan, has worked on: through an ultra-personal approach, the team creates unique experiences designed to delight specific audiences and communities. She’s just started offering a similar service to the F&B-obsessed through, a well-appointed guide to all things food, venues, florals and beyond. Read on to learn what informed Sue’s event expertise, plus the kitchen tools she loves and restaurants she frequents.

Tell us a little about how you got your start working in food and events.

I’m half Taiwanese and half Malaysian, so food and eating has always been a big part of my upbringing. When I was in college, I read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and it changed my outlook on where and how we should be sourcing our food. When I was working on my thesis on food deserts (low income neighborhoods with poor access to quality food) at Barnard College, I took a cooking class at The New School and was set up with an externship (aka an internship in the kitchen) at The Spotted Pig. At the time, it had just received a Michelin star, which was revolutionary for a restaurant that didn’t have the typical fine-dining white-tablecloth prestige. As their accolades accumulated and with Jay-Z as an investor, The Spotted Pig became one of the buzziest restaurants around. I fell in love with the energy and fast pace of the restaurant world. Soon after, I started working at Momofuku as a chef’s assistant during what folks now call the “Golden Era of Restaurants,” and I was able to move my way up to Brand Director by the time I left.

What made you decide to launch your event media agency Care of Chan in 2016? Did your time as Brand Director at Momofuku inform or inspire the way you approach food and events now?

The food landscape radically evolved during my seven-year tenure at Momofuku. When I started, David Chang and Thomas Keller were on opposite sides of the food industry spectrum. By the time I left, Dave and Thomas were on one side and more art-forward chefs like Laila Gohar and Ignacio Mattos were on the other. I left because I wanted to do what I had accomplished at Momofuku for other chefs and restaurants. Care of Chan originally started as a PR and talent management agency. About a year ago, we pivoted our focus to events. The isolation that so many people were experiencing as a result of COVID made me realize that I was born to bring people together; that’s where my true passion lies. Our specialty is food event production, which is a unique art that not all producers have the experience or relationships to tackle as well as we do.

During the ‘New Rules of Events’ panel at our Future Focus conference, you said that “monoculture is dead now,” and it’s all about niche culture. How can brands effectively target niche markets? Can you share some examples of what makes an event bespoke for a community or targeted audience?

If you’re trying to speak to a certain community, you need to work with members of that community to get it right. You also have to get offline and go IRL. Digital ad spends are getting more and more expensive with diminishing returns. Digital marketing is all about quantity, but as culture becomes more niche, marketers need to refocus their efforts on quality eyeballs, not just any eyeballs.

Can you share a couple of your most memorable events to date? What made them so special?

The most memorable events are always driven by a true sense of purpose, where careful attention to detail creates a thoughtful and intentional gathering. We always urge our clients to have a reason for coming together. Sure, you have a product launch and that’s why we’re all here, but what are you trying to say about your product or your brand through the event? What are you trying to communicate? What is the feeling you want folks to walk away with?

You recently launched – what’s the inspiration behind this platform? What kind of content can food and event lovers expect?

Loneliness is at an all time high. While the internet has allowed us to connect digitally, we’ve lost our way physically. I’m on a lifelong mission to help people gather in-person more so that they can connect with each other and find more joy and purpose in their lives. We’re not just another content site - we want to be an evergreen resource. We’ll offer curated guides showcasing some of our favorite chefs, venues, florists and other event vendors, as well as stories from creative hosts and producers behind some of the most memorable gatherings, interviews, op-eds, and personal essays exploring themes such as craft and tradition. Consider us your trusted partner for eating and drinking in good company!

What are a few of your home kitchen musts (food, bev, appliances, misc.)

My current obsession is The Japanese Pantry’s togarashi. I pretty much put it on everything and it’s essentially its own food group in my mind at this point. I also live by my Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker, which is a must have in every household. If you have a proper chef’s knife as well then you’re on your way to success in the kitchen.

As the authority on all things F&B experience, where might we run into you in NYC?

I’m a creature of habit. These days, you’ll probably run into me at Omen, Odeon, Wildair, Corner Bar or Dimes Deli.


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