ABOUT WIL

 
LAY HO MA (how's it going in Cantonese)!  I'm Wil, it's nice to e-meet you :)  I bet you're curious about how a random dude like me ended up with a cooking show on YouTube...  Well, here goes!
 
Where are you from and where are you now?
I was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Ontario, Canada when I was about 4 or 5 years old!  As a yeung man ;) I grew up and am still living in Ontario, Canada
 
What did you go to school for?
My first dream job was to be a palaeontologist (you know, after watching Jurassic Park as a kid), then I wanted to be a martial arts teacher (you know, after watching Jackie Chan movies), then I wanted to be a police officer and a bunch of other professions.  I ended up going to University for music with violin as my major instrument.  Upon graduating, I also went to Teacher's College (Faculty of Education)
 
What was your job before Yeung Man Cooking?
This is a short question long answer type thing.  After graduating as an Ontario Certified Teacher, I landed a part time job at an international private school.  The school was great and the staff was great, but the job was definitely not for me.  I still remember my colleagues baffled at why I quit a job I went to school for, took out a sizeable loan, and opened a music school.  This was my first brick and mortar business and I only had about $2000 to my name - in retrospect, that was pretty gutsy but man am I glad I felt so compelled to do my own thing.  This was the hustle of my life.  I will always remember the feeling of paying money to go into work (you know, for rent and stuff) so that other people can get paid (you know, like the staff).  With an incredible amount of dedication, constant struggle, and resilience, it became a very successful business that I ran for 4 years and ultimately selling it to an interested buyer.
 
During 3 of those years, I also started a side photography and videography business that then became my full time gig.  After some traveling, I then started a couple food product businesses - one was distributing Himalayan pink salt, and the other was producing and selling nut milks!  One year flew by, and after more hustling the nut milks were listed and sold in 36 retail stores across the Greater Toronto Area.  I started the YouTube cooking show during this period - the premise was to film videos using our own product to give customers some recipe ideas.  I met some incredible people who became very dear friends while running the food business, but ultimately I really wasn't running that business - it was running me.  I ended up developing some major anxiety and it drove me into a pretty dark space.  I took a long break from YouTube and from life really.  I was still working in photography and video and I eventually acquired the capacity and skills to head back in a productive direction (with the help of some very good friends).  
 
At this point, I was working on photography and video full time and have done work for the city of Mississauga, Brampton, Sheridan College, Korea and Japan Tourism.  In fact, you can watch the short documentary I filmed and directed in Shizuoka, Japan here (this film won Gold in an international film festival!).  I currently work predominantly on Yeung Man Cooking but still undertake some commercial photography and video projects.
 
What's your favourite ingredient of all time?
Ha!  That's an impossible question, but if I had to choose one...umm chili oil :D
 
Where did you learn how to cook?
Hmm, I'm still learning!  I've been an entrepreneur for the past two decades and I'm always working on multiple projects so time is extremely valuable for me.  Having said that, I try my best to eat as much unprocessed food as possible and that is what led me to cooking, failing, experimenting, and so on.  It was out of interest as much as it was necessity!
 
The YouTube cooking show is all plant-based, are you vegan?
I'm not vegan.  I cook and eat predominantly plant-based on and off of the cooking show.  I work hard to keep the YouTube cooking show strictly about food and it's extremely important for me to respect everyone's sensibilities wherever they are in their own personal food journey.  I'm definitely not a professional vegan chef - just a random guy on YouTube :)  Coming from the food product industry, a lot of focus is put on labels.  On the YouTube cooking show, all of my focus is on the food and the positive value that the recipes can share.
 
Do you have a cookbook?
It's not really my cookbook, it's yours!  Currently, there is the Vegan Ramen Cookbook that focuses on my inspirations from Japan and delicious ramen broths and side dishes that go well with ramen.  The second cookbook is simply titled Cook with confidence!  This book has most of the favourite recipes from the cooking show on YouTube!  Oh and of course there is a photograph for every single recipe in both books!  Is there a third cookbook in the pipeline?  Hmm, maybe next year!?  ;)
 
What do you do outside of Yeung Man Cooking?
Hmm, I'm not sure when I'm not doing something for YMC - there's just so many ideas, special projects, and so much love to give!  Though, I do enjoy hiking, traveling, watching TED talks, listening to audiobooks, watching movies, playing video games, and definitely spending time with friends.
 
More about Wil...
Hong Kong born Canadian, Wil Yeung is an international photographer, filmmaker, entrepreneur, violinist, and YouTube cook.  He immigrated to Canada when he was a young boy carrying with him his ability to speak Cantonese and some broken English.  Much of his culinary aspirations stem from his background in the visual and musical art spaces.  Whether you're plant based or plant based curious, Wil believes that learning how to make food can really change your life and of those around you.
 
Learn more about Wil in his interview article with Shopify here!
 
"To learn how to cook is to acquire a skill that no one can take from you, but one that you can share with others"
 
- Wil Yeung