For the second time, E52 organises the annual Expat Top-10. There are a lot of internationals in Eindhoven who have done a great job for the city, and by this, we put a spotlight on them. This year’s theme of the Top-10 is ‘Sport & Leisure’. Every day we present you an interview with one of the winners. In this interview, you can read about how they ended up in Eindhoven, how they put an effort in the city and how they look at the Eindhoven with their international perspective. Today: Eveline Wu.
Born in 1977
From Qingtian, China
In Eindhoven since 2006
#1 on bucket list: “to work for Sergio Herman or Andre Chiang”
She’s the owner of four restaurants in Eindhoven: MOOD, Soho, kreeftenbar and wynwood. Besides that, she won the first prize in the ‘World Championship of Chinese Cuisine’. Eveline Wu knows everything of the Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Japanese kitchen and more. With her booming career she would like to be an example for housewives and give other people an opportunity to grow as well.
“First I wanted to stay in China, but not anymore”
When her father went to the Netherlands, it was a logical step that the family moved with him. “I grew up nearby Shanghai. When I was fifteen my dad got a job in the Netherlands, so the whole family immigrated. Because I was so young, I just wanted to stay in China but not anymore.” Wu saw a lot of places around the world. “I worked in London for half a year. This city is on food level always three years ahead of the Netherlands. Through family I could work in a different restaurants so I could learn lots about various cuisines.” That she ended up in Eindhoven was only a matter of coincidence. “I went to Eindhoven for shopping and saw a really small place available. It counted only a hundred square metres. It was already a dream of mine to start my own restaurant and to prepare my own recipes, so I took the chance.”
“I learned Eindhoven to eat sushi”
Wu started her first restaurant called Soho. “Actually I brought Sushi to Eindhoven. At Soho there was take away, sushi and street food. Before this, there was no such thing in Eindhoven.” While Wu is very successful in what she does, she still feels like a student. “It’s in my character that I want to learn more every day. I always want to collect more knowledge.” This mindset made her successful. “I want to be the first in cooking. Every year I want to grow. I want to present new things, so that I can give people a wow-effect. That really gives me a thrill, it even gives me more energy.”
With her success Wu wants to be a role model. “I didn’t have any education you know and I’m a single mommy of two kids. I want to be an example for housewives. I want to show that if you want something really hard, and you work for it really hard, you can do it. With this, it doesn’t matter whether you are a chef or you do the dishes. If you do the dishes really well and you work hard, you can work in a nice place, have a good job and be very important.”
That’s why Wu works together with Springplank. This is an organisation which helps homeless people, or people who tend to become homeless to get a decent job. “I feel happy in Eindhoven and I reached a lot, that’s why I want to do something back. I want to give these people mental support. If you have nothing it’s hard to think positive about yourself. I want to let them feel that they are capable of reaching things. I give these people a trial of three months and if it works out, they can keep working for me. Now I’m very happy with someone who does the dishes and I have a new barista who is unmissable for me!”
“The world is big and you have never learned enough”Eveline Wu, – Winner Expat Top-10
“I don’t feel like a foreigner in Eindhoven, I really feel welcome”
The ambiance and the people are the tops of Eindhoven according to Wu. “I like that it’s so international, although I’m totally westernised. I have Chinese friends in China and over here as well and I also have Dutch friends. People here are so chill, relaxed and social. Everybody knows each other and the ambiance is good. Because people are so open I feel like I’m from Eindhoven myself. I think the openness here is more than in other parts of the Netherlands. I also have the feeling that there’s less discrimination here.”
Although Wu likes the vibe in Eindhoven, she comes from a booming city like Shanghai. “When I don’t go to Shanghai for two years, I can’t recognise the place. Streets have been changed and everything is different. If you live in smaller places around Eindhoven I understand that it’s less vivid. But in an international city like Eindhoven there always have to be growth and change. I understand that Eindhoven is doing that on tech level for example, but I would also like to see a new building popping up every year.”