A Day in the Life of Restauranteur Kathy Fang

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Chef Kathy Fang
Chef Kathy Fang

Kathy Fang is one busy woman. She’s chef and co-owner of one of the San Francisco’s most popular Chinese eateries, Fang, an exercise fanatic, blogger, wife, and daughter. And in the Chinese restaurant scene, she is royalty. Her dad, Peter Fang, is the founder, chef, and owner of House of Nanking, a beloved North Beach joint that serves sensational Cantonese cuisine. Fang is also a budding food television star. She’s competed on a number of Food Network culinary battles like Cutthroat Kitchen and Guy’s Grocery Games and she won the Chopped Chinese New Year-themed episode. In honor of the holiday, which begins this Saturday, we reached out to Fang to see what a day of her busy life consists of. Here’s what the stylish and fit chef was up to one day earlier this month.

8:00 a.m. My alarm goes off and I wake up and get ready for the gym. I usually drink a small cup of hot water while I get ready to warm up my body. I either eat a tablespoon of Earth Balance Protein Peanut Butter or a few slices of Applegate Turkey Deli Meat, so I have something really small in my stomach before I work out. I’m one of those people who can’t work out on a completely empty stomach.

9:00 a.m. Workout session begins at Crunch Fitness. I have a personal trainer two times a week who switches my workouts from boxing to circuit training. I’ve been working out at this gym for the last seven years, and ever since I opened Fang I have not broken from my routine.

Working out is incredibly important to Fang.
Working out is incredibly important to Fang.

10:00 a.m. Once I finish my workout, I grab an Americano with soy foam from Peet’s Coffee, the closest coffee shop to my home. At home, I change and make breakfast. Breakfast usually consists of eggs made with vegetables or lean proteins, sometimes a protein shake made with raw meal protein powder along with a scoop of pure hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder, and on cold days, I drink soup. Yes, as odd as that sounds to have soup for breakfast, I love it because I’m a soup nut. I usually make soup for the entire week (it takes about two to three hours) which is normally a clear broth made from homemade chicken or pork stock with organic veggies and proteins. I always make Cantonese-style soups which the Chinese call tonics. It’s all about nourishment and balancing your yin and yang. I learned how to make soup from my mom and I like keeping up with the tradition. It’s become a ritual for me.

11:00 a.m. I arrive at my restaurant, Fang, and check on reservations for the day. I setup and start working lunch service. I work both the front and back of the house. I cook on extremely busy days to help out the kitchen line and work the front of house to interact with customers.

2:00 p.m. After lunch service I meet with my manager to go over any catering or deliveries scheduled for the week and we rundown the upcoming events we are catering.

Fang restaurant
Fang restaurant

3:00 p.m. From this time until 5 p.m. I’m usually scheduled for calls relating to my brand, Kathy Fang, emails, and errands. It can range from conference calls with my PR Team, Glodow Nead, to meeting with future clients for events. I also coordinate deliveries and future catering orders during this time. Some days, this time is spent going to Chinatown to hunt for new, interesting ingredients. Other days, I use this time to visit the restaurant I grew-up in, House of Nanking, Fang’s sister restaurant. On days where I don’t have meetings or calls, I will make time for friends or family and either have lunch with my Dad or a quick healthy bite with my girlfriends. I always enjoy eating in Chinatown—it reminds me of me of my childhood. My dad and I like to go to traditional Chinese restaurants that serve dishes like steamed Geoduck, sautéed squab, or dim sum. I also eat at Whole Foods because I can kill two birds with one stone—I can eat a healthy lunch and do some grocery shopping. In fact, it’s such a regular spot that my best girlfriend and I will do a weekly lunches there to catch up. I typically build my own salad from the salad bar.

5:00 p.m. Head back to Fang for the dinner rush. I check on the kitchen and the ingredients prepped and make sure everything is ready for the night. Again, I work both the front of the house and the back of the house. I probably cook 30 percent of the time on a regular night and on a super busy night where there are conferences, I will cook 70 percent of the time.

Fang working the line at her restaurant
Fang working the line at her restaurant

10:00 p.m. Fang closes and I head home. Often times my husband will wait for me to close up so he can walk me home. When we get home, I take a shower and am very particular about what I use since I color my hair a lot and have to shower everyday, I need nourishing and non-drying products. I swear by Davines Hair Care Products, an Italian family-run company that focuses on sustainable beauty and botanicals (their stuff smells amazing). I use Aveeno baby wash for body. I then throw together a simple meal for dinner, usually soup which I pre-made so all I have to do is reheat it. For my husband it’s usually some kind of wrap filled with loads of protein. Another super easy and satisfying meal I’ll whip up is my five-minute low carb pizza, using Flatout’s Whole Wheat Flatbread. The flatbread toasts up nicely and is a great super thin-crust pizza. I pop it into the toaster oven for three to four minutes to crisp it up and then top it with tomato sauce, cheese, and sausage or pepperoni (he’s a very simple eater) and then pop it back in for another two minutes. This is our weeknight dinner routine.

11:00 p.m. After dinner, we will sit on the couch and work on our laptops while we have the TV on. During this time I respond to any other work related emails I may have and then update all my social media—Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. I blog and create recipes and post them on my website kathyfang.com. I also take this time to edit photography that I’ve shot of food or travel. In addition, I’ve recently started a new vlog series on YouTube, which I also work on at night.

12:00 a.m. By 1:00 a.m. we get into bed and have this totally random routine of speaking to Amazon’s Alexa and asking her to tell us a few jokes which are always bad, but entertaining or we turn on NPR for 15 minutes and then doze off.

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