Back in 2012, our founders Asim and Chris started Black Sheep Restaurants with the aim to inject their dynamic vision of hospitality into SoHo’s growing food scene. Over the years, we have developed and matured alongside the neighbourhood, and are beyond proud to be part of its culinary patchwork. Nowadays, SoHo is anchored by a tightly-knit F&B community that draws in visitors from around the globe, and just as important as the restaurants are the people who power them. 

Below we introduce our Faces of SoHo, turning the spotlight on the familiar figures and personalities that serve as the beating heart of SoHo, and continue to be instrumental in shaping its flourishing food scene.

Meet Jonathan Leung
If there was a poster child for SoHo, it would be Jonathan Leung. Jon oversees all of our SoHo operations. After nearly eight years, he still brings his A-game to every single service, a rock and driving force. A seasoned veteran in the field, he also serves as a mentor to our community and is always game for a laugh.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in Hong Kong.
I came back here from Vancouver in my teens. Let’s just say I was a bit of a rebel in school, so I was sent back to Hong Kong to live with my dad. I guess the idea was that I would become better behaved?

Did you want to work in restaurants from a young age?
It was more of an organic journey to get here. My first ever summer job was in a Chinese restaurant owned by my dad’s close friend. That’s where I earned my first pay cheque and tips. Back then I was still a shy kid, and the interaction helped break me out of my shell. When I came back to Hong Kong, I just naturally gravitated toward restaurant jobs, and at some point I realised, I was actually quite good at this!

If you could open your dream restaurant, what would it be?
All-you-can-eat fried chicken, with unlimited soft serve and sodas. I would call it something original: “Uncle Jonny’s all-you-can-eat fried chicken, with unlimited soft serve and sodas.”

Meet Amy Stott
Vivacious and bubbly with an empathetic soul, Amy embodies the definition of hospitality, going above and beyond whether that means walking guests to her favourite bar after hours, or writing down detailed restaurant recommendations for tourists just passing through. Boasting a warm exterior but a tough-as-nails grit when push comes to shove, Amy is a pillar of strength and inspirational force on the team.

What is your most memorable food moment growing up?
My first ever job was washing pots in a local gastropub, and I absolutely loved it. The Head Chef was also the owner and would feed me random things, I had no clue what most of them were and he wouldn’t tell me until I tried it—like ox tongue, sweetbreads and samphire. I learned so much and this truly started my love for food.

What ignited your passion for hospitality?
My mum has a beauty salon back home and when I was younger I would help out, simply making cups of tea and coffee for her clients. Most of these ladies were older and had fascinating life stories and I would listen to them chit-chat away for hours, which sparked my genuine curiosity for people.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Do not worry about things that are out of your control. If you give your all to something, it will always work out for the best.

Meet Brian Ferguson
If you want a server who will make your evening a memorable one, Brian’s your guy. Full of energy, random tales to tell and humourous one-liners, Brian takes hospitality to a whole new level with his welcoming disposition and commitment to entertaining guests. The next time you find yourself in SoHo, just follow the sound of laughter to find Brian doing what he does best: showing guests a grand old time.

You love to make guests laugh, but what makes you smile on the job?
I really like meeting people who are new to Hong Kong and giving them recommendations on where to go and what to eat (and also where NOT to go—that’s very important).

Do you have a favourite guest moment?
When I was working in Ho Lee Fook, I got to hang out and have a drink with Kygo and Dutch DJ/producer Hardwell at the same time. That was pretty awesome. 

What is one moment in your Black Sheep Restaurants journey you would most like to relive?
The day New Punjab Club received its first star, Asim came in mid-service and hugged all of us. There’s a funny back story to it actually. So the week prior it was a normal busy night in New Punjab Club; it’s a small restaurant, so often we have to drop the cheque on guests tables as we need to prepare the table for the next reservation. There was a couple dining, I dropped the cheque, thanked them and with that they gave me their business card, saying they were from Michelin. My heart instantly dropped (I thought to myself, well we aren’t going to get the star now!). A week went by, we hadn’t heard anything, and I thought I was responsible. Then we got a call to the restaurant saying they had sent us an invitation but hadn’t received a reply. Asim kept telling us it must have been a prank, but turns out it was legit, and we had just given them a wrong email address! 

Meet Charles Somasekar
Charles is the hospitality chameleon who can adapt to any environment—an intuitive hospitality pro who knows just when to crank up the tunes, and when to send a third round to your table. Behind all that is a heart of gold. It’s no surprise that Charles has gained a reputation as the consummate host of the SoHo scene. If there was one person whose dinner party you would want to attend, who ensures every detail is in place and every guest is looked after, it’s Charles.  

Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in Hong Kong.
I was born and raised in a city called Madras (now Chennai), and moved to Goa after studying in hotel school. A career in hospitality has brought me all over the world, living and working in some of the greatest cities.

What is the most memorable food moment from your childhood?
In the mid 90s, as everyone was jumping on the IT band wagon with the emergence of this thing called the Internet, I remember one day seeing this picture of a perfect sunny-side up egg in a local newspaper. That was an ad for the hotel school I ended up attending. My life changed after that, so I guess you could say it was all due to a simple egg. 

Describe your definition of hospitality in one sentence.
It’s simple: show warmth and genuine care to your guests and ensure they have a memorable time.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
There is no substitute for hard work. 

If you could open your dream restaurant, what would it be?
I have a dream project actually: “Hunger 86”. The goal is to eradicate hunger, first within our community and then grow that to other communities. Statistics say about half a billion people go to bed hungry at night and that’s just simply unacceptable. It’s a 3-phase project which is quite ambitious. Catch me for a drink sometime and I’ll gladly share more!


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