We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Zin and I (Andrew Lee) had no previous experience in the chili oil business or any retail condiment business. When I came up with this recipe for ZinDrew, it was a HIT with friends and family. I figured, part of starting a business is making sure people will like and buy the product. We got that part down so now we just have to start selling.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Andrew Lee- Taiwanese American, born and raised in Monterey Park, CA. Retired Professional Golfer and currently is a Golf Instructor at Monterey Park Golf Club. I have been playing golf for 29 years now and that’s been my life up until now. From full time golf instructor to now a full time Chili Oil maker. I still teach golf 3 days a week. I can’t just leave my students hanging, I enjoy watching new golfers improve their game and have fun playing this sport for life. My family has been in the restaurant business for over 40 years, that’s where I get my cooking skills and knowledge.
Zin Lee- Born in Burma (Myanmar). She moved to Malaysia at 3 and then lived in Singapore when she was 6 then her family moved to San Jose at the age of 9 years old. Her father was a Captain of the Merchant Marines and a Professor at Maritime Academy which explains why she moved so often. Zin is a Respiratory Therapist at Kaiser Permanente . Working super hard during the Covid-19 Pandemic, some weeks working 84 hours non stop taking care of patients on ventilators. Truly a frontline hero in my opinion (Andrew is writing this haha).
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We are a big time Disney fan, so the first place is Disneyland! Then we’ll definitely take them to the beach for some good seafood ( San Pedro Fish Market and Redondo Beach). Since we are foodies, we’ll definitely take them to eat at many places we like. Just a few is Hummus Labs in Pasadena, Rose City Pizza in Rosemead, Korean BBQ and Aburi Sushi in Pasadena and many more.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is a awesome question and the list will be long.
We are very grateful of our family to start with. From the beginning when we started in our home kitchen, my parents helped us when we had large orders of chili. From prepping to cooking and bottling they were there to give a extra hand.
Then my cousins, with a few very successful business under their belts, they were willing to mentor me and help me setup this business for success. Without their help and experience we would not have been able to be where we are now.
Friends who supported our business from the beginning by buying our chili and spreading the word. When we first started selling our chili, we had friends that we haven’t seen in a very long time reaching out to us wanted to support our business. We are forever grateful for having such awesome friends.
Our Stockists (retail partners). We want to thank our retail partners for believing in us and allowing us to sell our chili oil at their businesses. Being able to have our product sell at their stores allows customers to conveniently buy ZinDrew Chili.
Then finally the community. We can’t thank the community enough. From the beginning, we posted ZinDrew on SGV Eats ( a Facebook group in the 626) and the response was unbelievable! All the chili lovers from the San Gabriel Valley ordered from us and started spreading the love. We are very grateful for such a supportive community in Los Angeles.
William Lu Helen Arase