We had the good fortune of connecting with Arnold Byun and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Arnold, what do you want people to remember about you?
Legacy is something I think about daily. If I were to leave the world tomorrow, for whatever reason, would I be content having lived my life the way I did? Why do I do what I do? What’s my calling and purpose in life? For me, everything is intentional and it’s about keeping the focus on this constantly moving target. The destination doesn’t change, but the path may look and change overtime due to unforeseen circumstances and challenges. The legacy left behind is one that created opportunities for those in my community, namely for the Asian American population. I’d like to be remembered as someone who lived his life to the fullest towards the goal of celebrating and championing Asian American representation in the culinary community. I find immense joy and fulfillment in connecting people to one another and seeing a collaboration or mutual relationship flourish as a result of meeting like-minded souls. The goal is to create community, empower the under-represented, and ultimately remind everyone that we’re not alone. That we belong here. That there’s people like them. We’re more alike than different. I hope my legacy is tied into connecting dots and constructing interpersonal relationships.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m proud of the work that I do, which is to humanize and amplify Asian American faces and voices in the culinary community. This could mean a podcast episode that delves into the origin story of how a restaurant or a product came to be to experiential programming such as our Bakers Box, which brings together locally based 18 Asian American pastry chefs and bakers to celebrate and showcase the talent in our AAPI community. I got here where I am today from the vast experiences in restaurant management and operations during my tenure in top-rated restaurants in New York City. It wasn’t an easy nor a linear journey. I overcame challenges during my career by constantly reminding myself that I would work for myself one day. Working in restaurants, lots of life lessons are built into daily conversations and relationship building with guests that all have such a unique perspective and walks of life. Having met quite literally thousands of people during my time in restaurants, the most important lesson I learned is that it all dwindles down to people. People are the very reason for success but also the reason for failure. People management and leading a team will always be the constant struggle and challenge in running any business of any kind.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As I’m still fairly new to living in Los Angeles, I’m partial and haven’t had the pleasure of discovering all the merits it has to offer. If somewhere were to visit, I’d take them to Chinatown. To Far East Plaza to patronize Pearl River Deli and Endorffeine. I’d grab a bottle of wine from Lasita, teas from Steep. I’d walk towards the park thereafter to LA State Historic Park to enjoy a bit of the downtown skyline.

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?
Venus Cheung. Susan Lee. Marcio Azevedo. Carlos Felipe Saint-Martin. Ben Hon.

Website: withwarmwelcome.com

Instagram: withwarmwelcome

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arnoldbyun/

Image Credits
Ben Hon.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.