We had the good fortune of connecting with Scott Lem and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Scott, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Salami and cured meats making started simply as a scratch to a culinary itch. The deeper down the rabbit hole I went, the more I found myself learning about microbiologies and cultures, traditional vs. modern gastronomic techniques, and how to render designs and logos to rock on dad hats. Lem Party quickly became an outlet for culinary and creative interests that I wouldn’t be able to express otherwise. What started as an exploration of recreating a childhood snack has become a conduit for meeting new lifelong friends, sharing wonderful meals and memories, and has been a ton of fun. I am excited to see what LP has in store next.
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.
For the majority of my life, I have had little to no exposure to culinary arts, science, design, or even entrepreneurship. One of the things I am most proud of is finding the passion and motivation to learn the traits necessary to get a business off the ground. I don’t want to say the journey has been easy, but it definitely doesn’t feel like work when you are lucky enough to find a platform for your voice and passion. Taking things at my own pace, and trusting my intuition has been a big driver in getting Lem Party to the point at which it’s at now.
I can’t tell you how many times a salami or coppa has turned out rotten, ended up with plastic shards in it, or dried for months only to prove unpalatable. I am not the first, nor last to say it, but embracing failure has been one the greatest teachers of all. If the Lem Party journey is remembered for anything, I’d want it to be a symbol of taking the plunge, trying new and uncertain experiences… but just trust your nose before you ingest anything.
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.
-First things first, slip on your trusty pair of stretchy pants and crocs because it’s going to be a long day of eating and moving -Stop off at Two Kids Coffee in South Pasadena for a latte wake-me-up– if you’re lucky they’ll spinning vinyl, or Prospect LA will be open next door for some rare vintage cook book
-Sip your caffeine on the ride over to Republique for a chocolate croissant– take your time at pastry bar, it’s a lot to take in. As is the beautiful decor and architecture of the Campanile.
-We’re zipping back to the east side for a mochi pancake and kombucha at Yang’s Kitchen– really anything on the menu is a must try. Loosen the drawstring on your pants, your mileage may vary
-If we hurry we can catch a slice of Early Grey Honey pie at Laroolou in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown– grab a few thiccies for the road.. if they last that long
-Down the road we’re grabbing charsiu and hainan chicken from Pearl River Deli– at this point you can probably use a second caffeine jolt from Thank You coffee– it pairs nicely with Largwa’s masterful bolo buns
-Swing around back in the alley for some tea and lemonade at Chunky Paper– be sure to admire the latest art installation, and grab some red envelopes for good luck
-Since Rustic Canyon is completely on the other side of town, we’ll be sure to order one of everything for dinner– but the beets and berries, pork chop, desserts, and cocktail program will prove the commute to be worth your while
-With a full belly, and empty gas tank, you miraculously zigzagged through Los Angeles, visiting some of my favorites spots– only to be surpassed by the dreams of your well earned hibernation
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Behind the mounds of salami I’ve made Cynthia Wong taste test is an even larger mountain of encouragement and inspiration. Late night slicing/packing, and long drives to pick up pork and sweaters would not be possible without her riding shotgun.
Enough cannot be said about how much the Ravenous Couple has inspired and motivated me to elevate not only my discipline in food, but also my relationships with friends and family, and paying close respect and attention to my own cultural roots. Not to mention, Hong and Kim are behind a lot of my indulgent kitchen gadget purchases.