It’s a beautiful thing when a profession and a passion come together. And, this is exactly the case for Brescia alum Julia Hou.
Julia graduated from Brescia in 2018 and has since gone on to lead a successful career in the restaurant industry. She is the co-owner of the Mr. & Mrs. Bao restaurants, popularly known for providing fusion comfort dishes on the go throughout the London, Ontario area and neighboring cities.
A serial food entrepreneur, Julia and her business partner also recently opened their newest restaurant Mingle, which she said was a decision they made after realizing the popularity of their brand demanded an in-restaurant dining atmosphere.
“I think the biggest thing I learned from Brescia is that there are no boundaries. You really can accomplish the things you put your mind to. Best of all, with the type of bold network you build at Brescia, you will always have people there to support you, you just have to ask.”
“We started off with a food truck, and our other restaurants focused mostly on pick-up and delivery, but we realized, after Covid, people were craving an opportunity to interact with each other,” Julia shares. “That’s when we came up with the idea of having a restaurant where people could mingle, make new connections and hang out with friends. Once we found our location, we made it a spin-off of Mr. & Mrs. Bao, while adding different menu items that make you feel good and provide a sense of fun at the same time.”
You cannot help but bite into Julia’s passion for food and her desire to unite people and cultures through her cooking. Her effervescent personality underlies her hard-fought success, and after years of diligence, she still describes her restaurant journey as a dream come true. Julia also shares that much of this dream has been built on the love for culinary innovation she fostered at Brescia.
“Brescia showed me the importance of building together and leading in ways that honour people’s unique talents, experiences and expertise. That is exactly the type of culture we try to build here at Mr. & Mrs. Bao as well. We are supportive of our employees and encourage them to speak up and stay true to who they are, while also helping others do the same.”
“I started off at Brescia because I was interested in food. My passion for international
cuisine started off at a very young age. As a child of an immigrant family, I craved
home cooked meals, but at the same time, wanted to explore how that meshed with Western
cuisine. So, I did a lot of exploration in my home kitchen, and I kept getting feedback
from people who would try my food. They believed in my vision and encouraged me to
pursue it within a university that would honour my inventiveness and drive to be successful,”
While, initially, it was Julia’s discerning palette and impressive dishes that led her to Brescia, she recognizes that she benefitted from a far greater experience than she ever could have imagined.
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“Until actually spending time at Brescia, I didn’t realize how much a place could contribute to my knowledge – not just of food – but of people and the world. Brescia prepared me to become an engaged member of our community and to be supportive of my colleagues and my peers. There is so much I learnt from Brescia beyond food, and I use that knowledge and those skills every single day.”
Julia is adamant that one of the most fundamental things she learned at Brescia was
how to be bold and take big chances. This, maybe above all else, is what has thus far defined her career and will continue
to do so, as she builds upon her long list of achievements.
Julia shares that the critical competencies she developed at Brescia continue to be the strengths she implements in her entrepreneurial journey and as she works towards her MBA at the Ivey School of Business. From compassionate and collaborative leadership through to effective communication and negotiation, Julia’s Brescia abilities have helped her tremendously along the way.
While Julia had countless academic opportunities available to her, she notes nothing else could have compared to the experiences she
had while defining who she is and what she can contribute within Brescia’s empowering
Julia encourages students to recognize the unique value of learning and living within a university that has been designed to foster female leadership. She hopes students will take full advantage of the opportunities being offered to them within Brescia’s hallowed halls and looks forward to seeing the next generation of bold Brescia women thriving within every – and any – field that calls them to lead.
“Be who you are and find out what really motivates you. Never be afraid to be yourself, especially in front of others.”
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