Every major player in Silicon Valley, from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, has been going to this Chinese restaurant

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Next Shark (by Melly Lee):

Silicon Valley is known for a multitude of landmarks, including the garages Apple and Google were started in, the Facebook campus, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab. The one landmark, however, that perhaps garners the most universal praise from the best and the brightest of the area is Chinese restaurant Chef Chu’s.
MellyLee-ChefChu-001Started by Lawrence Chu in 1970, Chef Chu’s has been the go-to place for the Bay Area’s tech elite, celebrities and politicians. Tennis superstar Serena Williams, platinum-selling artist Justin Bieber and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have all frequented Chu’s establishment. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs also used to be a regular before he became a recognizable tech titan.


He’d come in here as a nobody,” Chu told Mercury News in a 2012 interview. “He’d wait 45 minutes to get a table and all of a sudden he’s on the cover of Time Magazine. I was busy making a living. I didn’t know who he was.”

In the mid-1980s, when then Secretary of State George Shultz needed to hold an emergency meeting with other high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, he held it at Chef Chu’s.


Even though he’s been in business for 45 years, the 72-year-old Chu still goes to work with seemingly the same passion and drive he started with. He’s frequently in the kitchen helping the staff and tries greeting every single customer that walks through the door.

Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo once said: “No restaurant has had the longevity of Chef Chu’s for either quality of the food or popularity with the valley’s movers and shakers. It’s as vibrant and lively as it’s ever been.”


Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become a regular at Chef Chu’s. Chu tells NextShark: “Mark Zuckerberg comes in here all the time. Him and his wife Priscilla came here last Sunday. Their parents too, they moved from the East Coast.”

Even with all the celebrity attention, Chef Chu believes in one core philosophy when treating customers: “Whoever comes in here, we should treat them the same. For a simple reason: they all pay the same price. Whether they’re an engineer, doctor, governor.


Aside from his restaurant, Chu has published three cookbooks, started a catering business, and created his own cooking classes.

His first job was as a busboy at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco.

He recounts: “In the restaurant, we worked so hard and I found out that I loved restaurants. It’s very famous as well. I was there; I met all celebrities there. I was a busboy, waiter, bartender. Then I told myself, one day I want to do something like this. Maybe not a busboy, but I want to do something of my own.

At the time, he was trying to woo his future wife, Ruth Ho, who was then a PhD student at Stanford University. He’d often joke to her that he was also a PhD: poor, hungry and determined. Chu successfully wooed not only his future wife, but also his future father-in-law, who was a successful entrepreneur.

I told the father that I had a dream. I said I want to open fast food Chinese restaurants in America. The father liked me. They all liked me in a sense, but they never asked my education. They only said, ‘This guy is 25 years old and has a dream.’

MellyLee-ChefChu-012It was in 1970 that Chu decided to follow through on his dream of starting his own restaurant, opening his first fast-food Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a small laundromat between a beauty salon and appliance repair shop.

Six months later, he took over the beauty salon’s space in order to expand his venture into a sit-down restaurant. Three years after that, with money he saved over the years and from an investment from his father-in-law, Chu purchased the entire complex and completely renovated his restaurant, including the installation of a state-of-the-art kitchen.


Although by then a successful restaurateur, Chu wanted to be a chef and worked tirelessly to learn from the chefs he hired at his restaurant, perfecting his culinary skill through practice and trial and error.

I worked my butt off. I collapsed in my bed every day. I cooked for 20 years in the kitchen.”


After his father’s restaurant was closed down by the health department, Chu went to college for two semesters to learn how to properly run a restaurant in order to make sure the same fate wouldn’t befall his own restaurant. To this day, Chu takes cleanliness and hygiene at his restaurant as one of his top priorities.

Personal hygiene is very important. That’s 24 hours every second, every minute of the job. When you decorate the plate, everything on the plate should be edible. You cannot just put a flower there because it looks good. Everything on the plate should be edible.”
Initially, Chu wanted to open a chain of Chinese restaurants all over the country but he eventually decided to just focus on one. At 72, he’s still learning and regularly travels to Asia to discover new culinary secrets.

People always ask me why I have only one restaurant. ‘Why do you work at 72? Why don’t you hire people and open two or three restaurants?’ The type of restaurant that I run is totally different than the type of restaurant that you run. It takes a lot of hard work but ultimately you must be a leader.

You have to have a great team behind you. For them, it is just another job. For me, it is my life. Most people work for me 20 to 30 years and retire. Why? They knew that they could trust me and that I would not let them down and that I was passionate. You have to demonstrate that you are a true leader.


Chu is not the only successful person in his family. His middle son, Jon M. Chu, is a successful director who has helmed films like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Step Up 2: The Street.” His other son, Larry Chu Jr., has joined his father in the kitchen and plans to take over the restaurant someday.

Since Larry joined me [it has] allowed me to cut about 50% of the worry.

Most people [say], ‘Chef Chu, you should retire. You have all the money in the world.’ I’m coming here [because] I’m proud of what I do. I’m making history. I believe my philosophy, my method. I trust my instinct. I trust my burning desire that we put 100 percent in the business and don’t stop improving. I don’t say change for the sake of change. Don’t stop advancing. Don’t stop because the world is running, the world is changing.


Ellen Pao is stepping down as Reddit’s chief

Ellen Pao, the interim chief executive officer of Reddit, will be succeeded by Steve Huffman.

NY Times: 

Ellen Pao became a hero to many when she took on the entrenched sexist culture of Silicon Valley. But sentiment is a fickle thing, and late Friday the entrepreneur fell victim to a shrill crowd demanding her ouster as chief executive of the popular social media site Reddit.

Ms. Pao’s abrupt downfall in the face of a torrent of sexist and racist attacks, many of them on Reddit itself, is likely to renew charges that bullying, harrassment and ugly behavior are out of control on the web — and that Silicon Valley’s well-publicized lack of interest in hiring anyone who is not male and white is contributing to the problem.

The debates over diversity in technology and invective on the Internet have been simmering for a long time, but they boiled over in the last year. One reason was Ms. Pao’s lawsuit against her former employer, the venerable venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Her gender discrimination case, years in the making, failed to sway a jury, but did reveal a community that casually tolerated an atmosphere where male aggression was prized and women always seemed to be relegated to secondary roles.

The dispute at Reddit, which arose from the dismissal of a well-liked employee earlier this month, drew much of its intensity from Ms. Pao’s lawsuit — and her gender.

The attacks were worse on Ellen because she is a woman,” said Sam Altman, a member of the Reddit board. “And that’s just a shame against humanity.”

More than 213,000 people signed a petition demanding Ms. Pao’s resignation. After her departure was announced, Reddit users celebrated in the usual over-the-top fashion. “Rejoice internet brethren,” wrote one. “The great evil has been slain.”

Ms. Pao wrote in a Reddit post on Friday that in her eight months as chief executive, “I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.” She added that, “the good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity.”

It was definitely a hard week,” Ms. Pao said in an interview, characterizing her exit as a mutual agreement with the board after having differing views of the future of the company. She began working at Reddit two years ago. Reddit is usually one of the highest trafficked sites on the Internet, with more than 160 million regular monthly visitors.

Ms. Pao’s departure from Reddit was prompted after the tight-knit community of the online message board erupted into upheaval when news broke that Victoria Taylor, a prominent and well-liked Reddit employee, had been abruptly dismissed from the company this month with no public explanation. In protest, Reddit users shut down hundreds of sections of the online message board.

Ms. Pao apologized to the site’s members for the episode earlier this week. Reddit’s management made errors, “not just on July 2, but also over the past several years,” she said in a post on one of the site’s forums on Monday. “The mods” — moderators — “and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of Reddit.

The ouster was another setback for Ms. Pao, who rejected a seven-figure settlement offer from Kleiner last fall to end her claims that she had been discriminated against at the venture firm because she was a woman.

Ms. Pao declined in interviews to detail what her next move was, but an appeal in the Kleiner case is quietly moving forward. The court reporter has been ordered to prepare transcripts, which is the next stage of the process. Ms. Pao does not need to give her basis for appeal for many months.

If she eventually succeeds in convincing a three-judge panel that the trial was unfair, Kleiner — and Silicon Valley — would be on trial again. Ms. Pao’s lawyers did not return calls for comment on Friday. A lawyer for Kleiner declined comment.

At Reddit, Ms. Pao will be replaced by Steve Huffman, the chief technology officer at Hipmunk, a travel search site. Mr. Huffman will have his hands full. Adam Goldstein, chief executive of Hipmunk, said that the engineer will continue to oversee product and engineering at the site on a part-time basis. Mr. Huffman will also remain on Hipmunk’s board.

Ms. Pao said she would remain as an adviser to Reddit’s board for the remainder of the year. As for her immediate future, she said, “I plan to get a lot of sleep.”

Have a look at the almost-finished Samsung HQ located in Silicon Valley


Asian buyers scoop up ‘bargain’ million-dollar Bay Area homes


The continuing influx of well-heeled homebuyers from Asia has Bay Area real estate firms competing for a lucrative and growing slice of the region’s residential market.

It has gotten big enough to where people are starting to pay attention to it,” said James Yang, an agent with the Sereno Group in Palo Alto. “If you read the Chinese newspapers or listen to Chinese radio there are ads from Bay Area real estate agents trying to reach out to that demographic.”

One enterprising Palo Alto real estate broker, Ken de Leon, bought a Mercedes-Benz van that seats 14 and is using it for tours of Palo Alto and Los Altos with a Mandarin-speaking agent. Passengers one recent Saturday included an older couple from China who have lived in San Jose for a year, and a younger man shopping for a brother who works at Apple.

With its good schools and Silicon Valley address, Palo Alto has become a point of interest for many mainland Chinese shopping for a second home or planning to move to the area, de Leon said. Among them are people cashing in on gains from a run-up in real estate values in China over the past decade.

De Leon said he has sold at least 20 homes to buyers from China in the past year, usually in the $1.5 million to $2.5 million range. Roughly half are buying as an investment, a third are buying because of the area’s highly rated schools and one-fifth are buying second homes, de Leon said.

The Asian interest in Silicon Valley real estate shows no signs of tapering off, de Leon said. “If anything, it’s getting stronger.

A National Association of Realtors study reported that Chinese — including those from Hong Kong and Taiwan — were the second largest group of international homebuyers behind Canadians, paying a median price of $425,000 for U.S. residential real estate. The association said 53 percent of Chinese buyers who bought in the U.S. bought in California.

Compared to Asian prices, Palo Alto is considered pretty dirt cheap,” said Kenny Weng Kong Lo, general manager of Intero Real Estate Services’ Hong Kong office. Intero also has an office in Shanghai.

Lo’s team recently helped the head of a Chinese company expanding in the United States buy a second home in Los Altos Hills for more than $6 million. Another client, a professional relocating from China to the valley, just purchased a home in Palo Alto for $2 million, he said.

Mark Wong, an agent with Alain Pinel, said he’s taking a team of agents to China in December. “We’ll connect with people who want come to the U.S. and people who want to diversify their portfolio,” Wong said.

Chinese buyers are everywhere nowadays,” said Ellen Osmundson, managing partner of MJ Real Estate International in Walnut Creek and president-elect of the East Bay chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. “It’s not just the Bay Area, it’s the entire country.

Minhua Jin, an agent with Intero’s Silicon Valley office, said she recently handled the sale of three houses in Saratoga to buyers from China based on their floor plans alone — the houses haven’t been built yet.

On every listing from Palo Alto to Saratoga, we have a good portion of buyers whose money is coming from China,” she said. “I hear from buyers that in China, the real estate market has gone up so much in the past 10 to 15 years that everyone who purchased property a long time ago has made a good fortune. In cities like Beijing they’ve seen up to 10 times in appreciation.

When they come to the U.S., she said, “they are comparing square footage cost here to Chinese living space and it’s still quite low. They feel like for the money they are spending they get much more here,” Jin said.

The Chinese government may have motivated some of these buyers when it announced this year that it was going to enforce a 20 percent tax on real estate transactions. That set off a flurry of selling by people who had held real estate for a long time and had large gains.

That’s a reason they started moving money heavily,” said Intero agent Jinny Ahn. “People are cashing out their property and moving money to the United States. Three (million) to $4 million is considered not that expensive.

Check out this link:

Asian buyers scoop up ‘bargain’ million-dollar Bay Area homes