Malcolm Wood; founder and director of Maximal Concepts
Maximal Concepts is a thriving restaurant group led by Malcolm Wood, who aside from being a father and avid paraglider, has a distinct desire to see Chinese food elevated internationally, in addition to seeing other cuisines represented fairly through Maximal's various restaurants.
We asked Malcolm to share his insights on why he's chosen to do one of the hardest things in the world—open a string of restaurants in Hong Kong.
If Maximal can be described in a dish, which dish is it?
The apple wood roasted Peking duck at Mott 32 because it represents our ethos, passion and dedication to our products. It also represents the work we put into our core product. We tried 30 types of duck to find the best one, dozens of woods to smoke it and myriad different recipes and cooking techniques to finally concoct the best one.
Apple Wood Smoked Duck at Mott 32
What makes Maximal Concepts unique in Hong Kong?
We are honest, we are passionate, and we do our best to keep on trend. We are really into cool dishes with produce we love with recipes we ourselves like to eat.
What have been the biggest changes you have seen in Hong Kong dining?
More and more people in Hong Kong are after casual dining–not only fine dining anymore. They like to experiment and try new things. Another issue is pricing, staff costs and competition. To survive in this saturated market is to be paying attention.
What are your greatest frustrations in Hong Kong?
Rent is one of the major problems in HK for restaurant groups.
Mott 32 by Joyce Wang
What makes a successful brand in Hong Kong?
An uncompromising approach to quality, and a team that believe in the product and the company they work for. Nice and simple.
Tell us some secrets about Hong Kong?
Most people think it is a super metropolis, but a lot of people don't know about the beautiful side to this city with mountains, waterfalls, amazing hikes, the second tallest coastal mountain in China, paragliding and even some of Asia's best rock climbing.
What kind of legacy would you like to see in the wake of your initiatives?
I would like to see our company and ethics inspire upcoming restaurateurs. We often make decisions as a group that cause us to rethink how we do things in regards to the products we use and sustainability. I guess Mott 32 is another one. It's the first restaurant in Hong Kong and China in the luxury space expanding out internationally, and I would love to use Mott in elevating Chinese cuisine to new heights in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Brunch at Mercedes me
What are some things people don’t know about you as a person?
I spend my spare time climbing and flying... I do a lot of alpine mountaineering and climbing with my paraglider. Hong Kong is a great place for flying paragliders and mini wings (a smaller faster version of paragliding). I am currently training to climb Mont Blanc and have a trip planned to climb one of the highest peaks in Antarctica with my buddy and climbing friend Dave Turner.
Are there correlations between business and climbing?
I believe that through climbing mountains you get to know yourself better; you get to overcome your fear and become more self-reliant and gain self-confidence. Lessons learned through climbing are meaningful and can be transferred to everyday life.
Who do you look to for mentorship?
My mother gives me inspiration and mentorship when it comes to running a business. She won her best “Business Women in Asia” award at 27. This is really inspiring to me.
I think recently it has to be the lovely addition to my family; my son, Marlon, who recently turned one. He makes me think and question everything.