Don't forget where you come from, you also have a lot to offer.


March 3, 2021

An interview with ELENA, social entrepreneur, Chinese, 32 years old.

Describe yourself in a sentence.

Today, I am French of Chinese origin, passionate about cooking, and founder of 197 Aprons, which offers fresh, homemade meals with world flavors cooked by migrant chefs for Open-Space and Co-working. This project reflects my history and the journey of my parents when they arrived in France.

What brought you to France?

My mother came to France when I was 6 years old. It was her dream to come to Paris since she was a child. We learned French together.

What makes you wake up in the morning?

The desire to move forward with my project, to cook with my chefs, to tell their stories, and to help them move forward.

What do you like about France? 

Cooking, of course! And also, the cities, the landscapes, and the diversity.

Tell us a funny experience about cultural differences / tell us a little joke 🙂 

In Hong Kong, street food is very popular and there is often a lot of queuing. Orders are taken by auction and sign language. The hand with thumb and index finger raised can sometimes be confusing… It represents the number 2 in Europe whereas in Hong Kong it means 7. I let you guess the rest 😉

I ended up with 7 skewers of satay chicken! Yummy 😋

A favorite dish from your country. And why this choice?

The Zong Zi. It is sticky rice with meat, fish, and vegetables, all wrapped in lotus leaves, then steamed.
It can be sweet or salty, you never know what’s inside.
It’s always a surprise!


Any advice for newcomers?

Be curious and willing, you have so many beautiful things to discover and receive but don’t forget where you come from, you also have a lot to offer.