Alumnus Shereen Lee (‘19) opens cafe “Succulent Cafe & Food Lab” with her mom Ms. Ann Lin. Ms. Lin is a professor in the nutrition department at Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, thus specializing in food and nutrition. The cafe is located in Ximending, Taiwan and opened this May.
Since a young age, Shereen has had a passion for cooking. She has been cooking with Ms. Lin at home for many years, so bringing that home-made feel to customers was a main focus when deciding to open a cafe.
Shereen and Ms. Lin’s strong relationship has translated into success in the kitchen. “[My mom] is my best friend, so of course, it’s just really good to be able to work with [her]”,” Shereen said.
Shereen collaborates with Ms. Lin on all decisions regarding all aspects of the cafe. Their strong mother-daughter bond was extremely crucial in dealing with daily challenges in running their first ever enterprise. “The first day we opened, we were like we need this type of fork… we just kept on running into small problems,” Shereen said.
The cafe specializes in making light meals, desserts, and take-out for customers with dietary restrictions. One of their specialties, the Almond Crisp Cookie, is vegan, ketogenic, and gluten free. It is made with organic rice flour and all natural ingredients. Succulent Cafe aims to produce food that is whole, natural, and still tasty – as exemplified in the cafe’s name.
Their menu predominantly consists of desserts, juices and smoothies, and a few savory meals. They are working on incorporating more savory meals, such as avocado toasts. One of their popular drinks, the Wildberry Yogurt Smoothie, bursts with tastes of mulberry, blueberry, and hints of dairy.
The first floor of the cafe displays a variety of desserts including cakes, scones, pies, and cookies very aesthetically. The atmosphere is whimsical and trendy with pink ribbons on flower vases and neatly placed kitchenware. Upstairs is a reservation only area where Shereen hosts big gatherings. “I want [my customers] to feel comfortable. I want them to feel like they’re here and it’s peaceful, calm, and really pretty,” Shereen said.
Shereen and Ms. Lin hope to expand the cafe space to the upstairs, along with creating more dietary friendly dishes. “I’d like to further the accessibility of minimally processed whole foods, while bringing the flavours of the places I’ve lived and traveled to Taipei,” Ms. Lin said.