SEEING IS BELIEVING: AAPI Visionary Entrepreneurs — Jing Gao

Jing Gao

Meet Jing Gao (she/her)

Founder at Fly By Jing


What inspired the idea for “Fly By Jing”?

I was inspired to start Fly By Jing as a modern Asian food company after its first iteration as a traveling supper club. I had cooked Sichuan-inspired dinners around the world and saw how diners’ eyes lit up once they tried these incredible flavors — I knew there was something there that was universally exciting and appealing.


How does cultural heritage and personal identity influence your brand?

We are a modern Chinese food company rooted in tradition, and through our products, people experience Sichuan flavors through my highly personal lens. It has allowed me to create space for meaningful dialogue and change perceptions around biases as it relates to food and culture, and that is something I am super proud of. Our hope is that home cooks will use these traditional flavors as building blocks to make something that’s unique to them.


How did the brand transform while you built it? What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Every breakthrough has been met with challenges throughout the journey. In 2020, as the pandemic spread globally and reached the U.S., we saw a rapid surge in home cooking with increased interest in more diverse flavor profiles. 

We had been growing steadily during the previous year by press and word of mouth, but a major feature in The New York Times Magazine by Sam Sifton changed everything for us. Overnight, we sold out of several months of inventory and continued to take pre-orders, which saved the company as we dealt with the ravages of the pandemic on global supply chains. It also catapulted us into the mainstream as customers nationwide across all age groups brought us into their kitchens.


What does community mean to you?

It’s been so inspiring to see so many new Asian brands launch in the last few years. We need more, and more, and more across all industries, not just food.

We’re always working with AAPI partners — founders, artists, non-profits, entrepreneurs, and creatives of all types — on product collaborations, content partnerships, giveaways, and whatever else we can dream up to make more space for our cultures.

Our hope is that by taking up space with our highly personal and singular story, we will build a table for all of us to sit at — a space for all of our cultures and cuisines to thrive in. Knowing that we’re doing this for something bigger than ourselves is a huge part of how we help craft a better future for the next generation.

Final words on AAPI heritage or words of advice?

As an Asian founder, my small but incredible community of other Asian founders has been essential to so many parts of keeping Fly By Jing going. They’re my friends, my sounding board, and my safety net when the going gets tough. It’s really a special thing, and I’m so grateful.

Fashion Institute of Technology

AAPI Visionary Entrepreneurs

Jing Gao

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