Interview 2: András Szabolcs, Owner, Funky Pho Restaurant

  • 29 May 2015 12:00 PM
Interview 2:  András Szabolcs, Owner, Funky Pho Restaurant
1. What’s been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview?

Click here to read his first interview

Funky Pho seems to have set its foot steadily in the culinary landscape of Budapest. We’ve been awarded with the best street food title by both the major restaurant guides in Hungary, Gault&Millau and Dining Guide. At home the major change is that our baby has grown into a little lady by now.

2. What will be your greatest challenges in the next 6 months?
I think business needs growth just as a baby does, so we are thinking about our next move with the restaurant. No set plans yet, but opening a new place while keeping this one rolling is quite a challenge.

3. How do you relax?
I’m a big fan of the thermal baths of Budapest. Steam bath followed by ice cold water washes all the stress out and really good thoughts tend to come up in that relaxed state of mind.

4. What hidden talents do you have?
My wife is working on the Funky Pho cookbook right now that would include besides recipes our story, as well as a „gastro-startup guide”. I got two chapters assigned. I never thought that once I’d work on writing a book, but I enjoy it a lot, having talent at it or not.

5. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
I’ve travelled quite a lot, to 50 countries or so, but the trip that comes to my mind these days is our extensive trip to Syria. Reading about public mass executions at the beautiful and peaceful places where we also made friends with locals is really unimaginable.

6. What’s your most treasured possession?
Definitely Funky Pho, it’s a bit like our second child.

7. Which characteristics in yourself do you like most and least?
I guess my stamina has helped me so far a lot in achieving my goals. On the other hand, I have the feeling often times that a bit more intuition would stop me from over analyzing things and driving my wife crazy.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
I read far less than I’d like to. The book I’m reading now is Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Besides being a fun read, it’s also very insightful on the restaurant industry. Movies: even less than books. And I tend to fall asleep at movies that turn out to be a bad choice. The last one I remember is Whiplash. That’s a great one for sure.

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
Funky Life?

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
Margherita with quality ingredients and perfect execution. No cover ups for any potential deficiencies.

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
It would be a top restaurateur for sure, to see if it worth taking all the effort at all trying to get a bit closer to that. If I’d have to name a particular person, let’s go all in: Danny Meyer. That guy is a genius.

12. What was the luckiest moment in your life so far?
Having bought that ticket to Sicily where I’ve met my wife, mother of my daughter and Funky Pho.

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why? - the last eight years of my life is all documented there :-)

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
I like to read autobiographies to get into the mind of great persons for couple of hours. There are many that inspire me. The bottom line to me is to have done something great against all odds.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary?
The best: my friends and family. The least: politics.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
I’d say working for The Coca-Cola Company in the US. Allowed me to see the world not just as a superficial traveler, but having worked in 18 countries let me gain deeper insights into other cultures and ways of life.

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
With that kind of money you could make a real big impact on a number of things. I’d probably disappear to somewhere in Asia for a while and figure out the rest there.

18. What’s the best party you’ve been to in Hungary, and why?
The Ozora Festival. I guess the only place in Hungary where you can leave your cell phone on a public charger for an hour and you still find it exactly where you left it.

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
That’s a tough one. I think the more you see of the world the tougher the answer is. We had the chance to live basically anywhere in the world, but we choose to return to Hungary. I’d stick to that for a while.

20. What question(s) would you ask last if you interviewed yourself?
So in which part of Berlin exactly do you want to open your next outlet?

  • How does this interview make you feel?