Chuan Liu appreciated how Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars pushed her, interview

Chuan Liu on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars
Chuan Liu on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars / FOX

During the Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars wine branding episode, Chuan Liu faltered in her leadership position, specifically with the Team Ramsay’s “re-brand” decision. During a recent interview, Chuan offered some clarification on her choices, why the FOX reality television show pushed her out of her comfort zone, zone and how her company, Levels of Grandeur, influences the Houston restaurant scene.

Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars is pushing the contestants further. While the challenges engage the audience, the concepts are real world aspects that food and beverage entrepreneurs face. In the wine brand challenge, a special edition release needed to captivate people’s attention to make that extra purchase.

In her second leadership role, Chuan was less successful. While she shined in the immersive bar experience challenge, Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars is very different than her approach in her own business. As she told FoodSided, “my philosophy is to put your head down, do the work right, and let it speak for itself. Prior to being on the show, I was not an in front of the camera person. I worked more behind the scenes. This show definitely put me out of my comfort zone. It was a good for me as a business owner to take that challenge and grow from it.”

One aspect that seems to be a primary focus of this season’s Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars “business bootcamp” is this idea that a business entrepreneur needs to be a little bit of everything. It is more than a solid business plan and an appreciation of the dollars and cents. Social media engagement, product placement, and all the other aspects are just as vital as a positive bottom line.

Chuan admitted that she is a work in progress when it comes to the promotional aspect of her business. While Levels of Grandeur has a strong following within the Houston community, expanding that footprint is vital to her success. In some ways, being on the FOX reality competition has helped her better understand all the complexities of today’s modern business.

While Food Stars relies on delegating tasks within a challenge, Chuan appreciates that concept is not as simple in the real world. She said, “being a start-up business, you wear all the hats. It is not a reluctance to outsource, but it is not that simple. The big lesson that I have learned in the last couple of years is just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that you should do it.”

Whether it is hiring someone to curate that social media content or getting a consultation to grow the brand into bigger name recognition, all those items, and more, are vital for today’s modern businesses. In some ways, those ideas are woven into every Food Stars episode. It might not be as simplistic as the old saying about villages and raising children, but a successful business cannot be created on an island.

At the same time, the diversity in the entrepreneurial world inspires more people to take that risk. Chuan reflected on her background and how it impacted her approach to the business world. She said, her mother would guidance her with the mindset, “don't say too much unless you have something valuable to say.”

While many people choose to be outspoken or try to dominate a conversation, Chuan's approach, influenced by her mother, can be more impactful. She said, “if you are going to open your mouth to say something like make sure it's a valuable contribution.” In a world full of empty words, that concept is one that more people might want to consider.

Although Chuan did not earn the title, the mentorship, or cash prize, her business is thriving. Her business to business channel, especially within the Houston community, is strong. Her list of locations featuring her syrups is growing. She believes that her level of service combined with a quality product is the reason why more restaurants stock her product behind the bar.

Currently, she is working on the consumer side of the business. While the syrups have tremendous value behind the bar, she mentioned that those bottles are not limited to just that singular space. From a drizzle on a dessert to incorporating in a recipe, there are many applications for the gourmet food product. For anyone who has yet to try the Cassia Burnt Sugar Syrup or Strawberry Thai Syrup, it should be on the must buy list.

Looking for some beverage inspiration? Go back and rewatch the Immersive Bar episode on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars. It can be streamed on Hulu.

New episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars air Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.

Levels of Grandeur sells its gourmet syrups online. Additionally, the syrups are featured in various restaurants in Houston.