The Hutong Crew

We are looking at expanding our team and seeking people who are interested in taking on small projects. Click here for more info. Stacey Shine and Mark Thirlwall, Australia, Hutong Founders

  • Stacey has a Masters in Educational Psychology and has enjoyed teaching Art & Special needs. She currently teaches IT at Beijing City International School.
  • Her first overseas venture took her backpacking through over 30 countries.  Romania was her favourite, but the 2 places she most wanted to return were China & Turkey. She has still not made it back to Turkey.
  • Stacey first came to Bejing in 2000 on an overland trip from Thailand to London. After dancing on the tables at Afuntis,  she knew that she wanted to live here.
  • As a tour leader and then operations manager for Intrepid and Peregrine, she was  paid to travel to some of the most beautiful places in Asia and meet  life-long friends, including her Hutong business partner, Mark.
  • Her first business venture was an attempt to start a new craze called “Discoqi,” which is a cross between Disco moves & Tai Qi. She soon discovered that it was too late as it had already taken off in Xian South Park.
  • Ever since sipping his first cup of fresh green tea on Yellow Mountain, Mark has found the tea trail of life unfolding for him in China.
  • Since first convincing the owner of a small Hutong restaurant in 2002 to show off his progressive wok skills and accidentally burning down a kitchen, he has come a long way.
  • Mark spends a lot of his focus and energy in developing Youth Educational Programs. Another big part of his passion is the enjoyment of seeing kids make leaps and bounds in their learning and in so doing providing a fabulous experience for those involved.
  • For the love of bikes and environmental awareness, Mark organizes eco-bike trips for groups around China.
  • Mark finds time to share his passion for tea through his own brand of tea that has been developing in Beijing and is now taking baby steps overseas (

Morgan O’Hara, New York City, Hutong General Manager

  • Realizes perfection is unattainable, but thinks trying one’s best is as noble as it gets.
  • Speaks Italian, Spanish, some French, and will stay put in Beijing until can jabber away in a fluid 儿话音.
  • Most nostalgic about: sliding all over New York City’s scruffy baseball diamonds as a kid. Those were the good old carefree days, when enjoying life was all that made sense!
  • Loves the Hutong’s egalitarian and creative environment, and looks forward to grow and share with his resourceful and supportive teammates.
  • Is a wanderer at heart and in life.

Josh Kernan, England, Hutong Educational Programs Director

  • Primarily focusing on Educational Programs for children, both in The Hutong and out in the wild.
  • Moved to Beijing in 2007 to work at the Olympics but fell in love with the city and never left.
  • Studied Sports and Recreation Management at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Proud Captain of a local Rugby Club; The Beijing Devils.
  • Enjoys learning about the wonders of delicious Chinese teas from Mark and Joel, but still sneaks in his PG tips teabags (milk and 1 sugar) into staff meetings when they’re not looking.
Jessica Zhao, Anhui, Hutong Venue and Accounts Manager
  • Comes from a small village in the north of Anhui, a place that feels just like The Hutong.
  • Loves to study Chinese traditional culture, and though she does not yet know how, she loves to play the Chinese zither and pipa.
  • Likes quiet reading and traveling alone.
  • She is struggling to learn Spanish.
  • Always tries her best to do things better.

Erin Henshaw, Washington DC, Hutong Corporate Department Manager

  • Is passionate about fundraising and learning about international NGOs.
  • Has shaved her head bald two times for childrens cancer research, personally raising over $16,000 for the cause.
  • Has lived and worked in the US, Spain and China and most recently enjoyed an animal safari in South Africa.
  • Loves hot drinks, including tea, hot chocolate and cider (and is a total wimp in the cold)
  • Became a “runner” last year after participating in a half marathon cancer fundraiser
  • Thinks a perfect day involves helping a good cause, exercising, eating good food and taking a nap!


Katharine Schub, New York, Culinary Manager

  • Katharine has a Master’s in Food Studies from New York University, where she spent her time researching Chinese and post-soviet food culture and a BFA in painting and drawing from the School of Art + Design at Purchase college.
  • She created a project called, a website dedicated to capturing food sensory experiences through audio and wants to continue by recording Beijing’s gustatory soundscape.
  • Chinese markets and grocery stores are Katharine’s happy place.
  • Enjoys people watching but that sometimes gets her in trouble.
  • Loves a good travelogue, notably Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad”

Sophia Du, Inner Mongolia, Hutong Chef and Nutritionist

  • Is from Inner Mongolia, and loves her hometown’s cool summer days and the blue skies that stretch forever.
  • The only thing she likes more than eating delicious foods is sharing delicious foods and cooking with friends.
  • Rings her bell incessantly whenever she bikes around Beijing (which is everyday).
  • Has studied both Western and Chinese style nutrition since 2009 and trusts balanced meals and exercise keep one away from illness and weakness.
  • The Hutong’s programs manager who enjoys her work and loves to meet people to share knowledge and happiness.
Joseph Wood, Texas, Educational Programs Manager
  • Maintains that his 8 siblings are the greatest thing since sliced bread and loves catching up with them back in Texas over brisket and a Shiner beer.
  • Switched from driving and large SUV to cycling everywhere in Beijing and is a big supporter of bike culture.
  • Believes reading about a country as one travels through it is an intense mental and emotional experience and strives to bring that to students.
  • Enjoys a good Chinese tongue-twister even though he is a bit out of practice.
  • Nothing more satisfying than having a nice coffee overlooking a mountain range (has carried his kit with him many a time to do so).

Phoebe Han, Xinjiang, Hutong Logistics + Admin Coordinator.
  • Phoebe comes from Xinjiang, and misses the purity of her hometown.
  • She studied in Xian, an old and traditional city with a slow step and a relaxing pace that makes you feel easy
  • She is free at heart and hopes to travel our beautiful earth, one continent at a time.
  • She believes in true friendships and people who are true at heart.
  • Phoebe is happy at The Hutong, with her amazing teammates!
Wang Bingbing, Henan, Hutong Culinary Coordinator.
  • She comes from Henan province, which has the biggest population in China, but she loves her hometown, for they are all very hardworking.
  • She graduated from Yunnan University in Kunming, majored in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, so is always happy to promote Chinese culture.
  • She likes communicating and singing and making everyone around her laugh.
  • She believes everything will be gone with the passing of time, except one’s knowledge and abilities, which will always be more and more.
  • She definitely believes her life will get better and better working with the amazing Hutong Team.

Jake Laband, USA, Hutong Programs Manager

  • Believes that writing about one’s travel experience is an incredible artistic expression, and founded a successful travel journal while in college.
  • Though he is a purist when it comes to Chinese teas, Jake still craves a tall glass of sugary southern sweet tea from time to time.
  • Never goes anywhere without a cake of Pu’er.
  • Is skeptical about Chinese medicine, but finds himself drinking fewer and fewer cold drinks as he spends more time in China, just in case…
  • Loves catching Chinese people on the subway saying “look, a foreigner!” and responding with “look, a Chinese person!”


Ed Fyfe, UK/Estonia, Hutong Designer and Brand Manager

  • Got a taste for China after spending a year in the mountains in Tianzhu, Gansu Province mixing baiju with pepsi (amongst other things).
  • Despite being British, calls Estonia home.
  • Has an atrocious taste in music: black metal to drum n bass!
  • Loves concrete architecture, the grottier the better.
  • Designs stuff: from fragrance diffusers to parkour equipment.
Tibet Yoga
Nitai Deitel, Brooklyn & Colorado, Educational Programs Coordinator
  • Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, which explains his love for bagels, R&B, and loveable losing sports teams.
  • Constantly in awe at how amazing Chinese 成语’s are at capturing the essence of a situation in only four characters.
  • Blames being so tall on spending his teens in the thin air of Denver, Colorado without as much gravity to push him down.
  • Can always be found with a Frisbee in his backpack ready to toss and apologizes in advance for going to chase any disc thrown in the air. He promises he isn’t part Golden Retriever!
  • A politics nerd and an avid reader, he’s always in search of that next good book or long-form essay recommendation.
  • Fighting the good fight to change the misconception among his fellow Americas that Panda Express’s Orange Chicken is the pinnacle of authentic Chinese cuisine

Alex Tan, Australia, Hutong TCM Practitioner.

  • Has a degree in Construction Management and worked for 3 years building high-rise apartments
  • Used to play rugby and weigh in at over 90kg!
  • Drove an old Landcruiser and camped around Australia for 15 months.
  • Spent over a year traveling around South America without working – self development only!
  • Loves bird-watching and astronomy.
  • Spent a week in a Panamanian gaol.
  • Loves to drink Guinness and eat, steak and kidney pie.

Alice Retson, Chicago, Hutong Baker
  • Despite a suburban Chicago upbringing, has somehow managed to develop a taste for kimchi and durian.
  • The thing she misses most about America is the free, enormous, bottomless cup of ice water in every restaurant (sorry, but a baby cup of kaishui doesn’t cut it).
  • In the last three years she has lived in Korea, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Poland, and China (in that order).  And before that, she also spent time in France, Japan and Thailand.
  • She is fluent in English, French and Japanese; decent in Polish, Korean and Spanish, and able to argue with cab drivers in Mandarin.
  • Likes to knit, and recently I’ve been on a Super Mario Bros. kick, knitting koopas, goombas, and 1-up mushrooms into her hats.
The Hutong Ayis: Tang Ayi, Sichuan, Wei Ayi, Sichuan, Mayuan Ayi, Hebei
  • Our ayis all modestly say they are not good cooks (but their food is delicious and devoured everyday by Hutong staff and friends).
  • Our ayis all are marries and have children, and work so hard to support their families and buy a house back in their hometowns.
  • Our ayis, always fashionably frugal, all love to window shop. Not much purchasing, but a lot of looking.
  • Our ayis are the heart and soul of The Hutong – always the first in, in the mornings, and the last to leave in the evenings.

Suer Zhou, Zhejiang, Hutong Chef

  • Likes to experiment with cooking and try different foods as long as they are not too exotic.
  • Collects cook books (has lost count already).
  • Loves to cook and organize dinner parties for friends.
  • Did a wine course and got the Wine Certificate SWEN II.
  • She prefers to make delicious foods from scratch, using fresh produce – preferably organic or free range when available!

Shalu Asnani, Singapore, Hutong Chef

  • Used to be a lawyer and now a passionate chef!
  • Loves salsa (both the dip and the dance!), performed in Carnival in Cuba
  • Keen hiker despite being afraid of heights
  • Currently writing a vegetarian cookbook
  • Dreams of opening a veggie cafe cum boutique travel desk one day.
Ling Pei, Malaysia, Hutong Chef
  • The only teaching she will do is in the kitchen.
  • Loves to eat fast food when she is not cooking at home or at The Hutong.
  • Hopes to hike every step of the Great Wall around Beijing.
  • Loves to shop for accessories but doesn’t really use them.
  • Loves travelling and finds that is her biggest expense, by far..

Samia Asif, Pakistan, Hutong Chef.

  • A mother to three lovely girls, Samia Asif used to teach kindergarten in Pakistan before shifting permanently to Beijing in 2006.
  • She co-owns Mughals, the Pakistani restaurant, in Nali Patio. Samia is a fabulous cook often introducing and approving new menu additions at the restaurant. Some of the dishes served are her signature recipes.
  • Having spent three years in Beijing earlier, from 2000-2003, Samia considers the capital her home and is comfortably fluent in Chinese.
  • She is excited to pitch in with Pakistani Cooking and share her secret recipes.

Toni, Guandong, Hutong Chef

  • Literally grew up in the kitchen—of her parents’ restaurant back in Bend, Oregon.
  • Life motto: live to eat (not eat to live).
  • Is not a picky eater, but doesn’t like eating the same thing over and over again (setting her on a lifelong exploration of different cuisines, dishes, and cooking methods).
  • Prefers cooking therapy to retail therapy; and would choose Sanyuanli over Shinkong Place any day.
  • Hates walking because a bike gets her anywhere in 1/5 of the time.

Sridevi Bathala, India, Hutong Chef

  • Grew up in New Delhi and lived in Copenhagen, Zurich, New York, Hyderabad & Taipei before moving to Beijing.
  • Learning Mandarin as a challenge to her two sons.
  • Loves to eat street food.
  • Has such a passion for cooking that she keeps making a recipe until she masters it. Her family finds it very annoying.
  • Wants to visit all the Disneyland locations in the world (Florida & California still pending).

Vivienne Peng, Sichuan, Hutong Chef

  • Was born in Chengdu and grew up in a multi-dialect environment making her a good “sound-catcher.” Vivienne can speak a bit of Japanese and understand a bit of French and wishes to learn more foreign languages.
  • Has a Bachelors Degree in International Trade and an MBA Degree in Finance but money is not her thing and she has never worked in that field.
  • Always travels with a trusted Michelin book, a camera and a pair of chopsticks to discover the world. Took her first exploratory steps in Europe.
  • Is a lover of ancient architecture, painting, theatre, classical music, swing dance and yoga. Sings when happy and also when feeling blue.
  • Avidly collects recipes and small kitchen utensils – just because it’s so fun to discover more delicious dishes and share them with friends. Loves digging and discovering the stories behind the recipes, thus discovering all their links with Chinese culture and medicine, and sharing that with The Hutong’s guests.

Mitchell Masilun, USA, Hutong Photographer

  • Was born and bred in Chicago, South Side!
  • Started taking pictures at the age of 7 with his Fisher Price 110 camera.
  • Has travelled to over 20 countries.
  • Likes rum and cokes.
  • Is a huggable bear.

Jeffrey Schwab, USA, Hutong Tour Leader

  • From a small town in the Shenandoah Valley called Lexington, Virginia. It’s famous for it’s Natural Bridge, which was surveyed by a young George Washington, as well as being the final resting place of Civil War General Robert. E. Lee, who is buried next to his favorite horse, Traveler.
  • Has spent the last 7 years of his life living in Asia: one year in Japan, 6 years in China (2 in Jiangxi, half a year in Nanjing, and more than 3 years in Beijing).
  • He currently works for a Chinese travel company, and this year he was the first American ever to take a group of 30 Chinese tourists to the Maldives.
  • Every Friday afternoon Jeff joins older people in the park near Beijing’s outer city wall (Beitucheng) to participate in playing diabolo (空竹)。
  • Has been doing improv, theater for years and is an active member of Beijing’s English performance group, as well as the bilingual performance group (Chinese/English).

Kristen Lum, USA, Hutong Education & Corporate Cheerleader

  • Born and raised in California’s capital (which we all know is) Sacramento! And yes, I was a cheerleader in high school.
  • Founder of, one of Beijing’s most read blogs offering the inside scoop on Beijing’s ever-evolving dynamic party and restaurant scene.
  • Has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China having managed the PR and marketing for Beijing’s top nightlife and dining destinations
  • Wants to see every corner of the world. She visits at least one new country every year and is addicted to the discovery of different cultures, people, ways of life, languages, and learning fun facts about places that you can’t learn from googling or reading a Lonely Planet.
  • Is a biking maniac. Through rain, wind and snow, she’s biking all over the city on a daily basis.
  • Likes to fall asleep with a book in hand.
  • Is more evolved than most people on this planet because she doesn’t (and will never) have wisdom teeth.

Weijin Vun, Australia, Hutong Education & Corporate

  • Studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and International Studies in Australia.
  • Loves traveling for both work and pleasure, and will happily call a hotel room home.
  • Loves eating Chinese food in Australia, and western food in Beijing.
  • Loves biking around Beijing, and avoids the subway like the plague.
  • Is determined to spend one full winter in Beijing so she can call herself a true Beijinger… Some day!


Adam Gottschalk, USA, Hutong Culinary Guide

  • Adam Gottschalk is a chef, author, and former television host.
  • Has notably cooked at a Chinese restaurant in America, and an American restaurant in China.
  • Adam left a successful career as a sports broadcaster to train in the kitchen of iconic Hunan/Sichuan chef Peter Chang, before re-locating to China and consulting in kitchens throughout Guangdong Province.
  • He authored the book “Roadsides to Rooftops: A Backpacker’s Guide to Eating in Southeast Asia”, set for 2014 publication.
  • Currently lives in Beijing, managing a trading company that imports beer and bourbon, and spends his free time eating, writing, and eating.