September 20 2017
Neighbourhood Profile: Alice Wu and Johan Friedrich from Mosquito
Written by Gastown Admin
Name (s): Alice Wu and Johan Friedrich
Organization/Business: Mosquito Dessert
What do you do and how did you get here?
Johan: I am one of the co-owners of Mosquito and we’re in the business of bringing people closer together. We achieve this by curating an experience in an intimate space in which to enjoy dessert and champagne (and afternoon tea on Sundays). I grew up in France, studying International Trade where I received my diploma and soon after found an internship in Canada. After that experience my only ambition was to move here permanently. For a period, I worked in the hospitality industry in London UK and Toronto and then spent one year in Montreal. It was there that I met Alice and together we came up with the idea of opening up Mosquito.
Alice: I am originally from Taiwan and I have a background in art & design. After having lived in England and studying interior architecture, I moved to Vancouver 7 years ago to be with my family. I eventually went to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts to study pastry. I love plated desserts – they appear to me as little works of art. At the time, I was aware of the lack restaurants with a focus on plated desserts. I continued to hone my skills by taking classes in France and working in the industry in Vancouver and Montreal where I met Johan. We returned to Vancouver and two and half years ago and Mosquito was created.
What inspired the name and concept?
Johan: We both wanted to created an atmosphere of timelessness – one where you’re not quite sure where you are or perhaps even what year it might be. The name came from a brainstorming session with our designers. To us, it is a name that challenges one’s perception of beauty, inviting our guests to explore the notion in different ways.
Alice: It was influenced by a DH Lawrence poem titled: The Mosquito where the idea that such a tiny little thing can have a larger impact on the person and affect them in many ways.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
Alice: I would grab a drink at The Juice Truck then go visit my sister at Orling & Wu. I love what they sell and I often find perfect gifts there. I would also swing by the Revel Room for some live jazz and a quick drink!
Johan: I would stroll through the neighbourhood with my camera. Gastown is by far, one of the most eye-catching neighbourhoods in the city. There are lots of interesting characters here and the people watching opportunities are fantastic.
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
Alice: For myself, it has been the transformation. I first came here 10 years ago and Gastown has become such a wonderful place. There’s always something interesting happening here and the local businesses are truly unique. I am very happy to be part of this vibrant and growing community.
Johan: I love the name: Gastown. It ‘s very Mad Max. I love the bricks and the edgier, non-conforming attitude that is present here. If you look at the rest of Vancouver, Gastown is very much “that guy” who’s different, stands out and doesn’t care what others think.
What’s your most memorable happy moment or experience in Gastown?
Alice: It’s having this business in Gastown. The laughter and smiles from our guests, their energy and joy echoing through the space and out onto the street each night – that’s what makes me happy.
Johan: It’s the same for me. Not one specific day or moment but each day that I get be a Gastown business owner and have the opportunity to serve others. It’s glorious to have guests come in and tell you that they had a good time. That’s priceless.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Johan: I’m still working on the answer to that question. I believe it’s helpful not to overthink everything too much. I’m still a few yoga and meditation sessions away from further enlightenment.
Alice: To be surrounded by good people who are kind and genuine and who motivate and inspire me. A good life is one where I’m not just dreaming dreams but living them.