Iron Chef Ming Tsai has inspired millions of foodies to create their own east-meets-west meals. Now, when you’re short on time, you can indulge in a plant-based fusion of flavors with MingsBings.
Made with gluten-free brown rice paper, MingsBings are impossibly light and crispy on the outside. On the inside, they’re filled with savory vegan goodness to satisfy all types of snackers. These plant-powered pockets are thoughtfully packaged in every sense — MingsBings are shipped in two different types of eco-friendly insulation to minimize environmental impact.
Recently, we caught up with Ming to learn more about his journey and hear his advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
1. Why did you start MingsBings?
I am very proud of MingsBings. MingsBings was developed in response to a family health scare that prompted us to transition to a mostly plant-based diet with the hope of lowering inflammation by using food as medicine.
When seeking these healthier vegan foods, I realized that delicious options were limited. I was disappointed by the variety and quality. It seemed my only choice were these tasteless, frozen hockey pucks. This inspired my mission. I wanted to help people in search of a plant-based diet to find alternatives that not only nurtured their body, but also tasted great.
With that, we started MingsBings — delicious crispy veggie wraps that can be prepared quickly and eaten on the go. They are gluten-free and plant-based with ingredients that people actually recognize.
Also, we are proud supporters of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Family Reach, a charity focused on alleviating the financial strain of cancer treatments for families. MingsBings also supports healthy living and good causes. Eat good, feel good, do good!
2. What obstacles did you face along the way?
From rebranding, to moving facilities, to developing new products, we’ve had a lot of change this year. Change brings obstacles, but our amazing team has worked through it.
Transferring our production facility from Pembroke, MA to Denver, CO presented an insurmountable amount of challenges. After lots of hard work, dedication, and problem solving, it’s all coming together. We couldn’t have done it without the team we have and the companies we work with.
We still encounter challenges to this day. Just recently, our tunnel fryer broke down, so I caught a last minute flight to San Diego to find a new one. When issues arise, we always manage to pivot and find a solution!
3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
I tell my fellow entrepreneurs to:
- Stay flexible. Be ready to pivot quickly to meet market demand and company needs.
- Surround yourself with good people who are passionate about the company’s mission and goals.
- Network and make solid connections. Listen to feedback and change accordingly.
- Be hands-on. Decisions need to be made in an instant and you have to be present in order to make the right call.
- Lead by example. Be as passionate and dedicated as you want your team to be.
4. What’s on the horizon for MingsBings?
My goal today is to get MingsBings to as many people as possible, through retail and food service. We want to help Americans to eat more healthily. This is why we love getting MingsBings into schools and colleges — they are our future eaters. We are not trying to convert people to a vegan diet, but eating at least some plant-based food is a step in the right direction.
I’m also working on something special for MingsBings that’s launching in the fall, building on my better-for-you mission. Think of American food staples, but with a “hidden” nutritional component through vegetables. Sneaking vegetables into food is not a new concept, but doing so without sacrificing flavor and making it readily available in the frozen aisle is. At MingsBings, we want to promote healthier eating that is truly delicious.
Beyond that, we’re excited about some new retail partnerships and expansion news, including increasing our product offering in select retailers, that we’ll be able to share soon! I can’t wait to fill you all in.
5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
I maintain work/life balance by eating well, moving my body daily, and prioritizing my family and friends. I am not a vegan, but I usually keep a vegan diet up until dinner.
In Chinese cuisine, meat is used to flavor our vegetables. That means lots of vegetables with a small amount of meat and that is how I cook and eat. Exercise is so important. Whether it’s walking, playing golf, yoga, skiing, or hiking, I get some form of exercise in daily. This helps maintain mental and physical wellness, which is great for balancing a busy work schedule.
Lastly, family and friends are the most important part of my life. I make sure to prioritize showing up for them. That’s how you maintain a healthy work/life balance — prioritizing your physical wellbeing and keeping what is important to you at the forefront.
What drives/inspires me? Hands down, it’s the charitable and giving-back component of my work. Our motto at MingsBings sums it up well. Eat good, feel good, do good! This is in the DNA of the company and my team.
One of the greatest things I have done with my career is being involved with Family Reach. I have raised over $11 million for them. Each year, I host a dinner in Boston called Cooking Live where local chefs come together and put on an intimate evening for donors. There is great food, cooking demos, and guests get to meet some of the families that FR has helped. There is never a dry eye in the audience when the families share their stories.
Our next Cooking Live is in Honolulu this October, it will be our first time there and we are excited to introduce Hawaii to Family Reach. We also do Bing Dong Dine with Family Reach. This is a play off the childhood prank Ding Dong Ditch. We surprise deserving families throughout Massachusetts with a gourmet pop-up restaurant experience in front of their homes.
Lately, I have been involved with a lot of fundraising for Maui relief. I just did a cookbook signing with Sushi Den in Colorado with all proceeds going to Maui’s World Central Kitchen. I will also participate in Chefs for Maui, Guy Fieri’s fundraiser in Sonoma. These are the projects that truly drive my work and inspire me daily.
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