This adventure-seeking dad has travelled the world, has mastered the culinary arts and is an attentive father to his two children.
We couldn’t help but take notice of Malcolm Wood. The extremely handsome co-founder of Maximal Concepts is very active, participating in a myriad of adventure sports (he thinks Lion Rock is a great place to go rock climbing!) and he’s also super dedicated to being a father. We had a chance to chat to him about what it’s like raising kids in Hong Kong and how living in 12 countries shaped how he raises his own kids.
You’re the co-owner of Maximal Concepts (as well as the global managing director and culinary director!), but tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
A lot of my childhood I spent around my grandparents in the south of England and they both had a great influence on me. My granddad was actually one of my inspirations for cooking and restaurants. He was very passionate about food and would always go to a local farm to buy his produce and cook for me when I came home on the weekends.
What are your kids’ names and how old are they?
I have a 3 year old son, Marlon, which means “baby Falcon” in French, and a 14 year old daughter, Jamila, which means “beautiful” in Arabic.
You’ve lived in 12 different countries. How did your experience as a young adult shape how you raise your own kids?
I travelled around a lot as a kid. I think that travel is super important and that just because you have a young family, you should not stop yourself from [traveling]. It’s a very interesting dynamic to go away with young kids and I think it brings you closer together, teaches your children new experiences and helps them to grow. By the age of 18 months Marlon had already been to eight different countries with us!
What type of education do you want your children to have?
I feel that experience is a good education, travel or home schooling should be adapted to your child. I know children that do very well in boarding school, for example, and some that hated it. I think you need to see and listen to what your kids want.
You attended university in England. Did that influence how you do business here in Hong Kong?
I actually attribute the way that I do business from my childhood in Asia. I think understanding cultural difference has been a super important part of the success of our business and also the nature of Hong Kong as a city.
Do you hope your kids follow in your footsteps?
I think you have to be wary of having expectations for what you want your kids to be. You need to let them grow into the person they want. I guess I just want them to be happy, safe and healthy at the end of the day, and it’s not really important what they do.
What are some of your worries as a parent? How involved do you think parents need to be in the upbringing of your children?
I guess no parent stops worrying about their kids but you have to let them grow and experience things by themselves. Falling over is a lesson they need to learn themselves. They have to fall to remember that it hurts and they should avoid doing it again. That’s one of the basic childhood learning processes. I guess we need to remember this as our kids turn into teenagers, that they need to have their own experience to learn what sort of person they want to be.
Do you think you’ll live in Hong Kong forever?
I love Hong Kong and my daughter tells me all the time that she never wants to leave. There are so many things that this city can offer. There is a great outdoors scene and some very beautiful countryside that I think a lot of us forget is out there to be explored. That’s really important to us as a family to balance city life.
In addition to being a restaurateur you’re known for being an adventurer, mountaineer and paraglider. How do you train for these things in Hong Kong?
I always have a few projects and big objectives lined up during the year. That means I have to train daily while working in Hong Kong. I try to rock climb and paraglide twice a week and trail run around five days a week, which Hong Kong is just great for. Not a lot of people know this but Hong Kong has one of the biggest paragliding communities in Asia and is a perfect place to learn.
What do you like to do with your family at the weekend?
We love the outdoors. We go hiking most weekends and go rock climbing a lot as a family. I like to take my daughter paragliding as well but my wife hasn’t really bought into the idea 100%!
Where are some of your favorite family-friendly places to go?
We try to end our hikes on the beach or at a restaurant, so anywhere from Deep Water Bay to Lantau and Repulse Bay are some of our favourite places to eat on the weekends.
Got any great hidden gems about Hong Kong you’d like to share?
Rock climbing is very famous in Hong Kong. A German guide book about Asian rock climbing describes Hong Kong as “having the most diverse rocking in Asia”. Anyone working up to 6a climbs should be doing the Lion’s Rock multi-pitch climb that has five pitches and panoramic views of Hong Kong. It’s one of the best city view rock climbs in the world I think!
Will you consider having more children? And what advice would you offer for prospective parents who are considering having children?
Who knows? We are happy right now as a family. For people considering having kids, I would say there is never a perfect time so if you both want it, just go for it!
Thanks to the talented Janelle of ByJanelle Newborn and Maternity Photography for all of the beautiful images above!