Pho Nomenal Business for Carolina Grad

For UNC Kenan-Flagler grad Sophia Woo, accounting has been an essential ingredient for entrepreneurial success.

After working in more traditional jobs, Woo and her friend and business partner Sunny Lin, a biomedical engineer, launched a Raleigh-based food truck in 2014. Their Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck serves up traditional Asian recipes from family and friends, along with their own original creations.

The truck has built a loyal fan base in the Triangle and became a national television phenomenon on season six of Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, taking home first place and a $50,000 grand prize.

Turning passion into profit

After earning her MAC degree, Woo went to work in auditing at Big Four accounting firm PwC.

“PwC was a fantastic firm — the best firm I could have been in,” she says. But although she liked her job at the firm, on nights and weekends another passion was simmering: cooking.

At the time, she was lived with two Asian-American roommates. Together, the three would prepare food – such as dumplings and pho – from family recipes.

“Every day I would come home and they would teach me a new thing that their parents had taught them,” says Woo.

Woo’s move from public accountant to entrepreneur took a couple of years – but ultimately, she realized her love of cooking was calling to her. With the food truck trend heating up across the U.S., she and Lin decided to see if they could turn their passion into profits.

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