Jessica Chang, MBA’12, grew up in Dallas and has lived in Taiwan, so New England’s culinary traditions were unfamiliar to her when she moved to the area 10 years ago. “There is so much seafood here,” says the Brookline, Massachusetts, resident. “In Dallas, there’s a million steakhouses.” Chang has since embraced New England’s cuisine, so much so that she gave up a successful career in finance to co-found LobstahBox, a venture that ships live Maine lobsters and other regional favorites such as clam chowder and wild blueberry pie to eager eaters around the country. “I was doing LobstahBox on the side originally,” she says. “It was becoming a handful. I thought, ‘I’m going to give this a shot and give it 100 percent of my attention.’”
So you’re a fan of lobster? Of course I am. I am a huge fan of food in general. That’s one of the main reasons I’m doing this. I love eating, cooking, even photographing food. I had almost decided to go to culinary school.
Didn’t you almost go into music as well? I was a double major in finance and piano in college. I had a minor in musical composition, too. When I came out of school, I thought, “Do I pursue business or continue with music?” I had two equal loves, and unfortunately, you have to make a choice. I wanted to write music for movies, but if I wanted to study film composition, I would have had to go to California for film school. I decided to stay with finance.
Do you still play piano? Not as much as I desire, but I do want to own a Steinway concert grand piano one day.
Tell me about living in Taiwan. My parents are originally from Taiwan. I always wanted to experience the culture there. So I went to live in Taipei. I studied Mandarin for almost a year and taught English on the side. It was one of my greatest experiences. The people are friendly, it’s affordable, and the food is amazing. I traveled around and ate out for almost an entire year, trying all the different dishes.
What comes in a LobstahBox? We’re selling the full experience. A classic LobstahBox includes the crackers and picks, Wet-Naps, cooking directions, and place mats that have instructions on how to eat the lobsters. We only source from Maine, and we guarantee the lobsters’ freshness. It all ships overnight in a cooler with frozen gel packs to keep the lobsters cool. That’s the key. If you order by 11 a.m. Eastern, you’ll get it the next day.—John Crawford