Peggy Chan brings plant-based fine dining to Hong Kong
The Soho House Hong Kong member and chef-restaurateur on how meat-free cuisine can enter the big leagues, ahead of her 25 November dinner
By Juliana Loh Images courtesy of Peggy Chan Saturday 21 November, 2020
It’s almost as long that Soho House Hong Kong member Peggy Chan has been bringing these same concepts to life in her home city. A strong proponent of plant-based diets, since 2012 she’s been a pioneer in the area, driving awareness and change via Grassroots Pantry, one of Hong Kong’s first vegan and eco-conscious restaurants, which later morphed into fine-dining concept Nectar.
Chan closed the restaurant to focus on creating a sustainable food consultancy – but she has no plans to stop her efforts to normalise plant-based dining. ‘Like most businesses, we’ve had to remain flexible and take on changing directions that would allow us to maximise our impact while staying lean,’ she says. ‘We will continue pushing for food education reform across Asia, and drive progressive policy changes, while also inspiring our community to take accountability in solving the global climate crisis.’
A goal of these collaborations is to demonstrate to chefs the benefits of making plant-based and sustainable practices a mainstay of their restaurants. ‘Having benchmarks in your establishments where only 30% to 40% of the dishes contain meat or dairy is a great way to help set standards [that can be] carried throughout the culture of the business,’ suggests Chan. ‘We have many clients who understand the need to transition quickly, and these are simple tips to achieve immediate and measurable results.’
In her commitment to safeguarding animal welfare, she’s undoubtedly in good company: in 2019, three-Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn banned meat in her eponymous San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn, as well as at her more casual eateries. To this end, Chan holds a quote from American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead close to her heart: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
Join Peggy Chan for her plant-based One Night Only dinner at Soho House Hong Kong on Wednesday November 25.