Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up with a love for bushwalking, surfing, children, music and food. After school I trained as a Chef, but it was a short-lived career. After meeting my husband and starting a family in Hong Kong, I pursued my passion for music, launching Musik’n’Motion, a music and movement school for babies, toddlers and parents. I loved what I was doing but realized that I had an even greater passion for food. I had gone 100% raw vegan, mostly self-taught. I then got to train under some incredibly talented chefs across the globe and graduated from two raw food culinary academies. I had come full circle back to being a chef again, only this time a much more conscious one. And so Rawthentic Food was born!
When did you first adopt a green lifestyle?
Growing up in Australia meant that my lifestyle always tended to veer in the green direction but it really wasn’t until shortly after giving birth to my first child that I started to seriously question where my food was coming from and what an impact my choices were having on my child, the environment around me and other living beings. I began immersing myself in research and education. I was so thirsty for knowledge. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was discovering and how disconnected I was- I had thought that I had been making eco-friendly choices in the past but I realized that was far from the case. Being green should not be reserved for ‘tree huggers’ or ‘hippies.’ I think it is safe to say most parents and non-parents would like to preserve what we have in this world so that our children and future generations can enjoy it.
I used to be 100% raw, but I now prefer to eat high amounts of seasonal raw foods, as well as organic cooked veggie dishes depending upon the season. I consume 100% raw vegan organic foods for healing and cleansing and start every morning with a freshly pressed green juice. I haven’t consumed meat for many years, but I enjoyed some deep sea fish and organic eggs sparingly during my recent second pregnancy and I have decided to keep up. I believe you have to do what’s right for you. Being grateful for our food and actually doing the homework to understand where our food comes from and how it got to our table is far more important to me than only consuming raw and living foods.
Tell us about Rawthentic Food and its mission.
The Rawthentic Food mission is simple: ‘eat delicious food that makes you feel amazing and that has amazing effects on the world in which we live.’ That’s it in a nut shell! Who doesn’t want to feel great and produce positive effects? I created this company over four years ago and haven’t looked back. I have been very fortunate to collaborate with some incredible world master raw and non-raw food chefs and feel so grateful and inspired by them. While I love my career as a raw food chef, I have learnt to step back a bit while my children are so young (6 months and 4 years) as I am a very hands-on mum. These early years pass so quickly and I want to look back and say… “I’m so glad I didn’t miss that.”
What is one of the greenest features of Rawthentic Food?
There are many local farmers who are lovingly doing the right thing by the land and thus our food right here in Hong Kong. At Rawthentic Food, we choose local & organic produce wherever possible in all of our classes and in the dishes we produce.
What is one of your greenest daily habits?
Feeding my family the best foods that this planet has to offer sounds complicated, but actually it’s quite the opposite. Rather than spending our time in the processed, or ready-made-meal freezer section of the supermarket, we shop for fresh whole foods and eat them raw or gently cooked. . Don’t be afraid to break out your ‘nanny’ wheely bag and go organic produce hunting- local farmers markets are held all over Hong Kong and there are fantastic organic produce delivery services like these too! I love knowing that my foods haven’t flown thousands of miles to get here, whereas locally grown organic produce are fresh, vibrant and their nutrients are still intact. Though organic is our first choice when purchasing food, it is not always possible, so we just do our best and enjoy our time preparing food and eating as a family.
Share a green Hong Kong tip with our readers.
Include your children in preparing food in the kitchen- one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to show them how to eat real food and how to make time in the kitchen to do so. If they don’t see you preparing whole foods in the kitchen at home, how will they ever understand that real foods do not come from a packet or a box? We have to be an example to them so that they can learn to choose ingredients wisely and how to cook; we have to provide them with the tools and repertoire for them to be able to take care of themselves when they are no longer living with us and eating from our kitchen. People who regularly eat at home also dramatically reduce their risk of contracting a variety of chronic diseases later in life. If it were up to me, cooking whole foods would be a compulsory subject in all schools! Imagine the knock-on effect this would have and the many people it could save.
There is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi that I have always loved dearly and try to live my life by: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I choose to be a role model for my kids daily by eating healthy and making just about everything we consume from scratch using whole foods. While this can be time-consuming, it is a top priority and a labour of love from me to my family. I want my children to know the difference between foods that make you thrive and foods that do not. Just the other day we were flying from Sydney to Hong Kong and when my four year old son received a processed dessert on his meal tray he said to me: “Mummy this one won’t make me grow big and strong, right?” While depriving your children of every processed food is unrealistic, I believe it’s our job as parents to gently guide our children into understanding what foods will make them feel fantastic.
Where is your favorite place to eat green in Hong Kong?
My favourite place to eat green in Hong Kong is at home. My favourite place to eat green ‘out’ in Hong Kong hands down is Grassroots Pantry – Chef Peggy Chan and her team are the most genuine, down to earth people and I trust them whole-heartedly to source the best of ingredients. My family and I always walk away from Grassroots Pantry feeling awesome due to the quality and love they put into their meals.
There is also a great Sri Lankan restaurant in Sai Kung that we have frequented for the past four years, AJ’s Sri Lankan Cuisine, . It is owned by the loveliest couple Eva and RJ and while it is not exclusively vegetarian, there are plenty of yummy veggie gluten free meals on the menu and you can even ask for ‘vegan style’ with no dairy at all, as they use freshly opened coconuts to make their own creams and milks – no cans!
Green Queen Heroes is a monthly series showcasing the talented and relentless individuals who are helping to make Hong Kong a greener, cleaner, kinder place to live and giving us eco-warriors more accessible options!
All photos courtesy of Rawthentic Food. Photo 1: Beetroot Ravioli with Macadamia Ricotta, Sage Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Herbed Pignoli White Truffle Cream; Photo 2 Banana Cinnamon Crepes With Chocolate Sauce And Vanilla Bean Cream; Photo 3: Pizza Di Napoli.