Chef Peggy Chan Bids Farewell To Beloved Eatery, Announces New Higher-End Concept
Breaking news for the Hong Kong dining scene (and no doubt heart-breaking for many who read this): Chef Peggy Chan’s beloved vegetarian eatery Grassroots Pantry will be ceasing operations this coming July 10th. In its place, Chan will debut a new higher-end concept called Nectar with a focus on transformative, rule-breaking plant-based cuisine.
For many of Chan’s die-hard fans, ourselves included, this is not a huge surprise, despite being a shock to the system. Over the past few years, Chan has been devoted in her pursuit of reaching greater culinary heights with a series of exquisitely executed seasonal and special occasion tasting menus, such as her recent Earth Hour feast, which celebrated her gastronomic creativity while raising awareness about the most pressing environmental and social issue of our time.
When Chan first opened Grassroots back in 2012 in a Sai Ying Pun cul de sac, she single-handedly ushered in the city’s modern vegetarian dining era, earning plaudits early and often. The award-winning restaurant has become a must-visit for plant-based eaters Asia and the world over, with fans as from as Australia and the US.
A tireless crusader and advocate for sustainable food supply chainsand responsible sourcing, Chan promises to continue to celebrate local, sustainably-grown, organic ingredients at Nectar with a fine dining ethos. Asked why she felt it was time to evolve, Chan explains: “These changes- I see them as a natural progression and evolution of myself and my brand over the years. Times have changed and we’ve done our jobs bringing plant-based to a mainstream platform, allowing more small businesses to join us at the table. I have gained so much knowledge through the years operating GP, working with environmentalists, researchers, collaborating with other chefs and hospitality companies, getting deeply involved in the system, while holding on strongly to our principles and convictions. I think it’s time to share what we do and what we know with pride through the lab, and through the experiences we’ll create at Nectar, and accelerate the changes we need to see through fundamental system changes across the industry.”
The new space will also host more editions of The Collective’s Table, her ongoing collaborative efforts with notable chefs around the region designed to challenge them to create plant-based, low-waste dishes as part of limited edition tasting events.
As part of this metamorphosis, Chan is also launching Pollen Lab, a platform dedicated to “education for ongoing culinary exploration.” Chan is passionate about empowering and inspiring the public about her farm-to-table philosophy and raising awareness about food sustainability. Pollen Labs aims to provide educational programmes, workshops, and cooking classes aimed at both hobbyists and professionals, as well as function as a will also act as a hub for plant-based, raw, and functional foods R&D.
“We have been growing a team behind these two complementary projects for the last year involving members who are dedicated to nutrition, holistic wellness, food sustainability, and delivering perfectly executed dishes alongside knowledgable service,” Chan shares. “Seven years ago it would have been impossible to find candidates who are well-versed in both skills- food sustainability and food operations. We hope to grow and nurture a lot more young chefs to adopt the knowledge we’ve honed, and be able to apply it wherever they end up.”
Stay tuned for more upcoming news about Nectar‘s launch and Pollen Lab‘s programmes.
All images courtesy of Chef Peggy Chan.