PolyU invites professional chefs and grassroot families to prepare a feast using unwanted fresh food collected from local wet markets

The Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (J.C. DISI) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) invited a group of professional chefs and grassroot families to prepare a feast at the Western Food Production Laboratory of PolyU's School of Hotel and Tourism Management today (4 September), making use of unwanted food collected from local wet markets the day before. This event allowed the participants to rehearse cooking for the opening event of "10 Day Fest" Festival Vernissage: Social Gastronomy which will be held on 9 October organized by J.C. DISI. Festival Vernissage: Social Gastronomy will bring together a total of 90 participants comprising 30 professional chefs, 30 senior management of international corporations and 30 disadvantaged families, forming 30 teams to prepare a feast using unwanted fresh food. It also aimed to raise the public's awareness of reducing food waste, as well as to highlight the importance of social innovation in managing unwanted fresh food and reducing wastage.

In Hong Kong, over 3,000 tons of food is discarded every day, amounting to one-third of the city's solid waste. Half of the unwanted food is in fact edible, a testimony to the seriousness of the issue of food waste. Volunteers of J.C. DISI and Ever Green Association collected about 40kg of unwanted food including vegetables, meat and seafood from Hung Hom Market on 3 September. A group of 15 professional chefs and 13 grassroot families (beneficiaries of The Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council, Ever Green Association, and H.K.S.K.H. Kowloon City Children and Youth Integrated Service Centre) were then invited today to capitalize on their creativity to prepare a feast using ingredients which were originally meant to be disposed.

The professional chefs who attended the rehearsal today include Chinese food connoisseur Mr Wan Tat-kong, Fu Tung Cantonese Cuisine Chairman Mr Lin Yongchun, Bistro Bon Head Chef Mr Ricky Cheung, Founder of Xi Yan Mr Jacky Yu, culinary expert Mr Ben Li, Tak Lung Restaurant Managing Director and Chef Mr Tsang Kok-sang, Palace Restaurant Wedding Banquet Specialist Chief Head Mr Chan Long, Japanese celebrity chef Mr Kei Sugiuchi, Nutritionist Ms Arlene-Frances Wu, Twins Kitchen Restaurant Consultant Mr Josh Ng, Dong Lai Shun Cold Dish Chief Head Mr Poon Chun Chiu, Founder of culinary website daydaycook.com Mr Norma Chu, Tak Fat Restaurant Owner Chef "Fat Boy", Fu Ho Restaurant Executive Chef Mr Woo Man-chi and UMAI Ramen Sumibiyaki Chef Mr Shinya Yamashita. With their creativity, they demonstrated how to make good use of unwanted food to produce a feast, and provided guidance on how to distinguish between the food parts that genuinely needed to be disposed of and those that could still be used.

Director of J.C. DISI Mr Alvin Yip said, "The Festival Vernissage: Social Gastronomy organized by J.C. DISI is exemplary of how we bring together academia, food industry, environmental organizations, social welfare organizations assisting the underprivileged etc through cross-sector collaboration, and to find innovative solutions to the social issue of food waste."

Senior management of various corporations will join the opening event of the "10 Day Fest" Festival Vernissage: Social Gastronomy to be held on 9 October as "Honorable Chefs", preparing dishes alongside professional chefs and grassroot families. The "Honorable Chefs" include PolyU President Professor Timothy W. Tong, Secretary for the Environment Mr Wong Kam-sing, Under Secretary for Home Affairs Ms Florence Hui, Vice-chairperson of the Societal Engagement Task Force of Commission on Poverty Ms Leonie Ki Man-fung, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund Task Force Vice-chairperson Dr Joseph Lee, CLP Power Hong Kong Chief Corporate Development Officer Ms Quince Chong, Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design Chairman Mr Alan Lo, Social Ventures Hong Kong Founder and CEO Mr Francis Ngai, barrister Ms Tanya Chan, Phoenix TV anchor Li Hui etc, raising the public's awareness in reducing food waste, and showcasing the power of social innovation.