This year, the international chef’s day came a day earlier in Hong Kong because of renovations happening at the Fu Hong Society premises. On October 19th, we were about 30 chefs from all walk of life, just like the previous years, coming together to cook lunch for 700 mentally disabled people.
What made me happy on that day was the great food we cooked, but what made my heart smile was to be amongst this fabulous bunch of people. The monitors, the volunteers, the mentally disabled people, all gave me yet again a lesson of life. I was at the opposite end of the stage in the room and I was watching the monitors entertaining everyone with games and fun.
Kid’s clapping their hands, screaming their happiness out and distributing free love all over the room.
This made my eyes teary. The residents have transparent hearts and super deep soul, and while they can’t control nor maybe understand the expression of their emotion, they are so pure that it feels so right to give them back all the love they need. And I know a few people who could open their eyes and perhaps learn from them. They are happy with simple things, not because they have a condition, but because they are pure. I find it so cute when some of them try to display some ‘arrogance’ and then, they burst into a loud laugh; one man even opened his shirt to show us the Hong Kong Chef’s Association shirt he was wearing and wow, he was so proud – and me too!
I simply thought, what if my children had such condition, wouldn’t I be happy to find a helping hand?
We arrived at 8 a.m. and started right away with preparing salads, bread rolls, butter and getting everything ready to move from the kitchen to the upper floor. We did three seating from 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m. totaling 700 people plus all the organizers.
The Fu Hong society also happen to support and organize the Best Buddies events here in Hong Kong, and I have met quite a few people who participated in the Best Buddies cooking competition earlier this year. They also run vocational classes and insertion programs. My friend and great chef Hans hired a whole bunch of people from the Fu Hong society and while talking with him, I realized all the sense of such action. I just wish that more companies would embrace differences and learn a bit more about acceptance.
Upon leaving, the organizer dutifully gave me a small gift made by the residents, a donation form and the 2010-2011 annual report from the Fu Hong Society. When I was traveling on my way home, I looked at the report and to my surprise, the cover page had a photo of a super cool gentleman and me! This was easily a million times cooler than being on the front page of some famous magazines! It made me melt instantly.
On that night, strangely, my son wasn’t too keen to finish his dinner and so I showed him photos of the day and explained him how lucky he was to be an healthy little boy with food on his table everyday.
I am very much looking forward joining the next event! It’s so rewarding and by the way, if you feel like it, you can join and support too! :)