Seven hundred heart shaped lunches

November 1st, 2011 | Posted by greg in Charity | Daily life...

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?

Loads of cut tomatoes for the salad!

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.

Hundreds of lunch boxes for the kids who can't move from their bed...


Buffet ready to go!

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.

The Fu Hong Annual report cover page

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! :)

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7 Responses

  • Spencer says:

    That’s very nice that you and other chefs donated a part of your time and your skills to a worthy cause.  Maybe this can be a working model for other CEOs, Presidents, and managers of big and small companies around the world to offer jobs to those people who don’t have jobs?  Perhaps it could be a way to kickstart the world economy?  You are rich, because your heart is rich in gold!

  • Good work, I have a very autistic older brother and he would have loved to be part of your day, big bustling events which are inclusive and full of the joys of being alive, sharing and feeling part of your community.  I remember seeing a lovely film of the Garvald Centre in Edinburgh. Maybe you would like to see it ? I just found it on You Tube for you.

    • Thank you for sharing your story and the video.
      I think sharing our time with autistic people makes our world better. I also think the world has lost sight of what humanity means. How can we classify people in different categories when we are all human? …and we did all that by ourselves! ;)

    • I just watched the video from home and LOVED it! This is so meaningful and I love the spirit in the bakery. This is such a nice example of what needs to be done way more!
      thanks again for sharing Joanna! :)

  • Saucy Spatula says:

    This is fantastic and inspiring! Thank you for sharing – I really appreciate it!

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