About a month ago, I had the luck to participate to the Harvest Feast… more Harvest celebration will take place in Hong Kong and I hope more people will join!
It’s just a few minutes past nine in the morning, the sky, shattered with dark clouds, dressed with its typical Hong Kong spring look, wasn’t looking very promising; yet a few rays of sun succeed in bathing Zen Organic Farm with their warmth. I seat down outside the farm house and get wholeheartedly greeted by Ping, the man behind much of the goodness coming out of the farm, together with his sister Joey. A few minutes later, I am greeted by the Matriarch of the farm herself, pouring me a cup of my favorite roselle and honey infusion. And there I was, seating in what was possibly the best place to be in Hong Kong at that time, sipping a cup of wholesome goodness grown on Hong Kong soil.
What a perfect beginning for a day that was to become the third edition of the much talked about Harvest Feast organized by Homegrown Foods; an event where the local farmers and their produces are celebrated. During the day, eleven of the finest chefs in Hong Kong would cook a dish each, using the farmer’s produces. The sky played hide and seek with the sun and the rain, but somehow, I think the sky was listening to us as it stopped raining for the whole afternoon, making the Harvest Feast one perfectly fine day.
The dessert Tracy (Pastry Chef of IHM Group) and I created was an oozing passion fruit curd with cider poached tapioca, a demi-sel butter caramel siphon, grated fresh orange and a banana-ginger beignet. It worked as a great combination and honestly, we sometimes had a hard time following up with the demand! All the ingredients we used were from the local farms and in my opinion, it was absolute deliciousness.
Talking about delicious, I could walk from table to table and be in awe with every other chef’s creation for the event – not a single one dropped the ball on that day. With a special mention to the 85kg roasted pig that Jack from Restoration and Vinny from IHM, roasted all night long before the event. What a splendid display of real delicious slow food. Coincidentally, I had baked pumpkin brioche topped with Chinese style caramelized sesame peanuts, also grown in the local farms. Jack and I were chatting about it and we thought that his pulled pork meat and my brioche would be the perfect match; and perfect was the least to say – it was divine.
The day ended with the buses bringing back the hundreds of local real food supporters to their busy lives with a full belly. We were all exhausted, tidying up our stations and for some of us, dinner service was waiting back at work.
I could extend on what fundamental differences there are between the industrial processed foods versus wholesome natural foods. Just to mention a story that pops to mind; my friend bought a brioche from the supermarket with a label saying “Made with French Butter”. A quick look on the ingredient label only revealed vegetable oil, butter flavoring and yellow coloring – no real butter to be seen! And yet, people feed on these products thinking they purchase quality…
Whatever the effort we had to put in at the Farm, it was all worth it. You may call us dreamers or utopists, thinking we can make a difference in a world governed by new highways, insane land prices and buildings – shrinking the green side of Hong Kong every day – but if being called a dreamer means living a life where I can actually choose what goes in my 7 year old son’s stomach, then yes, you can call me a dreamer or even an utopist, but you know what’s good?
I am not the only one! ;-)
Photography by the talented Jesper McIlroy