Spotlight Saturday // Farm to Table Brunch + Interview with Chef Gee Wong

brunch tablescape My boyfriend and I went to the most beautifully styled, delicious raw vegan pop-up brunch last weekend. Hosted by the one and only Peace of Green Rawsome Kitchen in Hong Kong, the brunch was put on in collaboration with Hysan Place to support of the growth of urban farming and sustainability in the city. I was stunned at the food styling and attention to detail put into every part of our 4-course brunch.  It was the highest quality, most delicious raw, vegan & gluten-free food I’ve had in a while and it honestly left me speechless.

flaxseed cracker with smoked cashew cream, radish & fennel To start the day off, we got to tour the rooftop gardens at Hysan Place which is a really popular, massive mall in Times Square. I was amazed at how they transformed the entire rooftop into an urban farm that grows organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We got to meet the farmer in charge, who told us all about how each of the companies in the building have their own plot of farmland.  

rooftop garden, hong kong We saw everything from kale to red chilli peppers to mint to tarro starting to sprout up from the ground. In Hong Kong especially, gardens like this are very hard to come by so Hysan Place is trying to really drive forward a new standard for ecological business development. My boyfriend and I were so inspired that we decided to start our own little herb garden in our apartment, complete with basil, parsley, and cilantro. 

rooftop garden, hong kong After our urban farm tour, we were directed to the most beautiful wooden tables set up right there next to the gardens. The tablescape was absolutely gorgeous, like something I would imagine being set up for an outdoor bohemian wedding. It was very natural, with earthy tones, purple and yellow flowers, fresh cucumber water, succulents, and plenty of greenery.

brunch tablescape Before the meal began, we were surprised with some fresh cold-pressed juices from Caffe Habitu. Mine was a mixture of beets, carrot, and green apple while my boyfriend’s was more citrusy with orange and ginger. We also had a whole carafe of cucumber water which is probably the most refreshing drink ever. 

cold-pressed juice The first course of our four course meal was pineapple cucumber gazpacho with basil and herb oil. To be honest, I’ve always had a strong dislike for gazpacho. I’ve never been a soup lover and the idea of it being cold was even more of a deterrent for me. But, to my surprise, it actually tasted more like a really light smoothie in gazpacho form. So, I was pleasantly surprised!

raw vegan pineapple cucumber gazpacho Our next round of appetizers came with three in one: smoked cashew cream on a flax cracker, skinless tomato, and pocketed guacamole. As head chef Gee recommended, I went from left to right starting with the skinless tomato with tomato paper and basil almond pesto. I’d never tried a skinless tomato, in fact I’d never even heard of someone skinning a tomato before so it was really interesting. The pesto was right on point, elevating the modest tomato. 

skinless tomato with basil almond pesto // vegan, gluten-free Second, I dug right into the pocketed guacamole which was a mixture of avocado, cilantro, lime & pistachio wrapped in thin jicama paper. It looked like a mini taco and reminded me of all the good Mexican food I used to have in L.A. Guacamole is definitely not something you come by often in Hong Kong, so it was simply a special treat.

raw vegan appetizers: skinless tomato with pesto, pocketed guacamole, and flaxseed cracker with smoked cashew cream Last but not least, the final appetizer was a smoked cashew cream made with bell pepper, zucchini, smoked paprika & hemp seeds on a dehydrated flaxseed cracker. There was even radish and fennel to top it all off. The combination of flavors was so perfect and the technique was flawless. It was my favorite and the most unique of all three of the appetizers. I love having a meal like this where I was completely blown away and surprised by every dish.

vegetable terrine with homemade mustard seed & salted koji cream // raw, vegan, gluten-free Who here has ever of vegetable terrine? I definitely had not before chef Gee introduced this vegan version to me. It’s traditionally a French dish similar to American meatloaf in my mind made with coarsely chopped ingredients. Ours, however, was a unique vegan interpretation made with 10 different vegetables: purple cabbage, lily, asparagus, shitake, enoki mushroom, baby corn, carrot, pumpkin, cherry tomato, and white radish.

vegetable terrine with homemade mustard seed & salted koji cream // raw, vegan, gluten-free To make this dish, chef Gee explained to me that she had to patiently wait for the water to drip from a tomato. She collected this tomato water and mixed it with agar agar to get a gelatin-like consistency that would hold all the vegetables together. Talk about patience! It was served with a side of homemade mustard seeds and shisho cream made from cashews, shiso vinegar, lemon juice & wild dulse. I gave this dish a 10/10 because it really was unlike anything I’d ever had before.

brunch table Last but not least, my favorite course came (dessert, obviously) and my expectations were through the roof at this point. On the menu was a orange chocolate cake with cacao soil and a chia seed crisp. I’ve had my fair share of raw vegan desserts all over the world and tend to shy away from orange flavored ones. So, again I was a bit skeptical, but based on the other dishes I knew I’d probably be pleasantly surprised again.

raw vegan orange chocolate cake with cacao & chia seed crisp Oh how right I was! Again, chef Gee hit the nail on the head. The crust was thin and the orange chocolate filling was just the right amount of sweet without being too much. The orange was subtle, which I really liked and the chia seed crisp gave a little bit of crunch on the side.

raw vegan orange chocolate cake with cacao & chia seed crisp The cacao soil was actually raw cacao powder mixed with sprouted cashews and coconut sugar, reminding me of crushed up Oreos. What a perfect end to the most amazing raw vegan brunch! After our meal, I was so exited to interview head chef Gee Wong who not only is one of the most talented vegan chefs out there, but has such compassion and puts an incredible amount of care and thought into every aspect of the amazing food she creates.

chef Gee, peace of green rawsome kitchen What inspired you to start Peace of Green Rawsome Kitchen?

I found it’s hard to find any quality vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong after being a vegetarian. Especially raw and vegan food. Peace of Green Rawsome Kitchen began by providing private dining experience and we want to share delicious, healthy and our philosophy to the Hong Kong community.

Why raw food?

I didn’t pick raw food, but raw food picked me. It makes me feel energized, healthy. I believe raw food is good for everyone.

What are your favorite ingredients to work with?

Young coconut. It’s a popular, all natural superfood. We always use the whole coconut including the water and coconut fresh. They can be used in a variety of dishes including soup, smoothie, raw cakes, dehydration etc.

What is the key to the perfect raw vegan meal?

Taste and delicious is essential. What makes a meal perfect is the presentation. Presentation gives people the first impression to the dish with colorful fruits, veggies, and this is important.

 What is your personal food philosophy?

Food is the key element to nourish our mind and body.

bohemian tablescape How do you approach working with the local Hong Kong community?

Provide quality healthy food to the public. Educate and encourage people to understand more about raw vegan.

 What did you do before opening Peace of Green?

Hair stylist.

 What words do you live by?

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.

 What is your top tip for those looking to live a healthier lifestyle?

Avoid processed food. Get to know where you can get fresh and quality ingredients and cook yourself.

 What’s next for Peace of Green?

In 2016, we are going to launch our product line, raw cakes and workshops. We will also keep creating new dishes according to seasonality, work closely with local organic farmers.

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