It’s a sad, sad fact that, although we live our lives paranoid about murder, war and other forms of violence, in reality it is diet-related diseases that are today’s biggest killers. In America, which is known to be one of the unhealthiest countries in the world, kids in today’s generation have a lifespan that is ten-years shorter than the previous generation, and two out of three people are statistically overweight or obese. With so much poverty across the globe, you’d think that more people are dying from being underweight, right? Wrong. Today, for the first time in history, more people are dying from being overweight than they are from being underweight. Shocking.

Jamie Oliver, one of the world’s most beloved chefs, and certainly one of my faves, set up a worldwide campaign called ‘Food Revolution Day‘, in order to, in his words, “help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

In a world where fast food dominates and kids are growing up unaware of what a vegetable actually is, what Jamie is trying to do is teach people what ‘real food’ is; teach people to get back to basics and think about where the food that they eat is actually coming from.

Food Revolution Day on Saturday 19th May saw people all over the world coming together to hold their own Jamie Oliver-inspired events to teach people to think about food and learn to cook from scratch at home and make better food choices.

In Hong Kong it’s often so easy to avoid cooking and eating at home. When supermarkets are so expensive and the selection of restaurants on offer is so vast, why not eat out, right? Or, if we want to eat in, why not pick something up on the way home and save ourselves the bother of having to cook? But it needn’t be a hassle. And it needn’t be expensive. We can make the time to cook and make the time to enjoy ‘real food’. I love cooking and used to cook almost every day when I was at university. Fair enough supermarkets in England don’t seem as expensive as they do here, but I was unemployed back then – so is that really an excuse? And why has cooking become more of a chore than something I really enjoy doing? Probably because Hong Kong has made me, like a lot of other people I know, lazy.

On Food Revolution Day here in Hong Kong, Janice Leung of excellent food blog e-ting organised a cooking class at a new private kitchen called The Studio by Culinart so that we foodies could also be a part of the revolution.

Hong Kong’s own celebrity chef Stanley Wong of Culinart gave us an impressive demonstration of two delicious dishes that he whipped up in absolutely no time at all, making cooking real, delicious food look completely painless and easy, just as it should be. Of course, watching this demonstration inevitably made us hungry, so we fortunately got to sit down and enjoy these dishes for lunch afterwards!

Using fresh organic vegetables from Au Law Organic Farm in the New Territories, organic pasta and farro from Bon Vivant Organics and incredible natural beef from Angliss Hong Kong Food Service, Stanley put together a beautiful Warmed castelluccio lentil and farro pasta salad with goat’s cheese and Parma ham as well as a Melon farrotto with grilled Cedar River Farms natural beef. 

I’m not much of a salad person, as I’m sure by now you are aware, so for me, a salad needs to have a lot going on in order to excite me. This salad was not short of exciting, with its mélange of textures and gorgeous summer flavours. Add goat’s cheese and Parma ham to any dish and it’ll usually win me over.

The farrotto, similar to a risotto but made with farro in place of rice, was also divine and again the perfect summer dish. Farro is considered to be one of the healthiest grains there is, due to it being low in calories and fat, yet high in fibre, protein and magnesium. It has a nutty flavour which, unlike risotto, it maintains when cooked, giving it more of a bite to complement the soft, sweet chunks of melon.

Alongside these dishes we also enjoyed some tasty black garlic rolls, fresh out of Stanley’s oven. Of course, eating healthily does not necessarily mean we can’t enjoy our little vices every so often; our Food Revolution Day meal was paired with some of La Truffière par Robert Comte’s beautiful white Burgundy made with organic grapes. Everything in moderation…or something like that.

From reading my blog, you can tell that I’m certainly not one to hold back on food, and I can hardly preach about not eating out when you can clearly see that I spend most of my evenings tasting new restaurants…but I can also assure you that, although I both live and work above a McDonalds, I never venture inside the ‘golden arches’. I do like to eat, but I particularly love eating real food, where I can taste individual ingredients and I know exactly where they’ve come from before landing on my plate. I have recently made an effort to make sure I do cook at home more, stopping en route at the wet markets to buy fresh produce, and I definitely plan to continue to try. Will you try too? If we can’t manage it then I guess it’s the thought that counts, right? Let’s see what we can do to save our generation and the generations that follow from being part of the horrible statistics I mentioned earlier.

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