Wed 29 Oct 2014
Story by Beatrice Chan
As a Food Revolution ambassador in Hong Kong, I am delighted to say that our food education program has been growing in popularity and recognition since I first launched it two years ago.
I contribute regularly to four health & food columns and have visited 70 schools in the last year in hopes of raising awareness for food education. The number of students who have been accepted and enrolled in our “Think. Cook. Save.” health & food education program is now reaching 5,000 (and of course we are expecting more!).
In addition to schools, we are also focusing on community centers, where I discuss our program with children and stay-at-home moms. I believe everyone should have an equal opportunity to education, and the right to know what they are eating and where their food comes from. Though low-income families may have a limited selection of food options, they can still learn to maintain a balanced diet. Regardless of budget, we have a choice on what we eat.
This time we brought 10 children to visit Jamie’s Italian in Hong Kong, so they may learn about food and culture from the Western world. The brilliant team at Jamie’s Italian prepared a very exciting program for the children, including learning basic ingredients of Italian cuisine, the shapes and names of different pasta, etc. The children also had the chance to see the chefs in action, which was an invaluable and fun experience for them. They were all having wonderful time learning and enjoying their food at the same time.
After the restaurant visit, I had another treat in store for the children. They were each asked to represent one of the seven colors of the rainbow and then to draw fruits and vegetables of that color. Afterwards, they could share what they knew about the fruit and veggies they drew with their friends. And they did a wonderful job!
We then worked on “making” their very first orange soda. During this experiment, they watched me as I used carbonate water, orange essence, colorings, preservative and lots and lots of sugars. A wise kid asked, “Why are they are not adding orange juice to the orange soda? Orange is not expensive.” A good question indeed.
If you have heard about the current Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, you may also know that the collusion between business and government here is very deep-rooted. We know Allura red AC (E129 / Red #40), Tartrazine (E102 / Yellow #5) and other four colorings have been phased out in the U.K. since 2009 after studies showed they encouraged hyperactivity in children. In Hong Kong, however, we can still easily find those colorings in many popular processed foods for children. We need a government who will protect the health and life of the people of Hong Kong, and unfortunately, we don’t yet have that.
About the Author
Beatrice Chan (@bechanka) is the daughter of chef Chan Tung, who had been ranked as one of the top 10 chefs in China and the top 4 in Hong Kong before he passed away. She writes about food and travel and joined the ambassador program in 2002. She had launched a food education program aimed to push forward food education, urban farming and anti-food waste campaign in Hong Kong. She is also the mastermind behind an Asia-based community project: http://www.go.asia, http://www.facebook.com/frd.asia, https://frd.asia/
Source: Jamie Oliver official webpage