Founder, Grassroots Pantry
A lot has changed since chef and owner Peggy Chan opened Grassroots Pantry in Hong Kong in 2012. As the city's leading plant-based restaurant, well regarded for its flavorful and nutrient-dense approach to cooking, Grassroots Pantry has contributed to a greater sense of awareness for sustainable agriculture and a growing appreciation for local farmers and organic produce, all thanks to Ms. Chan's continuous commitment towards environmental activism.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Ms. Chan has taken this grassroots movement to a wider audience. Through "The Collective's Table' pop-ups, she is challenging restaurants and chefs worldwide to incorporate more plant-based dishes in their menus, to rethink food waste and environmental issues affecting the industry. Chefs like Richard Ekkebus (Amber, Hong Kong), Margarita Forés (Grace Park, Manila), Michelle Garnaut (M Glam, Shanghai), Nick Stanton (Ramblr, Melbourne), Garima Arora (Gaa, Bangkok) and Nicco Santos (Hey Handsome, Manila) have risen to the challenge.
These collaborative dinners have become a platform for participating chefs to explore innovative approaches to vegan cuisine and for diners to appreciate it not only for its health benefits but its resulting complex and creative flavors and textures.
Ms. Chan's advocacy earned her an invitation in 2018 to cook an exclusive dinner in celebration of International Women's Day at the famed James Beard House in Manhattan, and to participate as a speaker in the popular Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.
Her soft-spoken nature belies a powerhouse force of nature. Ms. Chan is a member of Global Shapers Hong Kong, an ambassador to the social start-up Green Monday, and a co-leader and co-Director of Zero Waste Alliance HK, which champions food waste reduction and management in the city. Ms. Chan's efforts have earned her the title of Sustainability Champion at the T.Dining Awards 2018.
Ms. Chan's passions for community development lie beyond the kitchen. An authority on sustainability, she is regularly commissioned to develop educational programs for schools, consulting for other industries and start-ups, and has established herself and her restaurant as a training-ground for young F&B professionals.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Montreal, Ms. Chan earned a degree in the culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, followed by a Bachelor of Business Administration and Hotel, Restaurant and Resort Management from Hotel Institute of Montreux. Her approach to plant-based cooking is technique-driven, with an added dose of mindfulness, bringing out textures and depth of flavor in vegetables and legumes. Her dishes and subsequently food philosophy have earned her a loyal and passionate following while also converting many.