To much of the world, Hong Kong is viewed as a financial hub, a shopping paradise, a metropolis in thrall to mammon in all its forms. As with most stereotypes there’s more than a degree of truth to this, but scratch this city’s cold and shiny surface and you’ll soon encounter extraordinary warmth and generosity. There are, in fact, plenty of people here who are prepared to carve out time for others, to give back and, moreover, to use their business savvy for good. Such is the case with In our kitchens, a collaboration between the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation and Rue Madame, Hong Kong’s premiere destination for French fashions. Ariane Zagury, Founder of Rue Madame Fashion Group, Jo Soo-Tang, Chairman of Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation and Founder of Wellness 360 joined forces to put together a recipe book of at-home recipes from the city’s most recognised figures. These include Amanda Strang, Ana R, Cara G McIlroy, Gaile Lok and more.
Each recipe in In our kitchens is a tie to the contributor’s own life, with a link to their passion for cooking and devotion to family and friends. Not only does the book aspire to gather even the busiest of working women and men around a table with home cooked food and their family, each recipe gives a little tip or secret to make the process just that bit easier. The love and goodness doesn’t stop here, 100% of the proceeds from every book sale will be donated to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation so with every bite taken, someone will be receiving the care that they need.
Prestige spoke to Ariane Zagury, Jo Soo Tang and Amanda S to find out just how they conceived of the cookbook that keeps on giving and what cooking really means to them:
How did In our kitchens come about and why a recipe book?
Jo Soo Tang: I’ve known Ariane for over ten years and it was her lovely idea. I am a passionate foodie and love to cook for my family, so the collaboration was a “match made in heaven”.
Amanda S: I joined shortly after it started and helped to gather the recipes. My experience and understanding of cooking made it easier to put the book together.
Ariane Zagury: I think the three of us like people and food is something that brings people together. We are so blessed that some amazing people joined the project, which made it real and outstanding.
Which recipe did you contribute and why?
Amanda S: I contributed with the baked scallops because my grandmother loved it and the Chocolate Madeleines (p77) recipe because I grew up eating madeleines and it’s my favourite French dessert.
Jo Soo Tang: My eldest daughter, Mischa, entered a cooking competition for fun a few years ago and this was her recipe. The dish was modified and sold at Pizza Express HK for a few months. I felt it was time to “show off” her win – Mischa’s Nobashi Prawn Pasta (p59) with cream and tomatoes.
Ariane Zagury: I actually gave a few, I could not choose! One of the highlights is the Challah Bread (p23), the Jewish traditional bread, which is actually not so hard to make.
Which recipe in In our kitchens would love to try that isn’t yours and why?
Ariane Zagury: I am dying to try Amanda ‘s Baked Scallops (p31). I tried them once at her place and they were so good so I am so excited to try to make my own.
Amanda S: Ariane’s recipe – Moroccon Tchoutchouka (p15). I tried it when we were doing the photo shoot together and it’s very delicious. I am dying to make that!
What role does cooking play in your life?
Ariane Zagury: Cooking is just the best way to express love. I like to have a table; a house full of people and this just comes with a lot of cooking.
Jo Soo Tang: Cooking is a part of my life. I cook at least twice a week and mainly over the weekend for my own family. I really enjoy the entire process – food shopping, preparing the ingredients with my eldest daughter and having my younger daughter watch us cook. My son promised me he would help daddy prepare the barbecue this summer.
What are you favourite dishes to cook for yourselves? For friends and family?
Ariane Zagury: For myself, I love cooking soup and trying new things, putting everything I can find and see if it works. Sometimes it is delicious but I have to say Sometimes it is not…
Jo Soo Tang: I love cooking pasta and roasting little, French yellow chickens. For my family, I normally pick a recipe and it can be from one of my Thai cookbooks or Jamie Oliver. I follow Jamie Oliver’s recipes a lot and sometimes some quick to make meals from FB videos.
Do you have any quick and easy meals you can share? Any kitchen/cooking secrets?
Ariane Zagury: Whenever I try a new cake I tend to reduce the sugar by 30% and it always turns out okay.
Jo Soo Tang: My favourite are egg cups for brunch and you serve it with a simple salad. You use the muffin baking tray, spray it up with olive oil, wrap the muffin areas with half a slice of bacon, add an egg, salt and pepper and bake them for 15 mins! It’s the quickest meal, full of protein and doesn’t mess up your kitchen. I also don’t use soy sauce anymore and have replaced it with coconut aminos! It is amazing as a marinade. I also use coconut nectar instead of white sugar!
How often do you cook yourselves?
Jo Soo Tang: Every weekend!
Amanda S: At least 3 times per week.
Ariane Zagury: Not often enough but now I have no more excuse!
In our kitchens retails at HK$299 and is available on www.ruemadame.com and in the following shops in Hong Kong: Rue Madame, Clémence by Rue Madame, American Vintage, Phase Eight, Whistles, Petit Bazaar and Kapok. The book will also be sold during the Wellness 360 Fairs and the 4th Annual Women of Hope (WOH) Awards Luncheon.