Food, Photography and Lifestyle Blog

An initiative that teaches underprivileged children culinary skills is hoping to instil lifelong healthy eating habits

Last week I had the privilige to shoot a session with Richard Ekkebus and Sam Mason at LMO Hotel, well the next day he asked me if I could come back again as he had a bunch of kids coming in through cooking for life, as I remembered this organization I said yes right away! Below an introduction of what Cooking for Life is and a link to their website. If you want to be a part of this, please contact Philippe Bru!

Chefs Wanted to support: Cooking For Life

The goal of CFL is to better the life of underprivileged children through education in cookery. I was introduced to this great initiative by my good friend & colleague: Jaako of Finds, who had been actively, supported this for a while. He had send a mail to all chefs in HK & asked them kindly to participate, the sad thing was that only one kitchen team from that mail got involved: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental!!

I was in particularly touched by this mission & collectively with the Landmark mandarin oriental we decided to make a difference for some under privileged children in order to teach them how to cook a well balanced & nutritional meal. In the months of June, July & August; Amber had organized cooking lessons for groups of 15 underprivileged children aged 10 to 18

Over this period of time my team has become very passionate & proud about this cause. It has proven to be a great way to showcase this amazing profession to youngsters out of the tougher unprivileged HK neighbourhood’s. To kids who will decide their career path soon!!! The course is health conscience driven, we talk about nutrition: healthy foods in a simple manner. Obesity is also in Hong Kong considerably on the rise! If one TV chef named Jamie Oliver can make a difference in the UK: improving food standards served at school canteens what about a collective step by HK Chefs in one of the most exciting food cities in the world: Hong Kong…………..

Through this writing & through the images by Marco Veringa I hope to convince more chefs to make the step to become actively involved in CFL & yes we are all busy & yes this cost money & time. But lets be fair; how much time ones a month 2 hours, the  money: we talking about to let 15 kids make a vegetable soup a cereal bar a nutritious salad?? If that would cost HK$1000. it would have been much. We are talking about peanuts here. All Chefs in HK should take a collective step to contribute!! Not only to make the headlines but to be good citizens to be part of the future of HK & why not sparkle some, wanting to become tomorrow’s finest HK chefs…..

Richard Ekkbus

Hotels & restaurants currently involved supporting this great cause:

Holiday Inn Golden Mile

Marco Polo Hong Kong

Marco Polo Prince

Marco Polo Gateway

Landmark Mandarin Oriental “Amber” Restaurant


Morton’s of Chicago

Dakota Prime

H One


Club Gourmet

Are you interested to make a difference???? Please go to their website for more information,

Philippe Bru is also attempting to help less fortunate children. Two years ago, he founded Cooking for Life, which aims to teach underprivileged children cooking techniques at world-class restaurants. “This idea started out to promote personal health and healthy eating habits,” says Bru, a wine dealer.

“We had Football for Life to foster team spirit while encouraging physical activity, but often it was only the boys who joined. I asked the charities I was working with what girls were interested in and, overwhelmingly, they said cooking.

“The concept is pretty simple. Hotels and restaurants host 15 children every Saturday from 3pm to 5pm. The kitchen determines the theme of each session and teaches the children basic dishes to cook,” says Bru.

In the first year, 1,500 children from 10 charities were hosted in 15 top hotels and five restaurants.

“The children may be underprivileged, but they are eager to learn, well behaved and very hands on,” says Bru. “We take the children out of their own districts and bring them to top restaurants they would normally not have the opportunity to explore.

Martin Yan, from Yan Can Cook, is our ambassador and, together, we are launching this funding campaign to create a community cooking centre. There is a lack of knowledge about cooking and the current state of Hong Kong’s salty and greasy diet is a health issue.

“Instead of moving from hotel to restaurant, Cooking for Life will have a home base with the ability to provide services not only to underprivileged children, but also adults and families. This would allow the corporate world and  major chefs to participate and get on cable television.”

The success of this campaign can be attributed to the passion Bru inspires in his volunteers.

“They [volunteers] are amazing,” he says. “I have received about 300 e-mails from volunteers from different parts of the world. Many give their time to chase restaurants to donate their facilities. We are here to remind the industry that although there is a financial crisis, these kids deserve better. It’s our job to convince each person in the industry that they can help.”

“What we do is about being disciplined, it’s about working together and it’s about life in general. We help children come out of their district to cook food, but if they are keen to work in the industry then we can help them as well. A lot of hotels are eager to hire and exposure through Cooking for Life can help them.

“In this fast-food world, if you can show children healthy cooking and get them to know how much it costs to buy vegetables, to wash them properly and cook them well, it would be great. If one or two become chefs, then our job is done.


One response

  1. You sure have an enjoyable time. Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

    August 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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