In 2012, Peggy Chan opened Grassroots Pantry in Hong Kong with a mission to raise awareness and share knowledge on the benefits of plant-based cuisine. A lot has changed since then. Sourcing unprocessed, sustainable ingredients, the award-winning restaurant earned praise for its inventive, flavourful dishes and set new standards in healthy eating. As chef and owner, Peggy Chan emerged as the region’s most authoritative voice on organic sourcing, and sustainable food systems.
Continuing to challenge convention and explore new possibilities for plant-based cuisine, in 2019 Peggy transitioned Grassroots Pantry into Nectar, a high-end dining concept featuring a progressive, seasonal tasting menu using locally-sourced and often forgotten ingredients. The same year, Peggy launched Pollen Lab, an educational platform for ongoing culinary exploration. Through Pollen Lab, Peggy develops educational programmes for schools, and consults other industries and start-ups on sustainable practices empowering them to take action. In creating Pollen Lab, Peggy’s mission is to also encourage professional chefs to rethink their operational decisions from sourcing, menu development, to waste management, and how those decisions affect the planet and its ecosystems.
Her soft-spoken nature belies a powerhouse force for nature. Peggy is a member of Global Shapers Hong Kong, World Economic Forum, an ambassador to the social start-up Green Monday, and was nominated for the Basque Culinary World Prize in 2019 which celebrates the impact of gastronomy when chefs use their creativity, knowledge, leadership and entrepreneurialism to generate change within society. In 2018, Peggy’s efforts and advocacy earned her the title of Sustainability Champion at the T.Dining Awards, an invitation to cook an exclusive dinner in celebration of International Women’s Day at the famed James Beard House in Manhattan, and participation as a keynote speaker at the popular Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.
Beyond Hong Kong, Peggy has been recognised by the international food community for her commitment to environmental activism. The United Nations Development Programme recognised Grassroots Pantry as a best-practice case study on sustainable sourcing and responsible management. As a measure of her influence and expertise, she was invited to join the mission-led group of global chefs at SDG2 Advocacy Hub to promote the ‘Chefs Manifesto’ which champions food biodiversity and sustainability to tackle food system challenges such as undernutrition, food waste and soil degradation.
In October 2019, Peggy will be one of the key speakers at the prestigious Global Wellness Summit. Held in Hong Kong for the first time, the invitation-only Summit brings together leaders and visionaries who positively impact and shape the wellness economy.
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Montreal, Peggy 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 flavour in vegetables and legumes. Her dishes and subsequently food philosophy have earned her a loyal and passionate following while also converting many.
Peggy will be speaking at Session 1: How To Be The Next Big Food Disruptor