Aside from their incredible food (if even their bread and butter has reached legendary status, you know they’re doing something right!), Roganic also boasts some seriously impressive eco credentials, growing ingredients in-house, sourcing from local farms and championing a zero-waste philosophy – meaning they were one of the first Hong Kong restaurants to win a Michelin Green Star in recognition of their sustainability efforts.
We talk to Ash about his favourite “farm-to-fork” dish on Roganic’s menu, where he eats on his day off and when’s the best time of year to enjoy the tastiest local tomatoes.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
I manage the day-to-day kitchen operations of Roganic, including tasks like writing the menus.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
I’ve always taken an interest in sustainability in my personal and professional life. I feel it’s our duty to try to give back to the world and I try to make a difference to be sustainable in the things I can control.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
Always using and refilling my water bottle rather than buying plastic ones. It sounds like a small thing but if everyone did it, the world would save so much plastic!
As for not-so-green, I like a burger every now and then… but who doesn’t really! I believe there’s nothing wrong with that in moderation.
See also: The Best Vegan Burgers in Hong Kong
4. Fave veggie dishes in Hong Kong?
I often go to Treehouse for a nice veggie or vegan wrap on my days off – I like the falafel with hummus and halloumi.
5. What are some ways you incorporate sustainability into your restaurant? And are there any other sustainability-based changes you’re hoping to make in the future?
A few examples are that we compost any food waste we can’t use, upcycle our waste coffee beans and use bamboo paper towels in the kitchen. We’re always looking for more sustainable practices as well – one that we’re currently working on is mixing our own tonics in-house to cut down on glass bottles.
6. A big part of Roganic’s philosophy is using local seasonal ingredients; what are some of your favourite local ingredients and when is the best time of year to eat them?
Some people may not know this, but you can access amazing beetroots, heritage carrots and tomatoes from the organic farms here in Hong Kong – and I can tell you first-hand that they’re delicious! The best time for the root vegetables is November to April, while tomatoes are usually at their best when it gets slightly warmer, from around February to early May.
7. What is one of your favourite dishes that you’ve created at Roganic? What inspired the dish and what are some of the sustainable elements behind it?
Our duck dish with beetroot and cabbage. The vegetables are from Farmhouse Productions or Hong Kong Farmers Pride, through Zero Foodprint Asia; both organisations work closely with organic farms in the New Territories.
The dish features a duck breast alongside a confit leg sausage; all the duck wings, necks and carcasses are chopped and aged for extra flavour to go into the accompanying sauce. The cabbage and beetroot trimmings are also juiced and made into a stock with some spices, which is then used for braising the cabbage.
Not only do I love that flavour combination with duck, but cabbage and beetroot are vegetables that grow in abundance in Hong Kong – and are absolutely delicious! So I’d say the main inspiration behind the dish was the produce itself and supporting our local farmers and suppliers.
8. What shade of green are you and why?
Racing green because it’s a traditional British colour that’s synonymous with the old Mini Cooper, which is my favourite car!
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