In our latest edition of ‘8Shades Of’, we’re chatting with Michael Smith, chef de cuisine at brand new vegetarian-centric restaurant Moxie.
Moxie is the latest venture from renowned chef Shane Osborn, as part of his The Arcane Collective group of restaurants. You may have spotted Michael cooking up a storm in his previous role as chef de cuisine at Osborn’s Michelin-starred restaurant Arcane; having become vegetarian last year, he’s now leading the charge at Moxie – an ingredient-led, eco-conscious dining destination that features a primarily plant-based menu and focus on sustainability.
We talk to Michael about his fave veggie dishes, tips for eating more sustainably and why supporting local farmers in Hong Kong is so important:
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
I am the chef de cuisine at Moxie, a new all-day dining restaurant from The Arcane Collective.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
My experience as the chef de cuisine at Arcane certainly had a part to play in this. The way we cook there and at Moxie is ingredient-driven; we build our menu around seasonal, quality produce. This gets you thinking about the way we eat and how it is – or should be – so closely linked to the land. We have created close relationships with local farmers in Hong Kong and abroad, such as in Taiwan, where we source much of our produce from. Once you get involved in this part of the process, you can’t help but become hyper-conscious of the environment and the effect we as humans are having on it.
As both a chef and a human being, having beautiful fruits and vegetables to eat is hugely important to me. As simple as that sounds, that is something that won’t be possible if we don’t look after our planet.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
My best eco habit is that I became vegetarian in January 2020 and have never looked back! My not-so-green habit is… kitchen OCD, as we use so much paper cleaning throughout the day.
4. Fave eco product?
My EcoDrive water bottle.
5. Fave veggie dish in Hong Kong?
There’s this wonderful shiitake, mizuna and white cabbage salad with a burnt jalapeno dressing at Chino – it’s fantastic.
6. What is something about sustainable food that you think people should be more aware of?
In Hong Kong in particular, we seem to have forgotten about our local farming industry somewhere along the line over the past 30 years or so. Local produce used to make up 75 percent of the produce consumed by Hong Kongers; these days, it makes up less than 5 percent. We need to build a more resilient food system in Hong Kong, one small step at a time, and support our local farmers so that they can continue to thrive for years to come.
I also hope to see chefs continue to think more assiduously about the meat they serve, and think about serving less but better, more ethically sourced seafood and more whole-food plant-based cuisine.
7. What’s one easy top tip for eating more sustainably in everyday life?
Eat local and eat plants as much as possible!
8. What shade of green are you and why?
British racing green – it’s iconic and used throughout the branding at Moxie.
See also: 8Shades Of… Ellie Furuya Of Rii Swim
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