Chef Ferran Tadeo On The Importance Of Giving Back To The Community In Times Of Crisis
You recently co-hosted a charity collaboration with some of Hong Kong's most celebrated Spanish chefs, with proceeds going towards virus relief in Spain. How did this idea come about and why is this cause so important to you?
I wanted to do something for Spain. At first, the virus seemed more serious here in Hong Kong, but we managed to keep affected numbers on the lower end. Now, the situation in Spain is dire: it is one of the most affected countries in the world. We have a very close-knit Spanish community in Hong Kong, with most of our families and friends living back home in Spain. We’re far away but we’re always thinking of them and want to do what we can to help.
How long did it take to rally everyone to put together this event?
It only took a few days. It was easy to rally support since most Spanish chefs know each other here. Everyone was really supportive when I approached them.
How well do you know José Andrés, who founded the charity you donated to—World Central Kitchen?
I worked for him at Minibar in Washington. I cooked at his house frequently and almost every weekend we cooked for orphans and people who were struggling. His World Central Kitchen is basically a bigger version of what we did in his home kitchen five or so years ago.
How do you think the food industry has changed over the last few months?
It’s always been a tough industry, but now more than ever. From front-of-house all the way to the kitchen in the back, we’re rethinking the way we operate. Flexibility is key, but so is efficiency. Social media has been helpful. We’re able to ask for help, drive calls to action and share immediate updates. Personally, I’ve had time to gain clarity on what I want to do and the food I want to make. This has been an opportunity for us to retrain, so we can offer something better once this is all over.
What good do you hope will come out of this for restaurants?
More confidence and passion for dining out. A lot of people outside of our industry are realising how volatile it actually is and how fast their favourite dinner spot or neighbourhood hangout can disappear without notice. We’re definitely more vigilant about what we’re doing and the impact we can have on our partners and communities. We’re learning to be more creative as the game can change in an instant.
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