THE JOURNEY BEHIND OUR Michelin FARM TO TABLE MENU: WITH CHEF TONY, QI YUN, AND KYLIE LAM
To celebrate the Lunar New Year, Executive Chef of Mi Xun Teahouse, Tony Xu, launched a farm-to-table Michelin tasting menu in collaboration with Qi Yun, local farmer and artist.
To better understand the process behind the group’s first Michelin farm-to-table menu, Kylie Lam, Hotel Manager and Sustainability Ambassador of The Temple House, sat down with Tony and Qi Yun.
NOW, SHE SHARES WITH US THE DOCUMENTED PROCESS BEHIND THE EVENT.
What’s the importance of sustainability and zero-waste to you?
From our initial goal of “waste reduction” to now “zero waste”, we are all about growing in our sustainable development journey. To achieve this in our kitchen, the team needs to re-look at our ingredients and menus, and make zero waste an instinctual habit. Only by continuously practicing sustainability will we bring about a better future!
Have you created an event like this before? If not, what do you hope to take away from it？
This is my first time bringing such an event to Mi Xun Teahouse. I hope that through this partnership, we are able to open the eyes and mind of every guest that walks through the doors into the beauties of nature through sustainable dining.
This is also my first time collaborating with a restaurant beyond just using its venue, but also collaborating on the menu and educating the team. So it’s a very rewarding and special experience!
What inspired you to build these farms outside of Chengdu?
I have always liked gardening and cooking, a trait that I picked up growing up in Taiwan around fields and gardens of nature. Chengdu is a small, “lazy” city that still appreciates livelihood and the finer things in life, so it’s here that I decided to start my “farmer life”.
What is the main purpose of this farm?
My goal was to create a farm in the city that I love, from which I can grow produce when I want, or even grow flowers when I want! With my yield, I typically donate the produce to nearby temples or schools. At the same time, I also work with nearby farmers to teach them various farming practices such as how to maximize yield in a limited space, and the importance of growing seasonal vegetables.
What does this event mean to Mi Xun Teahouse as a sustainable, plant-based brand?
Do you hope that this will set a precedent for other sustainable, zero-waste events to come at The Temple House?
We hope that through conveying this sustainable, zero-waste message to our audience, we can raise awareness on the need to practice sustainable and healthy dining. I hope that through this collaboration, we can open the door for Mi Xun Teahouse to participate in more sustainable and zero-waste initiatives, and continue to develop the dialogue on green dining.
Which dish is your favourite and why?
QI YUN:From the first appetizer which features shredded radish wrapped in a radish leaf, to a purple spinach which pairs beautifully with spinach stem, to lastly the Marinated Radish Mustard which returns back to the radish leaf, every taste is a delicious surprise.
My favourite dishes are the three appetizers, because through these you can truly see the vision of zero-waste behind this menu.
What is the inspiration behind these dishes that you have created?
The dishes are largely inspired by the seasonal ingredients of the winter, particularly those that could be found in Qi Yun’s farm. Additionally, I also took into consideration the festive joyful season.
What have you both learnt from this process?
I’ve learnt that in order to perfect a farm-to-table menu, a lot of preparation goes into it; more than one would think. If I were to do this again, I would start the process earlier giving myself 6 months or more.
From the initial days of working with Tony and sharing best cultivation practices, to now creating this “Farm to Table” menu, I have learnt about and can truly feel the passion and creativity of a Michelin-starred Chef.