Hong Kong is many things: Financial hub, concrete jungle, shopping mecca... but “lush farmland” is hardly the first descriptor that springs to mind. With the hustle and bustle constantly dominating the narrative, it’s almost too easy to forget that agriculture here is alive and well.
Chef James Henry is aiming to shine the spotlight on local produce with his upcoming concept Belon. Working with Black Sheep Restaurants, Henry is set to open the neo-Parisian bistro this March on the dynamic Elgin Street in SoHo. The Australian chef has won accolades for his past tenure at Bones, a beloved eatery in the trendy 11th arrondissement in Paris.
Now that he’s left the City of Light behind, Henry is eager to explore all that Hong Kong’s vibrant food culture has to offer, incorporating these elements into his cooking style in a way that makes sense for Belon. “My cooking is influenced by everywhere I’ve been — everywhere I go touched me in some way,” said the chef. He has been splitting his time between wet markets in Sai Ying Pun and organic farms in the New Territories, where he attempts to weave fresh local vegetables into his full course menu at every chance possible.
We had the privilege of tagging along on one of Henry’s countryside outings, in search of fresh vegetables to go with his demonstration of a grilled squid dish. Watch our exclusive video for his hopes for his new venture — set against a gorgeous and rarely seen side of Hong Kong.