What was the inspiration behind starting The Arcane Collective?
We opened Arcane in 2014 with the long-term plan to create a small, quality-focused restaurant group. Our goal has always been to grow a collection of independently minded restaurants that reflect the values of the kitchen of Arcane: ingredients-driven, unpretentious, socially and environmentally aware, and a little irreverent. Each restaurant under The Arcane Collective empowers talent, respects all workers, champions diversity and creativity, and serves food that brings great joy to diners.
After Arcane and Cornerstone, what can you reveal about the group’s third restaurant?
The Arcane Collective’s new restaurant Moxie is a plant-forward concept that will open this month at Alexandra House at the Landmark. It will continue our journey as a forward-thinking restaurant group, focusing on simple and delicious food that will be driven by quality produce and an emphasis on ethical sourcing.
Some would say developing a restaurant group during a pandemic is a risky business. How did you know this was the right time?
A big part of what The Arcane Collective is about is having integrity and passion for our craft. The new group is about mentoring and providing opportunities for chefs, sommeliers and waiters, and helping them run their own restaurants under the Arcane umbrella. We support a community of specialist and artisan farmers, growers and suppliers of the best produce locally and internationally.
We are eternally optimistic that life and business must continue as normally as possible. The pandemic will end—who knows how or when—but as the well-known adage goes, life goes on. If we can help our community during this time, then all the better.
What are the challenges of working with fresh produce in Hong Kong?
Agriculture is extremely challenging when you take into account the local topography, extreme weather and short growing season. We are working with a local farming co-op which is growing beautiful, organic fruit and vegetables in Yuen Long.