Cover Photography: Affa Chan (Osborn)

Shane Osborn, the chef behind Arcane, Moxie and Cornerstone, goes head-to-head with Christian Mongendre, founder and CEO of plant-based restaurant Treehouse, in this month’s great debate

Should It Be the Law That All Restaurants Serve at Least 10% Plant-Based Dishes?

Christian Mongendre: YES

“Making it the law to have 10 per cent [of the food] on every menu be plant-based will greatly help the adoption of plant-based diets in Hong Kong. It is now widely acknowledged that being more plant-based is the way forward for our planet and for our health. Ordinarily, I would say that it is the responsibility of the dining industry to drive an organic transition. But, if the government mandates that all restaurants have at least 10 per cent of the menu items plant-based, it will promote the idea that choosing a plant-based meal is actually the norm, and it will subconsciously nudge people to make more conscious decisions.

If the government makes this a law, it will be one that will yield long-term benefits and help the plant-based diet break through into the mainstream in Hong Kong. We need to put in extra effort into promoting widespread adoption of a plant-based lifestyle, especially in Hong Kong, where the community is often reluctant to order vegetarian dishes over animal protein.”

Shane Osborn: NO

“I don’t like the idea of a government introducing a 10 per cent vegetarian quota on restaurant menus. The dining industry needs to be the driver, by promoting and championing more vegetarian and plant-based meals. I get it: creating exciting plant-based dishes can be challenging, but it is our duty to evolve with the times, for the sake of our own health and the health of the planet.

Across The Arcane Collective’s restaurants, at least 30 per cent of our menus consist of vegetarian and plant-based dishes. At Moxie, the menu is roughly 70 per cent plant-based. I would like the percentage to be even higher across all of our venues, but the Hong Kong dining community seems reluctant to order vegetarian dishes over animal protein or seafood-based dishes.

If we work to promote creative and delicious vegetarian dishes instead of only highlighting the typical “luxurious” ingredients like wagyu, caviar and lobster, it will increase the willingness of guests to choose healthier options. Vegetarian dishes should not be an after-thought. They should have equal presence on menus.”

 

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