Location: China - Hong Kong / Macau
Profession: Professional Baker
Favourite way to eat bread: Not the healthiest but brings back childhood memories of visiting Hong Kong with my parents and eating at the "cha chaan tengs" A thin slice of whole-wheat sourdough, toasted to an inch of its life, spread chunky peanut butter and then a drizzle of condensed milk. Tangy, sweet, creamy, nutty goodness (only reserved for really bad and stressful days or when I am on my period).
I bake for everyone- people I care about, family, friends or a stranger who needs someone to show that they exist and someone is thinking about them. When I had my bakery in Nanjing, it was such a joy to share my test recipes or my ugly loaves that couldn't make it to the sales counter with customers who happened to be in the cafe when I came out from the kitchen. To connect with them through something I created even if it was just a simple smile gave me a sense of purpose, it was ten times more rewarding than when I was practicing law (quit being a solicitor 8 years ago to be a pastry chef/ baker).
How I use BALM Protocol
Honestly, I'm not sure, I want to share this knowledge which as the weeks go by, I feel is so important and potentially life changing. I've started making my own kefir and drink it everyday with my husband and eating more whole grain. Don't know if it is psychological since it's only been three weeks, but we feel more satiated and don't binge eat junk food as much.
Gut health is definitely something that is not talked about or marketed in Hong Kong. Most people still eat and prefer white soft sweetened enriched breads filled with processed meats/ sweet pastes. I don't even know what chemicals, emulsifiers, improvers they put into the dough. Sourdough has become gimmicky over here, if you slap on a label that it is sourdough then people think it must be healthy- one of the more popular western bakeries even sells sourdough egg-tarts. I really hope that through this course and being part of the Sourdough School community, I can somehow educate the people around me and the people that eat my bread and gut-friendly products about the real facts and information. My thinking is I need to educate and weaponise myself with knowledge before I can venture into my ultra processed environment and tell people why they should really eat sourdough and fermented foods.
I really hope I can open a small bakery, maybe online to start with, in Hong Kong during the latter half of 2023 and maybe even give workshops on baking and understanding sourdough and healthier eating. It would be great if I can one day create a community of bakers in Hong Kong who really appreciate the health benefits of the foods we put into our mouths.
A future side-project which is a bit more difficult to achieve is I want to import British flour (the stoneground good stuff) from small/medium sized millers and promote their flours over here in Asia. I think it's an untapped market, Asia, especially China is dominated by French/ Japanese flours, but I think British flour is just as good and it would be great to be able to give back to the country that I grew up in and help the farmers and people who work hard on the land everyday.