Living in harmony – byArnaud Hauchon, Culinary Curator
The only way I can live in Hong Kong is to be able to extract myself from the busy city environment, so I live in Sai Kung in the New Territories, surrounded by countryside. I come from the countryside originally, so it's important for me to be able to escape.
I walk deep into nature every weekend. Everywhere I can walk, I walk. On Sundays I go for a four to five-hour walk, I don't care if it is raining or crazy hot. It clears my head, gives me some space. It is my walking meditation, and to be balanced I try to do this at least once a week.
I practice a lot of sports. This is my "life hygiene". Depending on my energy levels I try to do some activity every two days. I run, I have access to a nice pool, and I also practice yoga and Kung Fu.
When I arrived in Hong Kong I knew it was the centre of Wing Chung and got very lucky to find one of the Hong Kong's most advanced Wing Chung masters, Sifu Leung Ka Cheong. I practice Kung Fu around eight hours a week and through it I am learning self-exploration. I have to fight my own self. I have to refine my senses to a depth I have never been to except in meditation (and cooking of course). It is humbling, surprisingly deep, and could be associated with meditation, which I practice too.
I am on a journey to explore deeper and deeper into my personal relationship with food. Similar to my personal journey through Kung Fu, I'm simplifying my cuisine, taking out the ego, tuning into the ingredients, considering cooking – and eating – with a Zen-style approach.
I see everything through the lens of food; food is my entry point to harmony, peace and balance. As a chef I can deeply connect to the leaf of a herb, for example, and through that access something that is truly universal.
One of the most important yet often disregarded parts of our lives, I believe food can deeply connect us, or disconnect us, with the fundamentals of life. When you loose a meaningful connection with food, eating for entertainment or without thinking, food can make you sick (and our planet too). But equally, food can be a powerful tool of awareness. Food engages all our senses and therefore has the power to bring us back to our senses, back to our bodies and at the same time back to universal connection.
It is easier to say than to do, but cooking and eating mindfully helps bring me back into the here and now.