In spite of everything, we do have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. Today, we are taking a break from cooking comfort food, ordering burger deliveries and eating Oreos for breakfast to appreciate the bigger picture and tireless work done by these amazing women in the Hong Kong F&B industry.

This year, here are the ladies we are looking up to:

Agnes Chin & Jo Soo-Tang (Cookie Smiles)

Hong Kong social enterprise Cookie Smiles began baking and selling their snaps and crunches in June 2020, creating jobs for disadvantaged people and supporting local charities in the process. Founded by Jo Soo-Tang and Agnes Chin, the enterprise currently offers over 12 types of cookies – from butter snaps with lemon drizzle to coconut crunches – and they even have cookies for pups. They give new meaning to the term “comfort food”! Find out where you can eat cookies for a good cause.

RELATED: The best cookies in Hong Kong

Heidi Spurrell (Food Made Good)

As CEO of the HK chapter of the Food Made Good initiative, Heidi Spurrell is helping food retailers, restaurants and food-related NGOs in Hong Kong to accelerate their sustainability journey. Food Made Good HK provides a framework to rate businesses’ activities across “Sourcing, Society and the Environment” as a benchmark for which areas where improvements can be made. It celebrates consistent, incremental steps in the right direction. Find out how to become a member here.

RELATED: Food Made Good HK gets B Corp certification

Josephine Chen (HomelandGreen)

Josephine Mak Chen Wen-Ning is the founder and chairwoman of HomelandGreen, an organisation that promotes regenerative agriculture and soil conservation and fights for environmental awareness on these issues across Asia. With an extensive history in education, she has served on numerous Hong Kong SAR committee and panels. After her retirement, an inspirational encounter with an organisation fighting desertification in Inner Mongolia led her to study soil conservation, and she is now a regenerative farming educator and hands-on expert on soil health. Contact HomelandGreen to enquire about school-based educational experiences.

Leigh Powrie (Double Haven & Dragon Water)

Leigh Powrie is half the dream team behind Double Haven and Dragon Water. She and her husband, Scott, went from being avid home brewers to building Hong Kong’s biggest contract brewery and, in 2020, founding their own brands, Double Haven and Dragon Water. Leigh is passionate about animals, community and the environment – and both labels reflect that. They donate 1% of their revenue to 1% for the Planet, support Women of Hong Kong and TEDxTinHauWomen, do rubbish-collection drives, mindful collabs and eco-initiatives as well as support a number of community sports teams.

May Chow (Little Bao & Happy Paradise)

Since launching Little Bao in 2013, Chef May Chow was named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017, was a guest judge on MasterChef Asia and UK and Top Chef in the USA and was featured on the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown CNN series. With numerous international media appearances under her belt, she uses her platform to support LGBTQ rights and promote diversity and female empowerment. May’s dishes contain an essence of traditional Chinese cuisine but are always innovative, and we love dropping by both Little Bao and Happy Paradise for a bite to eat.

RELATED: This beer company thinks May is a hero

Peggy Chan (Zero Foodprint Asia)

No stranger to working in Hong Kong’s tough F&B industry is Peggy Chan, who blazed trails with (now closed) sustainable vegetarian eatery Grassroots Pantry in Sheung Wan. Her experience there really highlighted the harsh boundaries of what is possible within the current system, so she moved into changing the system at the source: food production. Last year, she founded Zero Foodprint Asia (ZFPA), which educates, funds and supports farmers and best practices. The project is founded in a belief of undertaking LCA (life-cycle analysis) of supply chains, understanding the impact of food metrics and making effective change where it matters. Less talk, more meaningful action! Joining ZFPA is a practical way for the hospitality industry across Asia to become part of the solution.

Punam Chopra (SpiceBox Organics)

Punam Chopra established organic marketplace SpiceBox Organics in 2012 on a foundation of holistic health and nutritional experience. SpiceBox Organics went on to be named Business of the Year 2020 by Food Made Good (and won the One Planet Plate award in 2021), and it continues to lead by example in how to make better choices. Passionate about sustainable and organic food production, Punam aims to source products with a minimal carbon footprint and to encourage fair-trade practices amongst producers and suppliers.

RELATED: SpiceBox Organics recipes and tips

… and Between Coffee

There’s an incredibly important and powerful group of women – Hong Kong’s unsung heroes – who are undergoing some of their most difficult moments right now: domestic helpers. In honour of International Women’s Day, Between Coffee will donate $10 from every drink sold at all Between outlets from 7–13 March to HELP for Domestic Workers. HELP for Domestic Workers exists to support migrant domestic workers and to help them to gain access to justice and receive fair and equal treatment under the law. If you can’t get to Between, you can always donate directly.

Pacific Place: Shop 200D, 2/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty

Tai Kwun: 2/F, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central

Wanchai: 248 Queen’s Road East

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