The chef catalyzing circular change
GUESTS FOR CHANGE with CHRISTIAN G. MONGENDRE
Within the Guests for Change series, thought leaders, pioneers, visionaries, and game-changers are interviewed to give us more insight into the world of sustainability and circularity. Already a close collaborator with THE GUESTLIST and a well-known pioneer of Hong Kong's plant-based movement, Christian G. Mongendre shares his experience as a young change-maker putting sustainability and circularity into practice.
“The principle of circularity is that it will all come back to you.” - Christian G. Mongendre
It is likely that no generation has felt the weight of this statement as heavily as the youth of today. While there may be an ingrained inter-generational sense of it throughout humanity, young people are the ones that will experience the looming repercussions most intensely - while understanding the urgent need to do things differently.
As founder of TREEHOUSE, Christian G. Mongendre understands that change does not need to happen in a reformative way. Rather, it can happen in a progressive and positive way, by bringing in things that we know work while we grow into more empowering positions.
Initially collaborating with others, he returned to Hong Kong in his mid-twenties with a backpack and his ideals. Since then, he has worked hard to be able to invest in, and take control over his own business ventures. The autonomy that he now has is invaluable to him. It comes both with the power and the responsibility to implement his environmentally-focused, green ideals.
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Within his journey as a whole-foods plant-based restauranteur, he highlights that having the patience to work towards better ways of doing things is something that is important. And one of the major challenges that the modern-day world faces is, quite simply, the fact that:
"FOOD EDUCATION IS LACKING."
Overall, traceability of where our food comes from is not something that is commonplace to many. People don’t have an awareness of their cultural background of food or of healthy foods. But what inspires Christian is that young people understand this disjuncture. They know of the serious environmental crises that humanity will face within their lifetimes.
The youth of today are living in a world in which little is guaranteed. They do not have the security of a job market as their parents did. They are facing an unprecedented time in which there is no assurance of what the future holds for humanity. And within this, the youth see what the older generations are leaving to them.
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Christian notes that the younger generation has a tendency to not support businesses that are just doing things merely for pure profit. They prefer those who are doing what is right for the greater good, for the environment and for the world as a whole - before what is profitable.
Moving from what Christian calls “a fear-based to a love-based approach,” the youth of today are becoming agents of change. Even within his team, the members are known as “Agent of Change.”
For him, food was his entry point into taking on a more active role to shift things within the world. Food became a trigger for his internal change. Simply having an awareness of the foods that made him feel uplifted, compared to what would hinder his performance, assisted him to turn inwards and take into account how he wanted to feel.
“You start relying on yourself for your own decision-making,” he shares.
“You start relying on yourself for your own decision-making,” he shares. “You find out that what is outside is not necessarily the solution. It all comes from within. If you start taking care of yourself and giving yourself the love that you need, as you change, and you start making the right choices of the food that will make you more uplifted - everything has an impact… And it is through going within that you are going to create something that is unique, truly unique.”
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“What is needed is more young people who want to be part of the food industry as leaders, and people who really want to be in the industry,” he says, encouraging the youth especially to put their minds, talents and skills into more environmentally-focused projects.
Read the second part of our conversation with Christian to gain an insight into how circularity benefits businesses, and watch the Guests for Change webinar below.
As always, keep an eye out for our next Guest!