Dude, So Few Meat Dishes!
I was often prompted with that question regarding my menus.
And you are absolutely right about it—especially for the carnivores, such a menu might come off as a big disappointment.
But there are more reasons beyond the obvious on why Dew’s dishes are more vegetable driven and focused that are worth explaining.
There are several reasons of course.
But reiterating the obvious is that every establishment has their own identity that they project and characterize, such as the BBQ Smokehouse that is focused on meat or the Hot Pot that is more soup based specialty.
One rhetoric worth pointing out—that is often left out of the equation—which I leave to question, is that since when did we start the practice of correlating our expectation with the price of the menu to automatically translate the inclusion of the expensive ingredients, such as the prized cuts of meat, or the rare seafood as a common norm?
Shouldn’t that be left to the restaurant’s discretion?
Before we set out to open our door to the public, Restaurant Dew has several objectives in place that are consciously defined which we believe strongly characterize ourselves and are important as part of our identity.
Like people with different names and unique personalities, we did not set out to be just another regular Joe, who does the over abused spaghetti, and risotto dishes that are assumed to be Italian or anything not Italian, is expensive, and then automatically slapped with the sticker of being French, even if they are not, or anything fermented, is then considered as Scandinavian.
Adding the fuel to this fire of confusion and ignorance is that the average diners are so often caught up with their own expectations of the versions of the meals that they themselves define—which is often further obfuscated by the disinformation on the social networks—that the necessary and basic homework that rests on the diners to understand clearly about an establishment they are about to visit gets lost in the translation.
飲食，可以是做為生活的營養補給；也可能是撫慰心靈的舒適膳食；也能為了特殊場合尋求的高單價餐點；或者成為非典型的飲食方式，具備哲學思考、冒險精神的全新膳食。There are the simple day-to-day meals for basic sustenance, and there are the comfort meals for nurturing the body and the soul, and there are the more expensive meals for special occasions, and then there are the less-than-typical meals with a statement for the adventurous, philosophical, and avant-garde.
The dishes served at Dew are about innovations, foreshadowings, and responsibilities.
I think the profession and the role of a chef is more important than ever in this modern day.
Chefs play the intermediary role between bridging the farmers and the suppliers who have the very first hand knowledge on the problems they may have faced during the practice of cultivation of the crops on the land itself and the final vector of the consumers who are the diners themselves.
Thus, chefs have a responsibility in relaying the knowledge of what is at stake to both the farmers and the diners which, in turn, may fuel and sustain or break this very cycle of sustenance production that is closely dependent upon each other.
主廚的職業生涯都在處理、準備食物，但這種過程不單單是料理本身，還包括理解食材是如何生產的—其中的的交易流程—與農民間是否符合公平交易、是否符合環境永續的農業實踐。Chefs spend their entire career dealing with the preparation of food, but the preparation spans more than just the cooking itself—it is also about understanding how an ingredient is produced, the journeys it made behind its appearance on the market, and if it is fairly traded between the cultivators and the conscientious farming practice conducted on the lands at the very global village level.
We made an objective for Dew to be a green restaurant—that is about sustainability, avoiding wastage, reusing instead of recycling in our day-to-day operations.
Therefore we prefer the local over the imported, repurposing the trimmings and leftovers back into our dishes, and avoiding the extensive carbon footprints funneled into acquiring the prized and rare ingredients nowadays people take for granted.
Faced with the irrefutable facts of global warming and environmental destruction caused by our practices for food production throughout the world that would eventually circle back to impact severely the livelihood of our crops, chefs should be even more diligent in raising the awareness of sustainable farming and coming up with ways to maximize the currently available ingredients to their full potential. And this is where innovation and creativity comes in.
When faced with what is only seasonally available, we need to reinvent and challenge ourselves with more ideas than ever, and develop techniques to create dishes that are diverse in flavors and fun to enjoy despite utilizing the same and commonly found ingredients.
It is also through this practice that we keep ourselves on our toes so that in times of need and scarcity, we would still be resilient.
Pickling and fermenting then, in this sense, is a necessity rather than a trendy practice simply because everyone is doing it.
The benefits of the plants are recognized by many and are further supported by science.
The categories of the plants greatly outrank the types of meat available to the general public.
Knowing this, another part of the objective that Dew aims to achieve is to utilize as many plants as possible to showcase the dishes that deserve its own merit, just as the star is the steak course to also that of a vegetable course.
These objectives define the type of restaurant and the cuisine at Dew really is, which is certainly not explained by the competitive photos often lacking the contexts flooding the social media.
Just as there are work ethics inherent in each profession, chefs themselves need to be more vigilant as they are inevitably intertwined in the roles of life and death, and nurture and sacrifice.
This is how I strife to think that we chefs are doing our ethical part—educating the public through our cuisines, fulfilling our responsible roles to be more sustainable, and together, adjusting and amending our practices supported by science for a better ameliorated future.