Started by Japanese chefs and good friends Hisato Hamada of Wagyumafia and Yoshihiro Narisawa of his eponymous restaurant in Tokyo, #onigiriforlove is a collaborative project created to bring these Japanese rice balls to those who need comfort during these challenging times. The chef duo used their shared love of sake and onigiri to spearhead the initiative in February 2021 and has been making onigiri at breweries across Japan, alongside local chefs, to deliver them to hospital workers.
At the same time, they invited chefs across the globe to spread the message of hope and unity by making their own personalised onigiri and sharing it on Instagram. Participating chefs have already reached the likes of Mirazur's master chef Mauro Colagreco in France and Virgilio Martinez of Central Restaurante in Peru, as well as other acclaimed chefs in Slovenia, California, Bangkok, Mumbai, Mexico and now, it's Hong Kong's turn.
(Left to right) Richard Ekkebus, Yohei Yamamoto, Matt Abergel and Elliot Faber
Inspired by this culinary community spirit, chef Richard Ekkebus of Amber is bringing together some of the city's top chefs in support of #onigiriforlove. Ekkebus will be joined by partners chef Matt Abergel of Ronin and Elliot Faber and chef Vincent Ladislao of Sake Central, along with nine of Hong Kong's most celebrated chefs, and Wagyumafia Hong Kong in a two-week charity event taking place at Belowground in the basement of the Landmark Atrium in Central.
From July 20 to August 1, the chef onigiris ($68; $240 for all four chef onigiris) will be available from 11am to 8pm with a choice of five different onigiris on rotation each day. There will also be #onigiriforlove sake ($70 for 180ml cup) from Sunday’s Distribution and drinks by Kimino ($40) to wash it all down. You can also get onigiri combos: One onigiri and one non-alcoholic beverage ($98) and one onigiri with one alcoholic beverage ($128).
100 percent of the profits from the event will be donated to Feeding Hong Kong and Impact Hong Kong, two local charity organisations dedicated to bridging the gap between hunger and food waste, and supporting Hong Kong's homeless. Any unsold onigiris will be donated to Feeding Hong Kong to ensure none go to waste.
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The line-up of chefs will be announced at the start of each week and includes:
1. Agustin Ferrando Balbi of Andō
2. Maxime Gilbert of Écriture
3. Peggy Chan of Grassroots
4. Ferran Tadeo of La Rambla
5. Ricardo Chaneton of Mono
6. Vicky Lau of Tate Dining Room
7. Danny Yip of The Chairman
8. Vicky Cheng of VEA restaurant
9. Umberto Bombana of 8½ Otto e Mezzo
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