Going up the elevator of boutique hotel Brighton Hotel, we entered a modern Korean restaurant with young and mature servers who were enthusiastic about their job which was making us feel at home.

Opening up the menu, the dishes were refreshing, away from the omnipresent BBQ. Our host, Florence Hui, Under-Secretary for Home Affairs Bureau was a vegetarian; we therefore had more chances to taste some refreshing vegetarian dish from the Cho sun cuisine such as a spring roll salad filled with freshest vegetable salad, Curry tempura of vegetable, and Tomato salad with a Korean twist.

For the rest of us enjoying a bit of meat, there were a clay pot of beef ribs simmered in the most delicious braise, a nice marriage of calamari with spicy meat cooked in the red spicy soup, smoked duck breast on the tenderest pumpkin. Of course there were many more savory dishes but it is my priority here to report the other aspects of the dinner gathering.

The spirit of the dinner was for the Under-Secretary for Home Affairs Florence to show-case social enterprise’s accomplishment with an overseas franchise in the food beverage field. DG Eugene met her at an occasion and such project was discussed, quickly the Under Secretary put their conversation into action. Sorry that I did not mention to you in my earlier paragraph, 60% of the employees of the restaurant are former convicts. They included the front of house staff as well as the back of the house.

In this modern Korean setting located in a popular entertainment neighborhood, experiencing friendly service and some of the most interesting and appealing dishes, who would notice it as a social enterprise. Meanwhile it has been made into their strategic philosophy that social enterprise would not be their selling point. They would compete with everyone else in the industry head on.

Of course being the very first food and beverage venture under the helm of The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, Hong Kong , there will be many hurdles for them to overcome such as reaching economy of scale through expansion so some of the most valuable human resources can be amortized.

Chef’s noodle is a model restaurant for the The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, Hong Kong headed by Andy Ng and Anthea Lee. We think they have done a great job and we trust through their show case, we will see plenty more investments coming in, helping them reach the goal, showing the world that Hong Kong is the place that can lead former convicts to the mainstream commercial life.

Prepared by

PP Vincent and DAG Douglas