People today tend not to think about what, why and how they are eating. Often they don't notice if food is produced in a way which harms the environment. They choose the cheapest food without thinking about why it's cheap, and they buy too much and throw the excess away, causing a lot of waste.
Today, the Slow Food organisation has supporters in more than 150 countries. The group encourages focus on each country's local food community, so its success relies on the work done by its local associations.
The Slow Food Association in Macau is working closely with students of the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT). Since 2007, IFT students have organised the Slow Food Awards, which encourage local restaurants and suppliers to produce food that is good, clean and fair.
Baudouin Neirynck, president of the Macau Slow Food Association and an assistant professor at IFT, was responsible for setting up the awards.
"There are no farms in Macau, no raw material, so many children don't know where their food comes from," says Neirynck. "There was a need to come up with an idea."
The first step is to identify potential candidates. Students send a questionnaire to suppliers and restaurateurs to see if they want to participate and if they are eligible as candidates.
Next, the Slow Food Association selects nominees: the restaurants and suppliers who work most closely to Slow Food ideals. Then the public votes on Facebook.
This year, the award for Best Western Restaurant went to Clube Militar de Macau; the Best Chinese Restaurant was Long Wa Restaurant; the Best Asian Restaurant was Nagoyaka Tei; and the award for Best Pastry/Cake Shop went to Goz Cafe.
After the awards ceremony, all guests were invited to the Slow Food Award gala dinner, which was prepared and served by IFT students. We had chicken salad with homemade sesame dressing, Caldo Verde soup (a Macanese speciality), sea bass with lily, wild mushroom and mild turmeric cream sauce, and to finish, papaya and white fungus soup with glutinous dumplings. It was an absolute delight!
Students dance at the Award ceremony
(From left) Heyna Wong, an IFT student, Baudouin Neirynck, and Rita Cheong, the IFT student who was in charge of the event
Guests enjoy the food at the Gala dinner