Joanne Chan Cho-yan is a firm believer in eating fruits and vegetables, and she hopes to promote her belief through fruit art. She has been stirring up attention on social media ever since she began doing carvings and drawings.
Her most popular creation - McApple, a box of French fries made from apples - was widely shared on Facebook. The reason the 24-year-old social worker is so passionate about healthy eating is her own past. Skin allergies were something she had to worry about since she was a little girl. She would have puffy, red skin all the time.
At university, her skin problem became worse. "I had blotches all over my face. Sometimes I even skipped classes because my skin was so bad." That was when Chan decided to find her solution to better skin. "I went to both Chinese and Western doctors, but nothing seemed to work, so I decided to go back to the basics - healthy eating," she says.
Chan started changing her diet by eating fruits for breakfast and a blended vegetable smoothie for dinner. "I got inspiration for my diet from my friend who has cancer. Whether or not you're sick, a healthy diet should have about seven servings of vegetables and fruits every day." She believes the best rule to become healthier and improve the skin's condition is to eat fruits and vegetables raw.
One of Chan's tasty masterpieces
Chan discovered fruit art by accident. One night she found a peach at home and decided to carve it into a heart shape. She shared pictures of her carvings on her Facebook page, Food - Cosmetology, and right after that, she ate the fruit.
"I like drawing and art, but if I wanted to keep them, they would take up a lot of space. The good thing about fruit art is that I can eat it afterwards. I do art with the fruit to attract people to eat them. This is different to fruit carving, where the sculptures from fruit have to be thrown away after being showcased," she says.
As her craft attracted more attention, Chan decided to take promoting the healthy eating lifestyle to a new level. She now runs parent-child fruit carving workshops. "The workshops teaches parents how to present fruits and vegetables to attract children to eat them. When children and parents attend the workshop, they will eat as they cut the ingredients. It is an encouraging sign," she says.
To further promote fruit art, Chan joined a talent competition, Dreamstage. She hopes that by joining the competition, more people become aware of her work and will be encouraged to eat more healthily. "If I win, I will use the prize money to organise fruit art workshops for underprivileged kids. As a social worker, I really want to do more for the less fortunate people in our society," she says.
If that goes well, the next step after the workshops would be to open a restaurant that focuses on fruits and vegetables and overall healthy eating.
As the saying goes, a tree is known by the fruit it bears.