It can be tough in Hong Kong to juggle a busy schedule with eating well. Add kids and a family to the mix and it’s often a recipe for expensive takeout bills and a diet that is less than desirable. Maayan Schwartz recognized this as she was searching for good meals while working AND raising three children. Fortunately, she has a domestic helper, which has helped ease the burden. “My helper is often involved in the cooking process and I was eager to delegate some of the cooking to her, although I found that most recipe books have too much text or the recipe wasn’t clear and concise enough for someone with basic cooking skills to follow,” she says.
That’s how her debut cookbook “Your Outsourced Kitchen” was born. The 80 recipes contained within (complete with photographs by Lakshmi Harilela) are showcased in a step by step, easy to follow manner, and feature a wide range of dishes and styles of cuisine, from starters to desserts. “It’s simply about the ingredients, the process, here and there, a few great tips,” says Schwartz. “This book is especially written for time strapped people.”
There are several features that set this debut apart though. Schwartz believed that it would be handy to have all of the recipes translated into Tagalog, so that those families with domestic helpers could have something available that was quick and easy, especially when it comes to many of the healthy ingredients and dishes that Schwartz envisioned. While the translating was a lengthy process, with two translation companies and several bi-lingual editors in tow, the result is a book that can travel far beyond our own city. “Since so many of our domestic helpers are doing the cooking for us in Hong Kong, Singapore and other places, I wanted to provide them with a cooking tool that was easy, efficient and would allow them to cook in a straight forward way,” she says. “We’ve all had a few comical or ‘lost in translation’ moments in the kitchen. In order to minimize these moments, “Your Outsourced Kitchen” was created.”
Additional recipes have also been contributed by some of Hong Kong’s leading, forward thinking restaurants who liked Schwartz’s approach to cooking. The range includes Central based Korean favorite Jinjuu, as well as Bombay Dreams, vegetarian based venues Grassroots Pantry and Genie Juicery and more. “I was just determined to ‘healthily’ and present some healthier options from these awesome restaurants!” exclaims Schwartz.
“Your Outsourced Kitchen” is currently available at several outlets throughout the city, including Bookazine, the Four Seasons Spa, Just Green and can also be ordered via www.youroutsourcedkitchen.com Part of the proceeds from the book are dedicated to the Cambodian Children’s Fund, an organization in Phnom Penh which currently serves 12,000 people in communities throughout the country.