— February 28, 2014 —
As Hong Kong's first 'uncontaminated gluten-free bakery', Choice Cooperative provides nutritious selections of delicious baked goods in a healthy environment for both adult and children. Located in a spacious warehouse space above us here at Electric sekki in Wong Chuk Hang, Choice Cooperative offers a place where children can play, create, explore and listen to stories, have playdates and celebrate birthdays. The cafe has items on the menu suitable for all ages and occasions, where you can grab a healthy hot meal or enjoy a smoothie, coffee or tea with a side of dessert. "We've created a special place for families to enjoy daily without added stress and trust of a good delicious healthy meal," says Choice Cooperative owner, Ifat Kafry Hindes. It's definitely one of Electric sekki's new go-to places for lunch or a guilt-free snack and our Best Bet for the next time you're looking for a nice meal in Wong Chuk Hang. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Ifat about the inspiration behind creating Choice Cooperative, her style choices and more.
What were your reasons behind opening? Did you see a gap in the market?
Ifat Kafry Hindes: It was through my own journey with my family that we noticed there weren't enough options for our needs or, even more so, quality gluten-free bakeries. I felt there weren't enough options in Hong Kong for families with specific dietary requirements or even those that just wanted to be able to trust where they were eating; more specifically, in a family friendly environment, where kids can roam, parents can relax and family meals can be made easier. I definitely saw a gap in the market for this as most gluten-free items are packaged and flown in from overseas. The baked goods are factory mass-produced and most of the time, not fresh.
Tell us a bit about your inspiration.
Through my research, I saw of places overseas that developed safe heaven-type bakeries and cafes; I thought, if its possible overseas, I'm going to find a way to make it possible here in Hong Kong.
What inspired the restaurant name?
I was sitting down with my husband thinking over what I was going to call it, and we started a banter back and forth of what it was about; funnily enough, at the same time, we both said, 'It's about choices. Choice!' And then, over the months, through the development, we stuck on the 'Cooperative' part, bringing together of all sorts of 'healthy'; mind, body, spirit, environment.
What were the three most important things to get Choice Cooperative up and running?
Patience, research and planning.
What is your philosophy?
I live with a lot of heart, I'm a passionate person and I give with all I've got; I put this into my work and into my personal life. I recently read this quote that I absolutely love: You didn't think when you got up this morning that this would be the day your life would change, did you? But its going to happen because the only thing that stands between you and grand success in living are these two things: getting started and never quitting! You can solve your biggest problem by getting started right here and now -- Robert H. Schuller.
How do you juggle family life and work? Hong Kong is such a fast paced city.
I practice what people call 'Attachment Parenting'. I didn't know that there was actually a term for the way my husband and I chose to instinctively parent our children without books or guides. As such, I've always planned my work life around them and made sure that they could be around me wherever I am. So I have created such a place for them to be whilst I work. I still take on photography clients, too, and they come to work with me then, as well.
What is your day-to-day style and look?
I play it safe, classic and elegant as much as I can; easy timeless jeans, nice tops and classic shoes. Classic boots in the winter and flats in the summer. Most of my jewellery is of sentimental value, so I have a hard time replacing them; a ring my grandfather gave my mother 40 years ago, a necklace my best-friend gave me, a wedding ring and a special ring my father and his partner gave me. I also wear a lovely classic Cartier watch that hasn't been in production for a couple of years, which was given to me on my bat mitzvah. They are all timeless pieces and I do love them.
Finish the sentence...
Growing up, I wanted to be a good Jewish mommy and homemaker. I watched as my grandmothers and mothers created such warm homes. I wanted the same for myself, so I watched and learned as much as I could.
The place that inspires me the most is Israel. I love my home, it has my heart. I visit my grandfather's grave every year and his memory inspires me very much.
My favourite app is HK Observatory Weather; I check it every morning before I get dressed. Lets face it, Hong Kong has terrible consistency when it comes to weather. So I make sure that I am wearing suitable clothing for the day, as much as I can …
My favourite restaurant in HK is the lunch buffet at the Marriott Hotel in Admiralty, more specifically the salad bar!
Visit Choice Cooperative at 7/F BT Centre, 23 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong (closed on Mondays).