A chat about sustainability with Gagan Gurung the bar manager at Fang Fang
Gagan Gurung has always dreamt of becoming a chef because of his love for flavors, herbs and spices. But when he realised that the same creativity of experimenting with flavors can be used behind the bar, where he could also meet the people he served, he decided to chose the bartender trade instead.
In what part of the world are you right now? And what would be your dream place to be working?
“Currently I am living in Hong Kong. I want to work in New York to experience the evolution of the cocktail legacy”.
Gagan Gurung is the bar manager at Fang Fang, a bar, lounge and restaurant in Hong Kong. Gagan is known for his creative drinks and how he incorporates Chinese philosophy and the five elements – water, wood, earth, fire and metal into his creations. He also recently added the 12 Chinese Zodiac cocktail to his menu. At Fang Fang the drinks are traditional with a modern twist influenced by the nearby regions.
When we ask him what keeps him motivated it’s the variety that the job entails that keeps him going.
“Our customers,who always comes back for more, and my team. Our job is never the same, like other professions, we have different customers, at different times, who want to have a different experience which we never fail to deliver.”
Why is reducing waste important to you?
“Reducing waste in our workplace through reusing and recycling will create a better world for future generations. After working in the industry for a decade, I have realised that we can create a working place without using too much, but still give more. I believe in sustainability and hope every bartender adopts it”.
When he continues explaining how they work in his bar today to reduce waste we get loads of ideas on how to become more sustainable behind the bar.
“These are some rules we have had created; when using lime and lemon, we use it in three ways. The skin for oil, the fruit for juice and fruit leftovers for cordial. We also have three ways of using a pineapple; the leaf for garnish, the fruit makes puré and the core can be juiced. We don’t use any napkins or plastic straws and we never keep the water running in the sink. When something is delivered to us we always return any paper och plastic boxes to the supplier”.
He continues with some useful tips and tricks that are easily adoptable.
“Ask your suppliers to re-use the box or bags or anything they deliver with. Reuse glass bottles and plastic bottles, by keeping everything clean and tidy after use and reusing them (there are lots of times you need bottles). Share or exchange things with other bars in need. Try to avoid plastic straw. This has been a huge step in Hong Kong, there are lots of other kinds of biodegradable straws at a low price”.
What is the biggest challenge when working sustainable within the bar industry right now?
“I think the support of owners, get them to understand what they can earn with this project. And the suppliers who delivers every single thing with lots of paper or plastic wrap.”