As environmental and personal health benefits of plant-based diets become clearer and more compelling, the culinary world turns increasingly to explorations of vegetarian and vegan options.
Citing positive effects on people and planet, Catharina and Peng Ang have established a new fund, boosting research and development of plant-based foods, food products, and menus at Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific.
The Ang Vegetarian Culinary Endowed Fund supports CIP’s faculty and students in their vegetarian-related culinary arts projects, anticipating a wider adoption of plant-based foods in the global community for the benefit of all humankind.
Catharina – whose given name is Yung-Kang, or “forever health” – grew up in Taiwan with Buddhistic Mongolian roots, wondering if people must kill animals for food. On her way to a PhD in food science, she studied the ways food and diet affect health, learning that human lives are not dependent on animal food products, and a plant-based diet is much healthier than a diet with animal products. At the same time, she understood that production of plant materials for food is less detrimental to global warming than livestock farming.
Peng, from a Chinese family in Malaysia, met Cathy while both were university students in Taiwan. An avid cook who once considered opening a restaurant, he is impressed with CIP’s reputation, direction and outlook. This fund at CIP fulfills both their wishes, an expression of Peng’s passion for culinary education and training, combined with Cathy’s commitment to promoting a plant-based diet.
“We encourage people of all ages to adopt plant-based or vegetarian diets,” says Cathy. “Markets and restaurants primarily use animal materials for main courses, with only a small number of restaurants dedicated to vegetarian foods. People wishing to have plant-based foods outside their homes have few options and inconsistent quality. We would love to see improvements in this area.”
Peng says, “Many people, especially in these younger generations, prefer meatless diets because of their compassion for animals, religious beliefs, and concerns about toxic food contaminants, such as animal drug residues, viruses and bacteria. As meatless food availability grows to meet the growing consumer demand, the general population will be encouraged to enjoy healthy, vegetarian diets.”
CIP looks forward to a leading role in vegetarian food research, development, and education. The Angs’ gift to CIP is a gift to the people of Hawai‘i and all of planet Earth, as it generates funds for generations to come and encourages CIP’s contribution globally to human health, consumer satisfaction, and climate change mitigation.