I’m so excited to share with everybody a project I’ve been working on for the past couple of months! Sunshine Box is a box of seasonal, organic vegetables that is now available to all families in Shanghai. The idea behind Sunshine Box is bridging urban and rural communities through wholesome and sustainably grown natural produce. That is why we get our produce from Rainbow of Hope (ROH), a social enterprise dedicated to empowering farmers by providing them with reliable income via sustainable agricultural practices. Because we know you are what you eat, all Sunshine Box produce is grown without any insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, or chemical fertilizers.
We kicked off the launch of Sunshine Box with a dinner launch party at La Maison 夜来香, a stunning restaurant in Shanghai’s French Concession area. In order to really feature the Sunshine Box, the entire dinner affair was made with ingredients directly shipped over from Sunshine Box’s farms in Western Hunan. Together, Chef Pol Garcia from La Maison & Chef Ivan Xu from WUJIE on the Bund, created a beautifully innovative vegetarian menu for the night. The resulting 6-course prix fixe menu showcased an assortment of vegetables including wild celery, carrots, bamboo shoots, and puntarelle.
Here are some photos from the event+behind-the-scene shots of the amazing team that put the Sunshine Box Launch together. Special shoutout to Graeme Kennedy and Autumn Qiu for their stunning photos which I’m using below.
Our big stash of vegetables on display. To really showcase Sunshine Box produce, we thought it would be really refreshing to have fresh vegetables as the main decor!
I put together a sample ‘Sunshine Box’ to show guests what a small box would look like.
(L) Camden Hauge from Social Supply was our amazing event planner and veg decorator! (R) Daimon, the head of service at La Maison, was the heart of our operations that day to ensure event set up went smoothly.
Table set and ready for our guests. Can you guess the vegetables on the table?
Flow of the night started with organic wine provided by Sarment on the 2nd floor of La Maison.
Voila! Our 6-course vegetable-based menu for the night.
Edible Earth with Earth Tea. A fitting start to the evening!
Edible Earth, made from a mixture of beetroot and almonds to provide both the texture and light acidity. To pay tribute to Sunshine Box’s hardworking farmers, Chef Pol placed each plate into a small ‘Sunshine Box’ to showcase the importance of soil health and sustainable agriculture!
Chef Ivan pouring the freshly made celery soup into each plate.
Celery Three-ways. A creamy blend of celery and onion soup with celery-infused egg tofu, and celery tempura. The silky tofu texture is truly a WUJIE specialty.
The cute WUJIE chefs putting the final touches on the next dish, Variation of Carrots.
Dusting the hand-ground carrots with spinach colored ‘cake’ powder.
Variations of Carrots. Imagine a carrot degustation! I particularly enjoyed the carrot nori sauce which really brought out the natural sweetness of the dish.
Kale Gnocchi. Freshly made kale gnocchi with duck egg foam in a savory vegetable broth.
Plating the marinated bamboo shoots with Chinese chives.
Bamboo Shoot Three-ways. The puree in the background with sweet peas was simply incredible. By blending together the ends of the bamboo shoots and stem lettuce, Chef Ivan wanted to make sure no part of the vegetables go to waste.
Pumpkin and Potato Creme Brûlée. I loved the hint of saffron with ginger, and the naturally sweet pumpkin cream.
Chef Pol explaining how he makes Edible ‘Earth’ to our lovely guests of the evening.
Chef Ivan demonstrating how he used different parts of the bamboo shoot to make his main dish.
The super stars of the night: Chef Ivan Xu from WUJIE on the Bund and Chef Pol Garcia from La Maison.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support the Sunshine Box launch! We loved that everybody enjoyed the creative takes on vegetarian dishes made by the two talented chef teams from La Maison and WUJIE on the Bund.
The launch dinner was also Sunshine Box’s first “Green Iron Chef,” a series of dinners where a featured chef showcases creative vegetarian dishes and concepts to the public and press. We’re always looking for fun collaborations with chefs that have inspiring vegetable-based concepts, so drop us a line if you’re interested!