In honour of International Women’s Day in March, we’re celebrating the incredible achievements of women around the world, including in Hong Kong. We chatted with half a dozen talented and dynamic female entrepreneurs of different ages and backgrounds about the unique businesses, initiatives and projects they’re involved in here – across fashion, books, homeware, wine, composting and plant -based food! In this instalment, we shine the spotlight on AMY ELKHOURY, founder and executive chef at Nuteese, a Hong Kong-based company specialising in aged plant-based cheeses which are vegan, dairy free and gluten free.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Lebanese Canadian – I grew up in Beirut until the age of 18 and then moved to Montreal, Canada where I spent most of my life. I moved to Shanghai a few years ago and have been calling Hong Kong home for two years now.
What do you do here?
I’m the founder and executive chef at Nuteese. This is a Hong Kong-based company creating aged plant-based artisanal cheeses that are fermented and free of chemicals, preservatives and artificial flavourings. I believe in offering products that are healthy, environmentally friendly and delicious, and free of animal products. All our products are vegan, dairy free and gluten free, and most of them are raw. Nuteese is made for the compassionate gourmet!
How did you get involved in this line of work?
I’m a foodie who loves travelling and enjoying great food. I used to be a ballerina and yoga teacher and was always conscious of the effect of the food we eat on the body. I decided to study plant-based nutrition and then became a plant-based chef and raw vegan chef.
What’s your role? Give us an insight into a typical working day for you.
My role is very diverse and allows me to do different things that I love. In the morning, I head to my Atelier where I take care of the production, creating the recipes, making the Nuteese wheels, and caring for them. They age for 21 days to allow the rind to develop and the flavours to intensify. I also take care of the marketing aspect, and I’m the direct contact with the clients so I take care of the administrative tasks in the afternoon and meeting with clients.
What are you excited about from a work perspective for 2022 and beyond?
I’m excited to make our product more accessible to everyone, whether they’re plant-based or not.
Any particular challenges you’ve faced doing business in HK? How has the pandemic affected things?
I started the business a little over a year ago – so, right during COVID. Although it was very challenging and scary to do so, I realised that people are more aware of the food they consume and the impact it has on their health and environment.
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
I live in South Bay. I love the sea views and walking to the beach; and it’s also only a 20-minute commute to Central and 10 minutes away from my work in Wong Chuk Hang.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
We are blessed with beautiful nature and hiking trails in HK. I love hiking with my dog in the morning to allow me to enjoy nature and start my day on the right foot.
Like this? See more in our International Women’s Day series in our Living in Hong Kong section.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.