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By Shimron Singh | July 26th, 2023

A Little Background on Christian Mongendre

Hong Kong-born Christian Mongendre has been widely recognized as one of the key visionaries at the forefront of mindful eating, sustainability, and the plant-based movement. He has launched several celebrated F&B concepts including MANA! Fast Slow Food, MANA! RAW & MANA! Cafe, HOME – Eat To Live, and TREEHOUSE, each of which has created an ecosystem of environmental, cultural, and spiritual profit. The French-American national has a double degree from Paul Bocuse Institute in Culinary Arts and International Hotel & Restaurant Management and worked for Michelin three-star chef Alain Ducasse.

How did you come about the concept for TREEHOUSE?

“I started my career as a Division One rower and became an “accidental vegetarian” to gain a competitive edge and enhance my performance. I began experimenting with plant-based food and working with a nutritionist. This gave me a deep understanding that on a fundamental level, food is fuel. I realized that when I ate plant-based foods rather than what was considered to be ‘manly,’ my recovery rate was superior: if I bruised it, it healed much faster, I was able to workout longer, and had mental clarity. These were tangible effects that helped my strength, stamina, and endurance, allowing me to move my body more efficiently.

My desire to champion plant-based food was cemented after my mother passed from cancer. I took a strong interest in the medical system and noticed the limited role that nutrition played in healing. Many individuals suffer from the food they are eating without them realizing it. We can see this through the varying degrees of gut inflammation which translate into illnesses. This was a pivotal point where I nurtured a strong food philosophy.

Armed with these experiences, I made it my mission to share my knowledge of plant-based food, mindful eating, and a sustainable approach to living through fast-casual restaurant concepts. I wanted nutritious food to be as easily accessible as Mcdonalds’ so that people have a healthier alternative. TREEHOUSE is just that. Everything is quickly made-to-order and done so sustainably while using quality products.”

Christian Mongendre

What do you hope people take away from their experience with TREEHOUSE?

“What we consume is one of the most important decisions we make every day, and if someone has chosen TREEHOUSE, I hope that they feel the quality, good-for-you ingredients that have been packed into every dish. I hope that they truly feel healthier.

With TREEHOUSE, we have created an ecosystem of environmental, cultural, and spiritual profit. We do this in several ways: by bringing fresh, quality food to the masses and doing so with integrity; minimizing wherever we can, from packaging to food waste. This means using the entire vegetable including the root and peel with any leftovers turned into high-quality compost and replanted; sourcing compostable packaging made from rice starch as we are a takeaway business; creating an environment that is functional and sustainable from recyclable aluminum to renewable wood and upcycled appliances from prior tenants; and our ongoing CSR collaborations with The Eden Reforestation Project, among others.”

What is unique about the menu at TREEHOUSE, and what do you recommend for those that are typically non-vegetarian?

“We pride ourselves in offering a chef-driven menu that is completely unprocessed, serving only whole foods free from preservatives, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, food dyes, trans-fats, soy isolates, bleached flour, and more. Many of the dishes are inspired by my travels and appreciation for local flavors. Each dish has been created using high quality, locally-sourced produce and organic when possible, and considers textures, layered flavors, and excitement in a way that appeals to non-vegetarians.

I would recommend our newest menu item; the Spruce Pho Soup available at our Causeway Bay location. It is a vibrant medley of anise-clove broth, avocado, kelp noodles, bean sprouts, seasonal greens, red onion, coriander, Thai basil, lime, and chili. It is a well-balanced and hearty soup reminiscent of a traditional Pho broth. It can be upgraded to a complete meal combo with a lemonade beverage and sweet ginger dessert bite (HKD78). Another favorite is the Pine Sourdough flatbread with vegan labneh, available in all our locations.”

Christian Mongendre
Spruce Pho Soup

What are your plans for the future?

“Causeway Bay is our newest location, and it is a vibrant one that we are excited to expand into. We hope to bring a never-before-seen health-focused menu to the F&B scene in Causeway Bay. It’s ideally situated on Sharp Street East, as it felt to be the most accessible and convenient for our clientele for pick up and also well-connected for takeaway and delivery. In the future, we hope to continue in our effort to champion delicious and nutritious, plant-based meals by making the concept even more accessible with additional locations.”


Read more Hot Seat profiles here.