Imogen Kwok views food as more than a basic human necessity — she uses it as a visceral language to encourage comprehension through consumption. The intimate ritual of eating breaks down barriers, triggers emotional responses and imprints powerful memories.
By creating multi-sensory culinary experiences such as interactive workshops and edible installations, her work falls at the unique intersection of culture, design and cuisine.
Cucumber and Candied Kumquat Salad
I found this glorious cucumber at Union Square Market — I almost wanted to wear it as a necklace because it was so beautifully shaped. Cucumbers have a high water content so they like to absorb tangy flavours, especially vinegars. Off-setting this quick pickle with the sweetness of the candied kumquats is one of my favourite dishes right now as it is super refreshing and tastes complex while easy to execute.
2 large English cucumbers (or 4 medium Persian cucumbers), sliced into thin rounds
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, more to taste
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
Large handful of kumquats, thinly sliced and seeds removed
3 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked
1. Prepare the kumquats first so they have time to cool down before serving. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking well until the sugar dissolves completely.
2. Add the kumquat slices and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the kumquats have softened and become slightly sticky but aren’t falling apart.
3. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside until cool.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber slices, vinegar and salt then toss with your hands. Let sit for 15 minutes until the cucumber is lightly pickled. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
5. To assemble the salad, lay the kumquats flat on a plate and cover with another layer of the cucumbers. Use a fine grater or microplane to scatter the lime zest over the surface then garnish with the fresh mint leaves.
Roasted Whole Heirloom Tomatoes
These savoury roasted tomatoes are enhanced by just a few ingredients, most importantly the hibiscus-infused salt garnish. I discovered it recently at one of my favourite spice stores in New York City, Kalustyan’s, and have been sneaking it in to so many dishes. It not only has this lovely pink hue but also a floral almost zingy taste. It really creates a special brightness in a simple dish.
8 heirloom tomatoes, various colours and sizes
3 sprigs of fresh oregano
4 wide strips of lemon peel (avoiding the white pith)
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil
Hibiscus salt, to taste
Thick slices of toasted, crusty bread to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Arrange your tomatoes, oregano and strips of lemon peel on a sheet tray and season with salt and cover liberally with the extra virgin olive oil.
2. Slide tray into the preheated oven (middle rack) and roast for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes are just bursting and starting to blister.
3. Remove from the oven and season with the hibiscus salt before serving. These can be enjoyed on top of bread and a pat of butter or even better, with a mild ricotta cheese.