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by Divya Samtani
The Savvy Sapiens Podcast

The Resilient Restauranteur


Christian is the founder of Treehouse, a healthy plant-based restaurant in Hong Kong, as well as the previous founder of several other deliciously healthy restaurants in Hong Kong.Christian’s passion for bringing healthy but great-tasting fast food to people started at an early age when he started experimenting with nutrition to enhance his rowing career in university. He later decided to go to cooking school in France, and after a series of life-changing events ended up in Hong Kong, leading the wellness movement forward.  

On this episode we discuss everything from how he became such a successful entrepreneur chef, to the importance he attributes to cultivating resilience and self-love in his life. 


0:00 - 5:00: 

  • How Christian started operating healthy plant-based restaurants in Hong Kong 
  • His true passions as a kid in film-making and wanting to go into the secret service 
  • Being diagnosed with several learning disabilities including hyperactive, dyslexic, ADHD and how it affected his school life  
  • The difference in his experience at school in France vs. the US where he was finally able to choose his own classes and get involved in rowing and film-making 
  • Christian's experience at university studying cinema, getting a rowing scholarship, and what it was like that to balance that  
  • Why he decided to leave university and to pursue the culinary scene in France fulfill his dream of opening a restaurant 
  • How studying cinema and film-making at university actually helps his current work 

5:00 - 10:00:

  • The vision Christian had at the age of 16 to create a fast food restaurant that was actually healthy 
  • How his interest in healthy food came about, first in being able to use nutrition as a "secret weapon" to enhance his rowing performance, and later in helping his mother through cancer and studying the healing aspects of food  
  • His family's experience with the healthcare system and the lack of understanding around nutrition  
  • The impact of his parents’ death and how it empowered him to follow his mission 
  • Christian's subsequent “sponge” phase and arrival on the culinary scene in Hong Kong 

10:00 - 15:00:

  • Why resilience is the main thing employers want to hire people on  
  • The biggest lessons that Christian learned along the way, 1) time is the best healer 2) having the willingness to be open to your pain and 3) being kind to yourself and having a sense of self-love 
  • Christian’s definition of self-love as having balance, giving yourself time to learn, and not caring so much about other people’s opinions 
  • Christian’s own exploration of masculinity and being able to be vulnerable and open to his feelings 
  • The need for self-preservation and building defense mechanisms as a child, but why it's important to let them go and be ok with yourself as you grow older  
  • His parents’ conscious choice to help him find his passion as a child rather than adhering to the rigidity of the school system  

15:00 - 19:50

  • How he was able to try different things, make space for mistakes, and slowly become ok with failure  
  • His candid advice on doing drugs  
  • His advice to teenagers about not seeking external validation in your career, and instead working on your resilience, your adaptability, your gifts - essentially focusing on who you are 
  • Why adolescence is so hard and why it’s so important to be kind with yourself through the process of self-creation  
  • The impossibility (and futility) of comparing your life/success to others 
  • Where to find Christian (google Christian Mongendre, instagram, Treehouse)  <


Episode 1

Season 1

by Divya Samtani