5 Dreams of 5 FnB People
By Sheere Ng - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012
The F&B industry here is not short on ideas and innovation. Crazy and creatively wild ideas often get shot down or not get to see the light of day because they fumble with a poorly thought out business model and often too, a lack of committed financial support.
If only there are crowd-sourced funding sites, like the now fairly successful US-based company, Kickstarter, then perhaps, we can seed weird, wild and wonderful ideas to fruition. (See article: Let’s crowdfund Singapore’s food scene).
Imagine a situation where hundreds and even thousands of believers reaching into their pocket change to help fund ideas because they believe in them, and all they ask for in return is the beneficiaries to do their best.
Makansutra speaks to five F&B entrepreneurs about their dream projects and nightmarish reality of realising it.
Dream 1: Tea Perfume Ms Carrie Chen of Tea Bone
Ms Carrie Chen, a tea aficionado, hopes to capture the fragrance of tea and turn that into perfume. “Every tea has six to seven, or even more fragrant notes, depending whether it is single origin or blended,” she says. “And the fragrance will change according to the environment.” This, she adds, will be ideal for people who are allergic to alcohol, which normal perfume contains.
Ms Chen imagines this tea perfume to come in a capsule, so that one can carry it in the pocket. However, there is a technological barrier she needs to overcome, as according to her, tea aroma compound is too unstable to exist on its own.
Dream 2: A United Nation of Draft Beers Mr Daniel Goh of The Good Beer Company
“I want to own a place that has 150 to 200 taps of beers from all over the world,” says Mr Goh. “Like a UN (United Nations) of beer.” He promises that it will be an eye opener, and people will “come to realise that countries like Mauritius and Myanmar actually do produce beer”.
A place like this, he adds, will not only offer an educational tour on beers, but also on flavours. “It’s like going to a hawker centre and then you realise there are so many different types of food here,” he says.
Mr Goh got this idea after visiting Yard House, a chain restaurant in the United States that comes with up to 250 taps of beer.
Dream 3: Exquisite French Food for the Masses Mr Joshua Khoo of Saveur
Mr Joshua Khoo, who is already serving French food to the masses at his restaurant, Saveur, wants to expand the range of ingredients to include things like wagyu, caviar and monk fish. His brazen idea is to offer these refined fare at ridiculously low prices, like what they do at their current restaurant with the usual fare ($3.90 for a pasta and $8.90 for duck confit). But he confides, “It’s not workable. Firstly the costs of these ingredients are too high, then we need to hire people with the right knowledge to handle these food.”
But Mr Khoo and his partner Mr Dylan Ong are not giving up just yet, as their motto is to “serve fine dining food at a price that people can pay for”.
Dream 4: Coffee-scented Potpourri Ms Shanie Teoh of Maison Ikkoku
Ms Teoh, one of the owners of Maison Ikkoku, a café-cum-boutique-cum-cocktail bar, has been sitting on the idea of turning coffee ground into a potpourri. “We produce more than 10kg of coffee ground every day. What a waste to throw them away!” she exclaims.
However, it takes time, space, and money to figure out the processing and presentation. But if this idea can be materialised, she plans to give out the coffee-scented potpourri to her customers as a token of appreciation. “Or we could spin it into a social enterprise. Sell them and then donate the proceeds to a charity,” she says. We think it can help keep drivers awake while on the road!
Dream 5: A Well-Equipped Kitchen Studio dedicated for Competing Pastry Chefs Mr Pang Kok Keong of Antoinette
Chef Pang hopes to set up a kitchen studio, outfitted with equipment like oven, sugar lamp and even a chocolate room, so that pastry chefs can train for competitions there.
There is no such facility at this moment, Mr Pang explains, because “nobody would invest since it doesn’t make any profit”. What the pastry chefs would do is to practice in their own kitchens even though they will compete as a team.
“The World Pastry Cup happens every other year and the participating chefs would train throughout the gap period,” he says. “This means that the facility will not be left idle.” If this dream can be realised through crowd-sourced funding, Mr Pang says he will invite all his backers to the studio to catch the live action of the chefs practising. He may even sell the pastries, which are unique and specially created for the competition.