Ben Yeo's Chee Cheong Fun, Irene Ang's Thai Food: Celebs Launch New F&B Ventures Despite COVID-19
They remained undeteterred despite the downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected many businesses in Singapore, be they food-related or retail. But it seems despite the downturn, at least one group of entrepreneurs have remained undeteterred — local celebrities.
These well-known personalities have launched their new F&B ventures both online and off in the last two months. According to former actress Cassandra See and Fly Entertainment boss Irene Ang at least, times of crises are when they see new opportunities arise.
Celebs Launch New F&B Ventures
Ben Yeo’s chee cheong fun
Ben Yeo’s online chee cheong fun business (Singapore Chee Cheong Fun or SGCCF for short) saw its steamed rice rolls sell out within minutes of its soft launch last month.
The Shatec-trained host is not new to the culinary scene, and had a hand in running F&B ventures such as Hawkerman and fried chicken chain Tenderfresh. He sold his share of his businesses last year.
According to an interview with 8Days, his latest foodie adventure came serendipitously, after he was gifted some rice rolls and sauces by a third generation member of family-run heritage brand Kwong Woh Hing.
After experimenting with the sauces and eating “around 100 rolls” of chee cheong fun in the name of R&D, SGCCF was born. The brand is a partnership between Ben and Kwong Woh Hing.
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Introducing our perfect blend of condiments. 🤤 . 2. Peanut Sauce After rounds of selections, we decided to work with Li Kwong. Li Kwong Agencies Co. was founded by Mr. Koh Eng Chuay back in 1974. It started off as a small business at the Koh family’s residential home. At that time, Li Kwong specialized in hand-making traditional peanut candies. The main ingredient for the traditional delicacies is peanut that was roasted and grinded into crusty bits. The innovative Mr. Koh developed his own roasting and grinding machine by using the wheels and chains of a bicycle. Good product quality and service are the selling points for the blooming business from home. . . . 📷 @uniquelymadebyhim 🎥 @oui.zhongsu . . . #snacks #singaporefood #artisanfood #handmade #cheecheongfun #sgcheecheongfun #singaporecheecheongfun #yummy #sglifestyle #breakfastideas #artfood #sgfoodie #sghomecookedfood #sggiftideas #benyeo #kwh #sauce #oldschool #breakfast
The rolls come in neatly packaged kits ($28 each) containing 10 handmade rolls and sauces.
The successful soft launch in August saw the first sale of 50 kits sold out in 15 minutes and the second in eight. SGCCF will make its official debut on Sept 23 on its website here.
Jeanette Aw’s brownies (& future bakes)
Like Ben, actress and Le Cordon Bleu-trained patissier Jeanette Aw also took her baking business online, albeit rather informally. A link posted on her IG for people to purchase her What The Fudge brownies gathered 1,000 orders in an hour.
So popular were her bakes that she bore the brunt of online criticisms that her brownies were taking away business from other home bakers.
Those who are wanting to try the fudgy brownies however, may not have the chance to after slots were “maxed out”.
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This was the other week when I was baking #WhatTheFudge and I barely cleared 20% of the waiting list. Many of you are still asking if I’m going to take more orders, well.. no. I will clear the entire list first and I do think this will also be my final batch of WTF brownies before I move on to other bakes. This is also why we created a wait-list and left the link on for a longer time so those who have been following me and really want it will get a chance. I’m not sure if many will read this caption, because from the questions and DMs we get, I guess we really aren’t a reading society 🤓 But for those of you who do, thank you! Thank you for your patience and love ❤️
The actress wrote in an IG post on Sept 5: “I do think this will also be my final batch of WTF brownies before I move on to other bakes.”
Chen Shucheng’s bubble tea
After closing his Teochew restaurant during Singapore’s circuit breaker, veteran actor Chen Shucheng wasted no time before setting up another online business — a bubble tea shop in Toa Payoh.
Meme Xpress is a franchise of a Malaysian bubble tea brand that also has branches in Thailand.
And ‘cos good deals must share, the store will be offering free bubble tea on Sept 20 as part of the opening promotions.
Meme Xpress is located at Blk 190 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 #01-576, Singapore 310190
Cassandra See’s Korean hawker food stall
Former actress Cassandra See has started yet another Korean food stall, this time in a kopitiam, after leaving her previous business venture in Ang Mo Kio.
She’d started the now-defunct eatery Star Army Stew in 2018 with business partners that included another former actress, Tang Miaoling.
But she pulled out in 2019 due to differing opinions on how the business should operate, Cassandra told 8 Days.
The 50-year-old was quick to add however, that the two actresses remain the best of pals. The eatery subsequently closed in April this year during the circuit breaker.
Just months later, Cassandra has opened a new Korean hawker stall, Hungry Korean, at a Geylang Bahru coffee shop with several other partners.
Tha stall serves “restaurant-quality food at wallet-friendly prices”, she says, due to her observation that hawker stalls continued to thrive during the Covid period.
Dishes she recommends include the Baby Back Short Rib Rice Bowl and Beef Bulgogi and Cheese burger.
Hungry Korean is at #01-3521, 57 Geylang Bahru, Singapore 330057. Open daily except Monday.
Irene Ang’s Thai eatery
Actress and serial entrepreneur Irene Ang has put her finger in yet another F&B pie. This time, it’s Thai eatery Soi Candy, which opened in August.
Located in Tanjong Pagar, Soi Candy is said to offer “traditional Northern Thai cuisine with a fun twist”.
Specialties include the Signature Soft Bone Pork Longan Stew (served with noodles or rice) and a fiery Crispy Chicken Skin.
On why she took the plunge despite the pandemic pummelling her two other F&B ventures (Fry Bistro and Bar Naked), she told 8 Days: “I am a firm believer that in crisis there are opportunities.”
Soi Candy is located at 20 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088443, open every day except Monday.
Image source: Instagram/Benyeo23, Instagram/Flyirene
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.