We go behind the scenes at the latest F&B openings to check out the highlights and challenges faced.
Singaporean actor Nat Ho wears many hats, from a regular on the hit series Tanglin to serving cheesey toasts from a bright yellow Say Chiizu kiosk. We sat down with the ambitious 33-year-old to learn more about his third venture into the F&B industry at the newly minted Say Chiizu cafe at Bugis+.
Say Chiizu is your third entry into the f&b industry. How did it all happen?
The people behind Wild Market, the food hall along Beach Road where Love Bento is located, approached me. It started with Bobii Frutii, but one thing led to another and here we are – at Say Chiizu’s Café. My team and I take charge of the operations here, but we still consult Khun Jae and Khun Aor (the founders in Bangkok).
What goes into making this stretchy cheese?
All we can say is that the cheese blend is made from Hokkaido milk, and the recipe originated from Japan. Which is why its décor takes inspiration from cutesy Japanese mascots. In fact, we have our very own – a sunny bear. You’ll see him welcoming diners at the storefront.
why the foray into the f&b business? Easy; I am a foodie. Love Bento was born out of my need for delicious yet nutritious meals but we all have our indulgences. Both Bobii Frutii and Say Chiizu are comfort foods we crave. Also, I want to bring the fun back into an otherwise simple meal.
How is it like juggling your budding f&b career with acting commitments?
One word: tough. Not only is Tanglin on-going, I took over Love Bento’s operations. I think I aged 10 years (laughs). My biggest takeaway would be the importance of having a good team. Being able to open so many stalls while running three concepts concurrently is a testament to everyone’s efforts.
With three concepts and numerous stalls, what was your biggest challenge?
Life often throws you a curve ball. There will always be hiccups along the way in business and on stage. Be it suppliers coming late or me falling off the stage midway into a song, I’ve got to tackle the issue immediately. Just as the audiences want a good show, diners want to be served a delicious meal, fast. The biggest challenge is to make sure the show goes on, no matter what. We should listen and make our customer’s experience with us a better one.
How do you feel about the f&b scene in singapore today?
Singaporeans are avid and fickle foodies, especially when Instagram floods us constantly with picture-perfect dishes. But the constantly changing landscape provides ample opportunities for novel concepts – I look at the glass half full. While bubble tea and cheese toasts aren’t new, the eye-catching layered drinks at Bobii Frutii and the extremely long cheese and fries are special to the Singapore market. That said, at Say Chiizu, we will be expanding the menu, perhaps adding some local flavours into the mix.