Meet the Good Folk Part 2 –
Rise And Shine
Ever wondered about the people behind the delectable food choices at Tanjong Pagar Centre Basement? Meet The Good Folk introduces you to the stories of passion and hustle behind each brand.
Whether you’re looking for a caffeine buzz in the morning, a pick-me-up before work, or just a delicious breakfast to start your day, the good folk at Tanjong Pagar Centre Basement 1 have got you covered.
In part II of our editorial series, we get to know Dewi and CJ – the husband and wife team behind All Things Delicious – and Mr Adrian Khong, the CEO of Jewel Coffee.
Meet Dewi and CJ, owners of All Things Delicious.
Hi Dewi and CJ. Could you tell us a bit about yourselves?
I'm Dewi Imelda Wadhwa. I'm 39 years old.
And my name is Charanjeet Sameer Singh Wadhwa, but you can call me CJ for short. I'm 48 years old. With All Things Delicious, it's been four and half years that we've been in this industry.
What’s the origin story behind All Things Delicious?
All Things Delicious started out as an online bakery back in 2013.
Before this I was a stay-at-home-mum for close to five years, and I wanted to do something more. So we started out with a website and a Facebook page; I would work and bake from home, and CJ is a professional photographer so he helped to shoot the photographs.
How long did it take for All Things Delicious to transform into a brick and mortar business?
It took only six months. There was an opportunity to share space with fabric designers, which was good for us, because it meant half of the rental cost and made the opportunity less daunting. When our co-tenants moved out we converted into a dining space, and started selling food instead of just cakes and pastries.
How do you get inspiration for your dishes?
A lot of the food is inspired by our travels. When we were traveling in Morocco, we had Shaksouka, a North African stew made out of peppers and tomatoes. We had so many versions of it that we were inspired to try making it!
When we travelled to India, we were inspired by Lassi, a traditional Indian drink. It’s a bit like a light smoothie, but most versions you get these days tend to be overly sweet. We’re trying to take classic dishes and put our own twist on them, while still staying true to how they’re made.
What sets you guys apart from other restaurants and cafes?
We want to give people food that is wholesome, but still comfort food. We cook and bake only with butter or olive oil and organic sugar, and avoid using colouring or other artificial ingredients.
Since you guys are a husband and wife team, how is the division of the work done?
Dewi is the executive chef so she's the one who develops the recipes. I give my input whenever I can and sometimes some of my themes are incorporated. Day to day, I take care of the front of house operations and things like photography, finance and human resource.
Did you guys have any disagreements when you first started working together?
-Laughs- Oh always, there are always issues. There is chemistry [as a husband-and-wife team] but there are also fights sometimes. But I do think it is good to argue because it allows you to better understand your partner’s perspectives.
What is the most rewarding thing about being an F&B entrepreneur?
The most rewarding thing I must say is getting great feedback from customers. Sometimes we get tourists from certain regions where our food is inspired and they think that the food we produce is spot on.
It is also rewarding to know that the customers that have been following us from the start still patronize our cafe to this day.
Finally, do you have any food recommendations for our readers?
We open at 7am so we would recommend our breakfast menu. You can grab anything from scrambled eggs to avocado toast. For lunch, we would recommend our rice bowls and our chef-made sandwiches.
Lastly, our chicken tikka sandwich, which uses brie cheese and homemade coriander pesto.
Meet Mr Adrian Khong, CEO of Jewel Coffee
How long have you been in the F&B Industry?
I've been in the F&B industry since 2011. Before this I was working in a bank, but in late 2009-2010, I read about the concept of Third Wave Coffee.
Third Wave Coffee is essentially about providing customers with better coffee: We use only specialty grade coffee. Coffee is normally rated on a 100-point scale, and specialty grade is right at the top end at 80-100 points.
What distinguishes Jewel Coffee from other coffee franchises?
We use single origin beans instead of a blend. Most cafes offer coffee made from a blend of beans. With us, the consumer knows which area, country and farm the beans are from.
At any one time, we buy coffee from 7-8 countries. But we will always have our mainstays: beans from Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia. Once in a while, we have beans from El Salvador, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya and Nicaragua.
What are Jewel Coffee's brand vision and mission, and how does it apply to the day-to-day?
When we first started, having a single origin for espresso was something very different. What really drives us is to make good coffee accessible.
Up until now a lot of our coffee shops are very accessible, like the one here at Tanjong Pagar Centre. We want to make sure that we are at locations that give our customers convenient, easy access to great coffee.
How does Jewel distinguish itself from other brands?
Speaking as a consumer, I've always found coffee shops that do coffee in a semi-automatic fashion too slow.
When I started this business, I wanted to make sure that we can make a good coffee really, really fast. Our customers can be busy people, so we want to make sure that they can get their coffee fix quickly, but with a high level of warmth in our service.
All our shops look different, and suit the location they're in. In Tanjong Pagar Centre for example, we tried for an aesthetic that was both classy and functional.
What's it's like working with the Jewel Coffee team? Could you share some insights on your company culture?
One of the key reasons why people join us is that we provide excellent training to our staff, from making a good cup of coffee to running the shop. We really trust the people who work with us. For example, we have a member of our staff who's just 25 years old, and made the jump from project officer to operations manager. We're still a young company.
What’s the most rewarding part of having started Jewel Coffee?
Seeing how our staff has grown since Day 1, when we started. I always tell the staff that it's quite amazing how the business has grown to 13 shops, and that's due to our team effort. We have the ambition to have 100-200 shops all across the region.
And my final question for you: How do you normally take your coffee?
I used to have skinny ice mochas in 2011-2013, when I first started out. But that was just too many calories. -Laughs- Then it became a skinny cappuccino from 2013-15. Nowadays, it’s just a short black…six-ounce Americano. I need to cut down on sugar, but I still can’t say no to a good coffee.