NEW MAKAN VIDEO SERIES! Getting Creative With Local Farmers' Surprise Supplies
STORY: Sim Ding En
01 October 2020
This video was filmed before the outbreak of COVID-19 locally.
When we shot this cooking series late last year, little did we know that what started out as simple culinary entertainment would, in the light of this COVID-19 pandemic, turn into a show that throws the spotlight on the exceeding importance of local farming.
As country by country across Southeast Asia started going into lockdown in the first and second quarter of 2020, demand for online grocery shopping skyrocketed. According to Richard Ruddy, the head of grocery at Lazada and the chief of Redmart (the e-commerce platform's e-grocery unit), local farmers and growers were the ones who picked up the slack in supply chains that were suddenly broken.
Running this series now, therefore, imbues our original intention (to simply bring you a fun makan programme) with a sense of gratitude and pride for our local farmers.
In this episode, what Shanice Lim from local barramundi (sea bass) fish farm Kühlbarra brings to the table prompts our talented host Gen Lee to rustle up something inspired by North Indian cuisine.
We also speak to the bubbly 22-year-old star of our show (who was the runner-up in MasterChef Singapore) about the joys of creating this video series, her new bomboloni business, and the challenges she's overcome during this pandemic.
What was it like working with fresh produce from Singapore farms?
The food nerd in me was so excited to receive all the produce knowing that they were fresh from Singapore's soil! It's rare to find these options in our supermarkets as most of the produce these days is imported, and. One thing's for sure: when using produce as fresh as this, you do not need to work it too much to make a delicious plate - the fruits, veggies and meat speaks for themselves!
Why is it so important to support local, especially our local farmers?
It is important because the supply of these local farms is already to limited. Limited by land and the competition from international brands . We can encourage them to grow and sustain their business by buying from their farms and utilising their produce.
What are some of the biggest culinary “surprises” you’ve encountered when cooking or experimenting int he kitchen?
I think the biggest surprises comes from making a mistake but actually creating something new altogether or discovering a new and better method of cooking. I think the best thing about cooking is that it’s a never-ending experiment. Every cook is never the same!
Congrats on your new bomboloni venture, Sourbombe Artisanal Bakery! How did you conceive the idea?
Thank you! It was actually conceived over the Circuit Breaker when I was baking sourdough bombolonis (Italian filled doughnuts) for groups of friends as care packages. One of them had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to start up this business with me, and 3 months down the road we got to where we are now.
Having a production kitchen at home is an interesting take on WFH (Work From Home)! Do you even have work-life balance when your production kitchen is in your own living room? How do you manage that?
Keeping your space spick and span is key as working in a cluttered space promotes a cluttered mind. Thus my family and I make it a point to always clean as we work and to always reset the living area for when we are chilling.
We read that you never liked doughnuts as a kid, but now you’re selling them! Whuuut...?
I think I didn’t like doughnuts when I was little because I didn’t like the greasy and bland taste of the ones that I had. But I've always liked a good challenge and wanted to create a product that I myself would like, thus I had the idea of using sourdough to make doughnuts instead of using the plain old method to make them, and mostly cuz I am obsessed with all things sourdough as it gives a depth of flavour and an addictive tang.
What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced, launching the business amid this COVID-19 pandemic?
The challenges were mostly adapting to delivery services as we could not sell in person. But in a way, it has helped us loads as we are mainly an online business.
What’s it been like juggling Sour Bombe and studying for your Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Business at the Culinary Institute of America’s Singapore campus?
All I can say is that it’s been a crazy two months running on lack of sleep and 7-day work weeks as I’ve been juggling the overwhelming sales for Sourbombe and my commitment to my internship for my degree. But through all the hard work and good times in both work and business, I’m very proud to say I’m graduating!