They Put Singapore On The World Map Despite Pandemic
STORY: Ng Kai
15 January 2021
Remember Ella? No, not the "ella, ella, eh, eh, eh" of Rihanna's hit single many moons ago. We're talking about the robotic barista that can whip up 200 cups of coffee in an hour.
Recently, news broke that this efficient brainchild of local start-up Crown Technologies headed by CEO Keith Tan has secured investments to be deployed at selected JR East train stations in time for the Olympics in Japan. Wah. Seh.
Other than Ella and Keith who have put our Little Red Dot on the world map, a couple of other Singaporeans have made global headlines for their outstanding achievements in the past year: one heads a world-renowned restaurant, and another has built an architectural marvel on top of an extinct volcano.
Read on and be very inspired.
• Who dat? Keith is the 41-year-old CEO of Crown Group and former wealth manager turned entrepreneur, and the brains behind Singapore’s first fully autonomous robotic barista. More impressively, he has plans for Ella to even be mixing bubble tea or whipping up delicious plates of char kway teow.
• He currently resides in: Singapore
• He da man: From humble beginnings as a local start-up, Crown Group has secured an investment from a subsidiary of East Japan Railway Company, which will boost the deployment of its robot baristas at selected JR East train stations in Japan - just in time for the Tokyo Olympics slated for July 2021. Woo hoo!
Who dat? The passionate 32-year-old became the head chef of four-time No. 1 World’s Best Restaurant, Noma, in Denmark in July last year. Interestingly, he finished National Service (NS) in Singapore as an officer and shares that it taught him a lot about contingencies and planning for them; this valuable skill aided him throughout his culinary journey.
He currently resides in: Denmark, Copenhagen
He da man: Foong’s career began in 2010 at Restaurant Andre; he trained at New York’s Culinary Institute of America and worked at another No. 1 World’s Best restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, as well as Michelin-starred Betony.
Who dat? The 29-year-old is a freelance writer and photographer, who designed a sustainably-built house he dubbed Casa Etérea, despite having no background in design or architecture. Captivatingly, the building is a mirror-encased structure that blends in with the surroundings without having the potential to hurt flying birds thanks to a special ultraviolet coating on the glass that’s visible to birds.
He currently resides in: Mexico City, Mexico
He da man: Despite having no background in architecture or design, Prashant conceptualised and managed the entire construction of Casa Etérea on his own. Already, the dwelling has been featured on the cover of "Architectural Digest Mexico", and in publications such as the "New York Times", "Forbes", and "Architectural Digest".