Who: Mr Adrian Chong, 35, founding father of home-grown, cage-free egg producer The Freedom Range Co, which retails its eggs at chosen Cold Storage and FairPrice supermarkets, in addition to on on-line grocery platform RedMart.
Restaurants that use The Freedom Range Co eggs embrace bistro chain The Providore, two-Michelinstarred restaurant Odette, the Prive group of eating places that features Bayswater Kitchen, and eating places beneath The Lo & Behold Group, which embrace OverEasy.
Mr Chong’s spouse Nikki Phua, 32, helps with the advertising and marketing and administrative facets of the business. The couple have no youngsters.
You don’t have a background in agriculture. In reality, you studied economics on the University of Exeter. How did the thought for a cage-free egg company come about?
The global monetary disaster hit in 2008 after I was working within the shipbroking trade.
And it was round that point that I additionally began questioning if there was a option to get cheaper cage-free eggs in Singapore with a decrease carbon footprint. Cage-free eggs had been costly then due to air freight fees. I needed to see how I may present higher worth for customers.
When did you begin The Freedom Range Co and what did it entail?
I based the company in 2010, however it took me a few yr to get it up and working.
WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL BE?
An omakase sushi feast at Sushi Saito in Tokyo with my spouse.
I have by no means eaten there as a result of it’s nearly unattainable to get a reservation, however I have heard superb issues and I’m certain it won’t disappoint.
I used to be new to the farming trade so I needed to do lots of analysis on the egg business. I needed to perceive extra concerning the circumstances for the hens, the kind of feed and discover the suitable business companions.
When I began, I labored with an egg farmer in Lim Chu Kang to supply cage-free eggs with four,000 hens. In the primary yr, we produced 100,000 eggs. In comparability, Singapore’s largest egg farms produce about a million eggs a day.
Why do you consider in cage-free eggs?
I feel it’s a higher lifestyle for the chickens. The hens have more room to maneuver round, socialise and exhibit pure behaviours that they’d not essentially be capable to do in a cage setting.
As a consequence, the yolks are richer and tastier, partly because of the circumstances during which the chickens dwell, in addition to the feed we give them, which is excessive in plant extracts.
What is manufacturing like today and what are your plans moving ahead?
Response has been good. We opened a farm in Johor in 2015 and now have 10,000 hens. We hope to double that quantity by the tip of this yr, which might take output to about six million eggs a yr.
We additionally plan to retail our eggs in Hong Kong.
Do you prepare dinner a lot?
My spouse and I prepare dinner two to 3 instances every week. Dishes embrace roast lamb and greens reminiscent of roast beetroot and pumpkin.
Last yr, we braised a goose for a Christmas social gathering. It was served alongside prunes full of liver, braised beef quick rib with a crimson wine jus, brussels sprouts with Chinese liver sausage and African kale with turmeric and cumin.
What is the primary dish you bear in mind cooking?
I have a voracious urge for food, which has been the case since I used to be a boy. So my mom instructed me I had higher be taught to prepare dinner for myself.
When I used to be rising up, I loved pounding issues with a mortar and pestle.
I used to be about 4 or 5 years outdated after I pounded garlic, which I then blended into butter to make garlic bread.
Have you had any kitchen boo-boos?
I deliberate a Thai feast for my then girlfriend, now spouse, as a part of a date-night shock.
I made a decision to make a transparent, spicy clam soup, a spicy yellow curry with prawns and pineapple and Cambodian beef with kampot pepper. And I needed to make every thing from scratch.
Nikki received home and was hardly impressed as a result of I had tousled the entire kitchen.
It was 11pm by the point we completed arguing, cleansing and cooking and sat right down to dinner. But as she took her first style of the curry, she teared out of pleasure. That made all the hassle worthwhile.
What components are all the time in your fridge?
Freedom Range eggs, completely different sorts of chilli sauces and sambal made by mates and artisanal salt.
What are a few of your favorite cookbooks?
Julia Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking and Thai Food by Australian chef David Thompson – which is my Thai meals bible.
I take pleasure in cooking Thai meals. It is about discovering the proper steadiness between the candy, salty, bitter and spicy that makes the dish come alive.
I additionally use on-line recipes.
Recently, we re-created a braised pork dish primarily based on New York chef Masaharu Morimoto’s recipe.
Where are your favorite haunts for native meals?
I really like Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette in Toa Payoh Lorong 7 for its crisp omelette. I additionally just like the laksa at Sungei Road Laksa in Jalan Berseh for its consistency and steadiness of flavours. I additionally go to Happy Crab in Geylang for its pepper glazed chilly crab.
What is your biggest meals indulgence?
In 2016, my spouse and I satisfied a buddy to host a caviar and uni social gathering at his home, the place eight of us polished off 20 chilly smoked lobsters with pasta, two tins of caviar, one field of uni, a number of steaks and 13 bottles of wine. We spent about $1,000, excluding the wine.
• Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan