Have you ever thought of starting your own home-based food business? Or maybe even set up your own hawker stall or restaurant? If you secretly say yes, you MUST listen to this episode twice.
My guest today was one of the top five finalists in the MasterChef series here in Singapore. Last year during the COVID pandemic, launched his very first hawker stall selling mee hoon kuay and it became a hawker sensation. Long queues, food sells out by 1-2pm, and raving reviews from top local food bloggers.
As of this interview, he has already opened four stalls (with two more on the way), so there’s a lot we can learn from him on how we market our food brand.
Also, listen out for Aaron's answers to the following questions:
- If you were to describe yourself as a dish, what would you choose? - 1:46
- What was the very first dish you remember cooking? - 2:33
- You joined Season 1 of MasterChef. How did it happen? Did you always know you’d join MasterChef one day? - 4:50
- What was the interview process like? - 7:59
- When you got selected what was your first emotion? - 10:27
- How do you mentally prepare for the show? - 13:20
- You must have a certain talent to appear on MasterChef and become a finalist. Is it because you have a lot of experience with cooking or flair? - 13:57
- What were the memorable moments for you on the show? - 15:59
- How did you feel when you were eliminated? - 17:45
MasterChef was in 2018 and you started your first hawker stall in 2020. What did you do in the gap between? - 20:35
- Why mee hoon kuay? - 25:07
- Tell us about your hawker stall Jiak Song. When can we find them? - 28:24
- You are a hawker sensation. Long queues, top food bloggers, selling out early. What’s your secret sauce? - 31:11
- Are there any other factors that are important when it comes to marketing your food brand? - 33:56
- What’s the thought process behind the store décor, the utensils, and the visuals? - 36:21
- Do you think food brands need to think about the emotions that they want to generate when people eat their food? - 38:24
- What’s happening in the Hawker scene now? - 40:52
- How does it benefit the Hawker when things become more systematic? - 45:00
- What are some of the frustrations of the local food scene? - 51:38
- Have you passions of underwater photography and diving played a part in your culinary success? - 1:11:46
- How about your passion for sharks. You’re a pioneer and ambassador for an anti-shark finning campaign with people like Jackie Chan and Maggie Q. Tell us about it - 1:15:10
- Tell us about your two books - 1:24:02
- Everything you touch seems to grow. Your photography, featured in BBC. Your shark campaign grew to a global phenomenon, then you cooking got you into MasterChef and now you have 6 stores. Is there one thing that you have that allows you to have that midas touch? - 1:27:12
If you want to keep in touch with Aaron, you can reach him on Instagram at @aaronwong.sg. You can also reach Aaron's hawker stall Jiak Song (and on Instagram @jiak_song.
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