The Young Founders Behind Two Healthy Food Joints in the East
Singapore may be a small country, but there’s no lack of food options. It almost seems like there’s an endless stream of restaurants, cafés and health food stores popping up on every street corner!
Together with Isabel, Anna and Zhiwei (Bryan) are the co-founders of two healthy food options along Katong. “Harvest” sells fresh grain bowls using the sous vide method of cooking; “An Acai Affair” sells delicious acai fruit and nut bowls. They are all in their early 20s and still studying, and I find it inspiring to see young people take a positive lead in their health and life. Let’s find out more about about the founders and their healthy ventures in this interview!
P.s. Don’t forget to get your discount code at the end of this post. Treat yourself to a delicious AND healthy acai fruit and nut bowl!
Anna & Zhiwei: Co-Founders of “Harvest” & “An Acai Affair”
Anna & Isabel: Co-Founders of “Harvest” & “An Acai Affair”
- So, how did this all come to be? First An Acai Affair, and then Harvest? In such a short span of time to boot!
Having grown up in the East for all our lives, we frequently visited the Katong area and have always felt that it lacked healthy food options. The best options we had at the Katong and Parkway areas were Subway, Cedele and Maki-san for a long time, and when we wanted a salad, none of these options had any decent offerings (in our own opinion).
An Acai Affair was inspired by Anna and Isabel’s mutual love for acai, and Anna’s drive of always wanting to start her own business from young. Harvest came as a natural thing after An Acai Affair, as we developed more courage to venture into something bigger.
- Did you receive aid from anyone else, or was it just the two of you?
An Acai Affair was funded 25% by Anna, 25% by Zhiwei, and 50% by our partner, Isabel. For Harvest, we had an external investor as well 🙂
- What are your thoughts of the F&B and health food scene in Singapore?
The F&B scene is, as they say, extremely competitive. In less than a year since An Acai Affair started, the number of competitors in the same area has risen dramatically. We not only have to compete in terms of food taste, but also on things like customer service, constantly coming up with new variations, etc.
- How do you juggle your studies and your multiple businesses?
Time management is extremely important, and dividing the work equally amongst ourselves to ease the workload.
- What is the most rewarding or fun aspect to the business?
When you see returning customers who have been craving for our food the entire day come to the store, and their excitement spreads to everyone around them 🙂
- Why did you choose the sous vide method of cooking at Harvest in particular?
It was a cooking method that we discovered before testing out recipes for Harvest. We found that the sous-vide method results in meats that are more tender and moist.
- Any future plans for…further expansion? 😉
Yes, definitely! Hopefully internationally, but we still have a long way to go!
- What kind of crowd are you catering for?
Acai is a food that, after trying, many are in disbelief that something so good for you can also be so delicious. Hence, it caters to crowds of all kinds, and is especially popular amongst the youth as well as the health conscious.
As for Harvest, the crowd that we aim to cater to are those that are more health conscious.
- What are the most popular orders?
The acai fruit and nut bowl, at An Acai Affair.
Harvest has a DIY concept that allow individuals to mix and match whatever they want, but our most popular protein is chicken!
- Is your food paleo/gluten free/allergy free or any other diet friendly?
Our acai is gluten-free, dairy-free and organic. It is also vegan, if the granola is swapped out! We do offer vegan granola as an alternative to the non-vegan granola at an additional dollar 🙂
- What kind of music do you play in you shops?
We have a playlist that we created called “An Acai Affair” on Spotify 🙂
- Do you get a lot of orders on delivery services like Deliveroo, and do you think services like these help much?
Yes, definitely. Singaporeans, being as time starved as we are now, frequently utilise platforms that fulfil their needs and wants at their own convenience. Out of all the delivery platforms that we are on, Deliveroo by far is the best performing one.
- Biggest achievement to date?
Getting to say that we started our own business at the age of 20 🙂
- There are quite a number of places in Singapore that sells acai bowls. What do you think is your biggest difference?
Unlike many of our competitors, our acai is not diluted with artificial liquids like apple juice. While this means our costs are definitely higher than other competitors who do dilute their acai, we do pride ourselves strongly in serving our consumers the best quality acai there is.
Harvest uses the sous vide method to cook their meats to perfection.
Pick your own mix of healthy meats and vegetables at Harvest!
Delicious grain and protein bowl at Harvest!
PERSONAL OPINIONS & PHILOSOPHIES
- Is this the kind of food you eat on a daily basis, too?
We do try to keep to a healthy diet as much as possible, but we do of course have cheat meals too, especially when we are out with our friends. Even so, we do always go for the healthier choice and try our best to not consume any foods that are deep-fried! Currently, we are on a high protein diet where we consume either salmon or chicken breast for lunch/dinner, with two cheat meals every week.
- What other kinds of foods do you enjoy?
Everything! Haha you know Zhi Wei is a huge eater!
- What else do you do in your spare time, if you have any left at all! 😉
Watch movies at home together!
- Working as a couple can be trying at times. How do you maintain your relationship in this instance?
Yes, it definitely can be. Despite that, we always listen to each another’s opinions and talk whatever issues we have through. Just like how we’ve gotten through everything together in the past eight years, we always just find a way to compromise and make things work, seeing as how our relationship is more important than whatever argument or disagreement we may be having.
- How do you maintain self-care and sanity in your everyday life?
- Any plans for a holiday or break soon? If so, where to?
We’ve constantly been travelling throughout the entire year (10 countries in 2017), so we do have regular breaks despite the hectic work-life. We hope to travel at least the same amount in 2018, and some places that we would like to visit include Morocco, Greece, and the U.S.
- What are your personal health and food philosophies?
We try to stay off processed and fried foods as much as possible. We rarely have fast food (maybe twice a year?), and have as much fruits as we can in a day.
- What are your favourite fruits (apart from acai!)?
I love ALL fruits. Fruits have always been in my diet ever since I was a child, so I try to eat at least a small portion of fruits everyday. Zhiwei’s favourite fruit is watermelon, but I always share my fruits with him at my place!
- Ever been to South America, where the acai berry is from? How was it like, if you have been there?
Nope, we haven’t been! Would love to visit one day though!
- Tips for eating healthy every day?
Meal prep! If you’re unable to do so (or just want to be lazy!), you can always buy protein from Harvest and heat the meat up for consumption over the next few days 🙂
- Apart from diet, exercise and sleep are also important for a healthy lifestyle. How do you fare in the other two areas? Are you even able to get enough sleep with all your businesses? 😉
We try to get eight hours of sleep every night, so that we remain productive throughout the day. We’re currently trying to adjust our body clock to sleep and wake earlier, so that we have more hours in a day, given the ever increasing workload that we face.
- What’s your favourite quote that represents your outlook on life?
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” – Lewis Carroll.
- Where do you envision your business in 20 years?
Owning multiple food and beverage businesses 🙂
- Where do you envision yourselves as people in 20 years?
Well, we definitely envision ourselves married, having created a happy family and living a life of bliss and happiness together!
*Note: This interview is meant for educational purposes, and is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding new treatment protocols.
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For More Insight:
- I’m not overweight, so why do I need to eat healthy foods? (article on theconversation.com): http://bit.ly/2JnGTfb
Use Promo Code ACHRONICVOICE to Get:
- 10% discount at “An Acai Affair”!