Bjorn Shen: Singapore’s Most Rebellious Chef

“Chefs need arrogance, business that wants to build a brand needs arrogance”
– Bjorn Shen

Bjorn Shen (IG: @bjornshen) is the chef-owner of Artichoke, Bird Bird and an ice-cream brand, Neh Neh Pop – their Instagram feed make my stomach growl.

Bjorn Shen is also the author of the Artichoke cookbook and writes a monthly column titled “Bjorn says” for Time Out Magazine.

On the side, he also is a lecturer at Culinary Institute of America.

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • Story of Bjorn getting robbed while working in a 7/11 store
  • Advice on structuring rental agreement
  • How Bjorn lost $230,000 in 3 months with OverDough
  • Why does Bjorn insist taking his staff on oversea trips and lots more

If you’ve only got 4 minutes, here’s a short video on (How Did Bjorn Shen losing 230K in 3 months?)

This is an interview I will hold close to my heart. Hope you enjoy it!

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How to Live Thoughtfully with Passion, Kuik Shiao-Yin

“Who cares if I get you the ‘A’… and then you come out and have a fake idea of the world.” – Kuik Shiao-Yin

Kuik Shiao-Yin is the co-founder and creative director of The Thought CollectiveIt is comprised of various companiesSchool of Thought, which offers tuition for General Paper and Language Arts; Food for Thought, a socially ethical restaurant chain and Think Tank, a branding and content curation agency.

She is also a two-term Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).

All at the same time! Where does she find an extra 6 hours in her day?

School of Thought is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary and is opening up limited slots for the general public to attend it’s school lectures. They are also offering free trial classes for students so parents can take advantage of that offer. Apply here.

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • Caveats to the advice on “following your passion”
  • A good teacher vs a great teacher
  • Experiences as a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP)
  • and much more…

If you’ve only got 2 minutes, here’s a short video on (Drugs, No! Prostitutes, No! Pirated Goods, Yes!)

I hope you enjoy this conversation with Shiao-Yin as much as I did recording it.

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The Sh*t that Put Him on the United Nation Map, Jack Sim

Jack Sim is the founder of the World Toilet Organization (WTO), Base of Pyramid Hub (BoP Hub), World Toilet College (WTC) and the Restroom Association of Singapore.

At the age of 40, he attained financial independence after creating a series of 16 successful businesses. Thereafter, he decided to retire and devote his life to social work.

Jack has been named the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur and is an Ashoka Global fellow. Jack also sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils (GAC) for Water Security and the GAC for Social Entrepreneurship.

Time Magazine named him Hero of the Environment in 2008.

WTO declared November 19 as World Toilet Day which is now been recognised as UN World Toilet Day.

In 2013, at the age of 56, he graduated with Master’s in Public Administration at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. At 59, he graduated from a Silicon Valley think-tank – Singularity University. He is now Adjunct Associate Professor at National University of Singapore and Social-Entrepreneur-in-Residence INSEAD.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Using the power of leverage in the world of social enterprise
  • The pitfall of having a “definition”
  • What Jack learned in Singularity University
  • And much, much more

Please enjoy this episode with Jack Sim!

If you’ve only got 3 minutes, here’s a short video on (The Real Currency that You’re Spending is not Money)

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Meet the Bestselling Author of The Teenage Textbook, Adrian Tan

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“You can’t see good writing, you can only see what’s behind it.” – Adrian Tan

Adrian Tan is the author of The Teenage Textbook and The Teenage Workbook which were both national bestsellers. The two books sold over 50,000 copies. The books were made into a film – The Teenage Textbook Movie, which topped the box office in Singapore for four weeks. In 2015, The Teenage Textbook was selected by The Business Times as one of the Top 10 English Singapore books from 1965–2015.

Adrian is currently a lawyer with Morgan Lewis in Singapore and specialises in intellectual property and information technology law. On his off-duty days, Adrian also judges on the International Emmy Award-nominated debate TV show – The Arena.

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • Argument vs. persuasion, and how he has used the latter in his law practice
  • The writing process for The Teenage Textbook
  • Why he chose law as his career and much much more

It was a really fun and wide-ranging conversation. Adrian is such an insightful and a hilarious guy.

If you’ve only got 2 minutes, here’s a short video on (How Did Donald Trump Get Away with Half-Truths?)

Enjoy!

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The Godfather of Singapore’s Boutique Hospitality, Loh Lik Peng

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Loh Lik Peng is the owner and director of Unlisted Collection. His career began as a litigator during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. He mainly dealt with company bankruptcy. His transition to hospitality occurred in 2000 when he bought a property, now known as Hotel 1929, on a bargain and treated it as a passion project.

Today, he owns several boutique hotels and restaurants in Singapore, London, Shanghai and Sydney. Some of these include (but not limited to) New Majestic Hotel, Wanderlust Hotel,  Burnt Ends and Pollen. He also chairs the Shatec Institute and Singapore Hotel Association and holds directorships at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum.

We dived into topics including:
– The economics of the hospitality business
– Why Loh Lik Peng only opens restaurants with a co-chef owner
– Hiring practices in the competitive hospitality industry
– Old barbers’ chairs and lots more

If you’ve only got 2 minutes, here’s a short video on (Being a Good Chef is Not Enough to Get You That Dream Restaurant)

Enjoy!

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