Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fresh Garden at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital #01-18 S(329563) - The Founders Part II

Fresh Garden is the result of the Co-Founders' invention & branding. Fresh Garden salad recipes are developed from scratch before the launch & opening of the cafe, much research & development had gone into getting the key ingredients & flavors right for each salad.

Background of Co-Founders 
Henry Kiong, 36, & his wife Filisa Ngoh, 34, both come from the banking & financial services industry. Henry Kiong hails from the banking industry having worked in major banks, HSBC for 4 years, Standard Chartered 3 years & others. After working in the banking industry for 10 to 12 years, where he busy dealing with housing loans, Henry Kiong decided to venture out of his comfort zone to try something new, like setting up a cafe with a healthy theme.

Filisa Ngoh is very much into corporate banking, & currently works at Real Bank of Scotland, a job she had held since her graduation.

Coming from a financial background does comes in handy when the couple decided to set up Fresh Garden. Their financial acumen helps in terms of negotiating better terms in their rental contract with the landlord, & also gets them better pricing from their vendors & suppliers. Just like what Henry Kiong pointed out - F&B business is a cut throat business, everything is all about dollars & cents. Henry Kiong &  Filisa Ngoh lease this unit at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital for 2 years. The current floor spans 700 square feet. 

Fresh Garden is strategically located with a lot of offices housing PMEBs, Doctors, Specialists who have their businesses in the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital precinct. The landlord's particular choice & selection to partner only with tenants who are able to provide healthy food & promote healthy lifestyle is an added bonus & great match for Fresh Garden, with its emphasis on healthy fresh ingredients. In addition to this the potential customers - the Doctors who practice medicine here & their supporting staff, the nurses are living examples of health-conscious individuals wanting to set good examples to their patients.  

Henry Kiong has zero background & training in the F&B Business and confesses he is no chef. Armed with a positive attitude Henry Kiong has learnt how to carve, cut, slice, cook on the job when he first started Fresh Garden as its full time operator. 

Henry Kiong & Filisa Ngoh are the two Co-Founders of Fresh Garden, with two other non active sleeping partners. Fresh Garden is the only brand they handle for the time being. The husband & wife team is considering to expand into other private hospital medical centres, & had already touch base with Raffles Hospital with the intent to set up a second cafe using the same brand. They are not in any hurry to trademark the brand Fresh Garden though. 

Expansion Plans
Currently there is only one Fresh Garden outlet in Singapore. Much as the husband & wife team wish to grow the brand, their immediate priority is to settle down with their flagship outlet at Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital first by getting things right, & waiting for their business here to become profitable. 

Filisa Ngoh is Hokkien & is open to embrace different flavors whilst Henry Kiong is Hakka & therefore his taste-buds are more inclined towards the more salty flavors. These difference in taste preferences does affect how they present their food.

Menu Planning 
Currently Filisa Ngoh handles Menu Planning at Fresh Garden & is the brain behind the Fresh Garden Menu 2014 & 2015. Filisa Ngoh first came up with the idea of offering a wide variety of dressings for the salad they produce here at Fresh Garden, she is also the brain behind the recipe of the salads. The execution of the recipe is done by Henry Kiong, who helms the operations here at Fresh Garden at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. Henry Kiong gets some respite from the part time staff who helps him man the cafe. 

Menu Expansion 
Menu expansion happens every two months, where the Menu is refreshed to include new items, so that regular customers can anticipate new offerings, ideal for the nurses & doctors who hardly have time to venture out of the perimeters of the hospital in lieu of the short lunch period. 

To date, the Menu comprises of 5 to 6 of the Chef's Design Salads. Customers can also create their own salad using the various ingredients & dressings. 
The Balsamic Vinegarette pairs well with the honey lime chicken.  
For customers with a sweet tooth, they can opt for the honey djion dressing. 
For those who prefer a more salty go for Caesar dressing. 

For Thai Flavor lovers, they can go for the Thai dressing which is made from scratch using secret recipe which only Co-Founders Henry Kiong & Filisa Ngoh knows.

Soup of the Day - Fresh Garden offers only one flavor & type of Soup of the Day served daily:  
  • Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup, 
  • Pumpkin Soup,
  • Minestrone Soup,

  • Savoury Cream of Tomato Soup,
  • Cream of Broccoli 

Fresh Garden offers wraps that are 12 inch length, presents as a more filling meal. The wraps are usually served warm as they are pressed warmed. He gets the frozen wraps from supplier Gan Teck Kar Investments, so need to be warmed up before use.

Fresh Garden offers Sliders in 3 flavors :-
  • Egg & Mayonnaise Slider
  • Tuna & Cheese Slider

  • Ham & Egg Slider

Fresh Garden also offer wholemeal toastie, ham & cheese toastie.

Currently do not serve waffles, pancakes. 
Fresh Garden used to have strawberry peanut butter jam toastee - but removed it from the menu as it is not so popular among customers. 

In the pipeline - Fresh Garden has plans to launch pandan cakes. Just newly launched at Fresh Garden are the Chicken Pie, Tuna Puff, Curry Puff made from scratch (below).

In Dessert Category - Henry Kiong shared he uses greek yogurt from Farmer's Union  to make the parfait that is served here at Fresh Garden. He grinds the biscuit to form the base layer, then adds the greek yogurt, then layer it with different fruits & followed by granolas. 
Fresh Garden Cafe is located at : 
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital #01-18
38 Irrawaddy Road, S(329563)
Tel : 94504579 
Tel : 66942275
Email : henrykiong@yahoo.com.sg
Nearest MRT : Novena 
Opening hours :
Mondays to Fridays  8 am to 7 pm 
Saturdays - 8.30 am to 1.30 pm
Sundays & Public Holidays (Closed) 

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