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5 local F&B brands rally to feed NCID staff

Labyrinth, Keng Eng Kee, Jam at Sirihouse, Pezzo Group and Sanity Coffee are providing food for the healthcare workers for 2 months

Diya Tan of Sanity Coffee (left) and Han Li Guang, chef-owner of Labyrinth. Chef Han heard of stories about how healthcare professionals were denied entry at F&B outlets and that spurred him to start this food project.


THE food & beverage sector has arguably taken one of the worst drubbings amid the Covid-19 outbreak. However, this has not stopped a group of people from stepping up to the plate.

Local brands Labyrinth, Keng Eng Kee (KEK), Jam at Siri House, Pezzo Group and Sanity Coffee are banding together during this period to bring some cheer to staff at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Via various channels such as public and internal donations from sales proceeds, and discounts, the five partners are committed to providing food to NCID for at least two months from March, and will look to extend beyond that if required.

Han Li Guang, chef-owner of Labyrinth, said that he heard of stories about how healthcare professionals were denied entry at F&B outlets and "I felt I had to do something as food should bring joy and bond people".

These stories spurred chef Han into action: he picked up the phone and called his friends from other brands to collaborate.

Tan Huang Ming of Jam at Siri House agreed to the plan and said: "Working in the F&B industry has provided us with much satisfaction and I hope that in our own small way we can contribute to the people that work hard on the frontlines."

Chef Han said he wanted to do his part although business was quite badly hit - Labyrinth sales are down 30 to 40 per cent.

"Business is bleeding money, but we want to have that spirit to help and make a difference.

"Which is why we decided to do it together as there is power in numbers. Alone, what I can give is limited, but together, we can give so much more," said chef Han.

Diya Tan, owner of Sanity Coffee and runner-up for Project SuperStar Season 2 in 2007, said: "When Chef Han approached me with his idea, I was excited to be able to do something positive instead of sitting around worrying about the situation. At the same time, I wondered how much of a difference our little coffee bar could make. But anyone can make a difference, no matter how big or small. We'd like to show our appreciation and gratitude to those working on the frontlines with what we do best - coffee!"

Sanity Coffee will donate coffee to NCID, and offer a 20 per cent discount at its cafe to all NCID staff.

Paul Liew from KEK said: "This Covid-19 outbreak has affected everyone in this nation, and the people in the healthcare industry are the ones fronting the fight. We want to show our support by providing comfort food during this critical period, and letting them know, 'you are not alone in this war'".

Hence, the popular tze char restaurant donated S$2,000 to purchase halal food from Pezzo Group. Pezzo will deliver the food to NCID and match the food orders one for one.

Labyrinth and Jam at Siri House will also be donating a portion of their sales proceeds to buy food from Pezzo and KEK to be delivered to NCID.

Chef Han of Labyrinth said there were initial problems, such as finding out who to contact in NCID, and how to communicate with one another about logistical and other issues.

"Labyrinth is also a fine-dining restaurant and our food concept may not be suitable for this situation, so we decided to join hands with other F&B outlets. We managed to get it going and in the near future, we are looking to work with other hospitals as well," chef Han said.