SINGAPORE – You might not need a concrete paperweight in the shape of png kueh, or a US$200 chopping board engraved with a banana and five mangosteens, arranged to resemble our national symbol of five stars and a crescent moon. But a visit to Batch (www.batch.sg) certainly makes you feel like you do.
The freshly-launched online gourmet platform is designed to connect food lovers with the products lovingly crafted by independent food makers, chefs and kitchen artisans.
You won’t find mass-produced supermarket goods here – every item is carefully handpicked for quality and taste by founder Debbie Yong.
“It was while covering the rise of local foodmakers – a growing group of Singaporeans who make preservative-free granola, jams, sambals, nut milks and so on, that I saw how many of them struggled to handle their own sales and marketing channels because they have to juggle these on top of their day jobs, on top of making the food,” says Ms Yong, who has been covering the food beat for The Business Times for the past three years.
“It then led me to think: why not gather all these artisanal products at a one-stop shop, like an online store?”
Ms Yong pitched the idea to the management of Singapore Press Holdings, which granted her seed money under the company’s business incubator scheme to develop her e-commerce site.
She has since amassed a wide range of craft food and kitchenware, including a “Batch X” line of exclusive collaboration items created just for the site like a special Singapore Sling-inspired granola flavour by Eastern Granola, chef Shen Tan’s sambals and Restaurant Labyrinth’s balsamic jam.
While there are specialty products created by chefs like a set of chef and steak knives by The Tippling Club chef-owner Ryan Clift, or a double boiler conceptualised by Justin Quek and local design agency Artifela, you don’t have to be a Gwyneth-wannabe to enjoy the site.
“I’m at the age where most of my friends are married or getting married and moving into their own homes,” explains Ms Yong, 29.
“They are cooking together more often, growing their own gardens, and buying more things for their kitchens and living spaces – and looking for resources to help them do so.”
The site also serves as a resource for home cooks and foodies looking for recipes and ingredient features, with plans to include behind-the-scenes interviews and videos with food makers and chefs – designed with the aim of building a virtual community of foodies of all levels.
Ms Yong hopes to tap on her close ties with local chefs and food personalities within the Singapore F&B industry to dispense useful kitchen tips on the latest food trends such as cold-brewing, cooking with Himalayan salt slabs, or barrel-ageing your own cocktails at home.