Interview with Mr. Baker’s Bakeshop

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Eric Pui

Mr Baker’s Bakeshop is one of the first bakeries in Brunei to put the emphasis on making and selling healthy bread. Why did you pursue this idea?
I spent my varsity years overseas and during this time bread was a big part of my daily meal. By that, I mean wholesome brown breads which at one point in time, we could hardly find in Brunei. I am an advocate of healthy eating; as much as possible, I refrain from eating food that has either MSG, permitted food chemicals or artificial enhancers.

We used to bake our bread a lot at home and my family loved it, so then I thought why not share this wholesome bread not only with my loved ones but to the local community as well.

What are some of the major obstacles you encountered in setting up Mr Baker’s Bakeshop?
Most people here are used to having soft cottony and tasty white bread that lasts up to a week. Our breads are rougher in texture and get stale after two days. About 90% of our euro breads (or crusty breads) are without any added sugar, no eggs and no artificial dough improver. Imagine the uphill battle we faced when we first introduced our healthy bread.

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From your experience in running Mr Baker’s Bakeshop, what is your impression of the Bruneian attitude towards healthy eating? What needs to be done to encourage more people to choose a healthy diet in our culture?
Compared to when we first started Mr Baker’s Bakeshop in 2008, I see an obvious and positive change in the eating habits of Bruneians today. Since then many restaurants have introduced healthy options to their new menus, and there is even a new restaurant (Energy Kitchen) that opened up last year which promotes healthy food. More importantly, the government plays a pivotal role in promoting the cause of a healthy lifestyle. We have witnessed a tremendous effort put forward by the Ministry of Health in this area. The launch of the Healthy Restaurant Program in February 2014 was a case in point, and we are proud that Mr Baker’s Bakeshop was nominated as one of the healthy restaurants to choose in Brunei.

What are some of Mr Baker’s Bakeshop tips for healthy eating?
I echo the Health Promotion Centre’s tagline: Always ask for “Less Oil, Less Salt and Less Sugar” and eat moderately.

This article was published in the Jan-Mar 2015 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!