Ee Poh Luan gave up a lucrative career as a communications director to run a social enterprise gourmet food truck which aims to give away one free meal for every one sold.
I spent 20 years in the corporate world making good money and even more good friends. Did I want to continue that way for another 20 years? No. I wanted a break to try something different. So, with my husband’s blessings, I pulled the brakes.
After I left my job, I spent many mornings sipping coffee, wondering what I wanted to do. I was too young to retire and too old to be doing the same thing.
I decided to learn something new. My three teenage children were eating lots of processed food which inspired me to learn to cook — not only home cooking, but professionally as well, to acquire new skills to build a second career. I worked with two commercial kitchens which exposed me to how a food and beverage business is run.
One of the two kitchens, Food For Thought, a social enterprise that centres around causes including sponsoring underprivileged children in Asia, awakened me to a higher social consciousness. In the midst of rising obesity in affluent countries, many families still have a problem putting food on the table. I found a social cause linked to food that I cared about.
I then registered with a culinary academy for proper grounding in professional cooking. That was when
the idea of a food truck came about. After some research, I realised it could be an exciting and feasible social enterprise.
In 2013, I decided to start Kerbside Gourmet (www.kerbsidegourmet.com), a food truck that roams the streets of Singapore. It operates under the principle of a “Buy-One-Meal-Give-One-Meal” — to feed Singapore’s less privileged. With every meal sold, I give a free one to beneficiaries under the Social Enterprise Association. Kerbside is Asia’s first social enterprise gourmet food truck.
The first group of people whom I offered free meals to were 150 ex-inmates and their families at Punggol Park through the Prison Fellowship Singapore. When I was in the corporate world for 20 years, I had not fed any stranger at all.”