FOOD & BEVERAGE | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Meet the woman behind a new healthy restaurant Kitchen by Food Rebel

She spent $200,000 for this project in Telok Ayer.

“Money can’t buy health,” as the saying goes. Good health is a gift, and when taken away, no amount of money can protect a person from illness. This is one important lesson learned by a budding entrepreneur, Elika, who founded a restaurant offering a healthy blend of Western and Asian cuisine called Kitchen by Food Rebel. Kitchen by Food Rebel is a new 40-seater restaurant which opened in January on Stanley Street in Telok Ayer.

After achieving a degree in business in the UK, Elika started her career in the world of corporate HR consulting for UK-based FTSE 100 companies. As a result of nearly 10 years working long, unrelenting hours, she soon found that her health had started to deteriorate. Coupled with years of yo-yo dieting and a lack of nutritional support available from personal trainers, this frustration led Elika to look for her own answers to her health issues.

In 2012, Elika moved to Singapore and started working around Raffles Place as a Health Coach & Corporate Wellness consultant setting up her private health coaching business, ElikaFit. In her role, Elika supports busy professionals who want to incorporate fitness and nutrition to reach their health goals, despite a hectic lifestyle.

In 2014, Elika took time out to study at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York where she trained as a Health Coach and received her Professional Training and Certification Program. She was able to personally heal herself of insomnia, sugar cravings, lack of energy, food intolerances, adrenal fatigue, chronic stress, PCOS, and imbalanced hormones. By making changes to her own diet and adopting a regular exercise routine, Elika was also able to lose 3 kg of weight, reduce her body fat but also increase muscle mass.
However, Elika found herself increasingly frustrated with the lack of healthy food options in Singapore that provided ‘real food’, which weren't highly processed, that contained quality ingredients and had no hidden sugar, preservatives or chemicals. When her clients started to voice similar concerns, she saw a need for a café in the CBD which could provide clean eating options for all.

Continuing the current trend for great tasting healthy food, the 34-year old entrepreneur founded Kitchen by Rebel with the help of her husband. Kitchen by Food Rebel has created a menu that dispels the myth that healthy eating has to be boring or bland.
Elika described Kitchen by Food Rebel as an organic, clean eating café-cum-bistro which has the kind of relaxed, casual air you’d expect from an independent health café in Melbourne or San Francisco.

“With a mission to improve our customers’ health through a recipe of awareness, education and great, wholesome food, the 40-seater cafe caters to vegans, vegetarians, athletes, clean meat lovers, food intolerances and those just looking to lead a healthier lifestyle,” said Elika.

According to Elika, they ensure that ingredients are either organic, hormone-free, sustainable or locally sourced wherever possible. They work with a number of local startups and suppliers to source quality fresh ingredients and organic produce that can be used in-house to make fresh meals daily which are cooked from scratch, including their sauces and salad dressings.

She added that no MSG or artificial preservatives are used. Processed sugar is also off the menu.

Elika also claims that the menu itself fizzes with energy and energy-inducing goodness.
“Signature Buddha bowls, packed to the brim with nutrient-dense, real foods that provide the body with everything it needs (fats, carbs and proteins are all present) are joined by organic-based salads, super smoothies, sandwiches served on 100% Austrian wheat-flour and hot fusion meals that pack a punch. Not to mention guilt-free snacks and cakes which are gluten, dairy and sugar free!,” she said.

Elika was lucky to find a vegetarian restaurant that was closing down due to retirement of the owner. The space and location were perfect but she said that the decor was too dated so they had to start again with the interior.

Elika has held senior commercial management roles in organisations that have exposed her to hiring, managing large budgets, marketing & sales, however, she didn't have previous experience of running an F&B establishment. She spent 6 months doing a detailed business plan, establishing their vision and mission, plus an exhaustive competitor analysis, including studies of 30 F&B establishments with concepts she considered 'healthy'. This gave her a clear understanding of the pitfalls of F&B and confirmed what was missing in the market. She still fell victim, however to the most common problem within F&B, which is staffing.

After 3 months of running she parted ways with her original chefs but luckily that meant she could move quickly with the ideas she had formed within the business plan & make decisions faster with her commercial experience.

The restaurant is completely self-funded, with Elika investing $200,000 in it.

Kitchen by Food Rebel has recently started to provide home delivery through Deliveroo, corporate catering through food discovery platform, The Foodist and has partnerships with Personal Training facility, Ultimate Performance.

Starting July, Kitchen by Food Rebel will also be offering city workers Fairtrade Freshly ground coffee through collaboration with local startup Nomad the Gallant. With the success of the more recent Farmers Market in June, they hope to make that a regular event and then work towards extended opening hours into the early evenings and providing organic wines and beers.

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Meet the woman behind a new healthy restaurant Kitchen by Food Rebel

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