In an Asian society like Singapore where a lot of emphasis is put on ‘face’, there is a social stigma surrounding those with a criminal record. Some way or another, there is bound to be some prejudice against this marginalized group of people.
However, there are many eateries of second chances in Singapore which strive to integrate ex-offenders and youths-at-risk back into society.
Many of the founders of these social enterprises had a rough past too and found their calling in cooking which helped them reform. Building on the past to make a better tomorrow, here are 6 places of second chances to dine at that employs ex-offenders.
A household name for good and affordable Western fare, Eighteen Chefs is dedicated to employing ex-offenders and youths-at-risk. The founder, an ex-convict himself, believes in second chances as he too had failed multiple times to secure a job due to his past. Moreover, he wants to empower his employees by equipping them with lifelong skills to have confidence in their future.
Eighteen Chefs has several outlets. Check out the full list here.
Photo Credit: Five &2
Located amidst the lush greenery and tranquillity of Punggol Park is Five &2, a bistro under the Timbre Group which works with several organizations to hire ex-inmates as well as the disabled. The five refers to providing a meal to an underprivileged family for every five meals sold while the two refers to its two social missions, namely feeding the underprivileged and providing employment to the marginalized.
The bistro also uses technology to simplify jobs for its employees. On the menu are local favourites and some fusion dishes that are bound to whet your appetite!
97 Hougang Avenue 8
Tel: +65 6282 8801
Mon to Fri: 5pm – 1am
Sat: 4pm – 1am
Sun: 4pm – 12am
Nearest Station: Hougang
Photo Credit: Garçons
The founder of Garçons was a troubled teen but it was his passion for cooking that led him back to the right path. Gaining experience starting from working at a zi char stall to a Michelin-starred restaurant, he decided to set out on his own. Dishing out quality French cuisine at affordable prices, the restaurant also employs and trains ex-offenders and youths-at-risk so that they can pursue a future in F&B.
340 Tanjong Katong Road
Mon to Fri: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Dakota
Photo Credit: Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh
SOON HUAT BAK KUT TEH
If you’re craving for some bak kut teh to warm your belly, consider heading over to Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh at Simpang Bedok to support a good cause. The founder who was an ex-convict himself opened this shop to give others like him a second chance at life. Served in clay pots, the dry bak kut teh is popular here but the Klang-style soup version is just as good! Apart from that, they serve up some zi char dishes as well.
302 Bedok Road
Tel: +65 6273 3338
Daily: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Tanah Merah
Photo Credit: theofficialtce
THE CAFFEINE EXPERIENCE
The Caffeine Experience is not only a cafe that takes coffee seriously but it has a social mission of helping past drug abusers and youths-at-risk assimilate back into society. The founder who was a drug abuser as well believes that creating an inclusive working environment is a good distraction for drug addiction.
As this group of people tend to be uneducated, the founder wants to train them in barista skills as it’s a relatively easy skill to pick up. Next time you’re looking for a pick-me-up, consider coming here to get a cuppa.
120 Maxwell Road #B1-15
Tanjong Pagar Xchange #B1-15
Tel: +65 6224 1640
Mon to Fri: 8am – 4pm
Sat: 10am – 2pm
(Closed on Sunday)
Nearest Station: Tanjong Pagar
WOW WOW WEST
Everyone knows that ABC Brickworks Food Centre is home to a plethora of seriously good local hawker fare. Popular for its reasonable prices and generous portions of old-school Western food, Wow Wow West supports the Yellow Ribbon Project by hiring ex-convicts. One portion here is easily enough for two small eaters and certainly filling for a famished person. Wow Wow West is definitely one place where you can get a bang for your buck with its huge portions!
6 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-133
ABC Brickworks Food Centre
Tel: +65 9380 8571
Tue and Sat: 10.30am – 2pm, 4.30pm – 8pm
Wed to Fri: 11pm – 2pm, 4.30pm – 8pm
(Closed on Monday and Sunday)
Nearest Station: Queenstown / Redhill