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Meet Eric, owner of Mr Baker's Bakeshop in Brunei

photo_1What do you do?
I am a trainee as far as baking is concerned. On the other hand, I am also running my own business consulting firm providing accounting, corporate secretarial and taxation services for nearly 3 years now. I have been in the business consulting field for over 13 years and currently in the final stage of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Describe yourself in a few words.
Hardworking, passionate and happy-go-lucky.

Tell us about Mr Baker's Bakeshop.
Opening a bakeshop was always childhood dream. I used to bake cheesecakes when I was in university and after learning some recipes from my chef, I can now bake carrot cakes, creamy cheesecakes and black forest cakes.

To me, Mr. Baker is a miracle. When I started Mr Baker, I knew the business was not going to be easy; the bakery business is very competitive in Brunei. Hence, I decided to challenge the norm by creating a healthy concept hoping to create a niche market.

How did customers initially respond to the business?
Business initially was tough as many customers were not familiar with our motto "strictly no added" preservatives, dough improver and emulsifiers or stabilizers. Our products have a shorter expiry date and the textures are somehow different. Our customers used to ask why we only displayed 10 to 15 pieces of cakes in the chiller whereas other bakeries displayed 20 to 30 pieces. We opt for variety instead of quantity - you can see that there is no repetition of our cakes. The other reason is because our cakes do not last long...the most is three days after which we have to dispose it off.

Now our customers are quite familiar with our products as some even order through phone without referring to the cake album.

 All your products are without the addition of any preservatives, dough improver and stabilizer or emulsifier. Does this affect the taste and texture of your products?
It does – for example, the loaf bread gets stale after just two days. Hence, it is best to consume our products within one to two days from the date of production. Taste wise, you may notice the sponge is heavier and richer in taste.

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Describe the Bruneian palate.
Unlike before, I notice that Bruneians have started watching their diet and they are more alert to the type of food they take. Generally, I find people prefer cakes which are not too sweet which is exactly what we are offering; most of our cakes are not too sweet.

Describe for us the five most popular items in your bakeshop.
California cheese - soft vanilla sponge sandwiched with butter-cream and finished with shredded cheddar cheese and a pinch of sugar
Fresh fruit vanilla - four layers of light vanilla sponge with generous amounts of diced fresh fruits in between each layer folded with a special mixed vanilla cream.
Creamy cheese cake - soft and creamy; if you appreciate rich western cheesecakes, this is the one to go for
Croissants - crispy crust with a soft inside, rich in the butter taste
Cream puffs and eclair - chewy textures with chilled custard fillings (Many of our customers have claimed that our cream puffs are the best cream puff in Brunei so far.)

Share with us a fond Bruneian memory.
I grew up in a small kampong called Sungai Liang which is in the Belait district. I attended a primary school which is about 15 minutes drive from where I stayed. Every morning, we woke up as early as 5.30 a.m. and my mom would walk us through a stretch of long and sandy path before we reached the main road for the school bus. Even though the sky was still dark, safety was never a concern as we lived in a decent neighborhood where everyone looked out for each other. Generally, Brunei is a peaceful country with friendly citizens.

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Does Mr Baker's Bakeshop have a catch phrase?
Your healthy choice.

Complete this sentence: "In three years' time, I..."
In three years' time, Mr Baker's Bakeshop will be the leading bakeshop in Brunei for healthy bread and pastries. By then, we hope to open a second bakery café and have a branch in the Belait district.


Editor's Note: I enjoy writing about businesses. To me, the better you know the person or people behind the brand, the better you relate to the brand. I notice that more and more Bruneian businesses have set up accounts on social networks which serve as additional touch-points between the business and the customer. Mr Baker's Bakeshop is one of them. Follow @MrBakerBakeshop on Twitter, get to know them on Facebook and check out Eric's blog here.

Beyond this, experience Mr Baker's Bakeshop for yourself - Your Healthy Choice.

Address: Unit 106, Ground Floor, Bangunan Bersurat, Jalan Batu Bersurat, Gadong or at the Main Lobby of the Jerudong Park Medical Centre

Contact Number: +673 2426020

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