PETALING JAYA, Aug 11 — Some parents can’t help but fret every time the school holidays roll around. How to keep the little ones occupied can be a full day’s work in itself as they need fresh outlets to expend their energy.
So, how about teaching the kids to cook, bake and make their own meals? Local bakery Tedboy, founded by Patrina Tang and her husband Edward Tan, runs TedboyCooks, a school holiday programme with classes where kids can make their own pizzas, pretzels and pasta from scratch.
As with all their projects, the couple started TedboyCooks with the idea that whatever is good for children is good for the whole family. (The business is named after their son Ted after all.)
Tang says, “We still do things with Ted in mind, and at Tedboy Jaya One we did think that the space is large enough to hold kids’ cooking classes since Ted enjoys helping out in the kitchen.
“So we started back in 2017 during the school holidays to let children have some fun getting dirty while parents sit back and enjoy their breakfast.”
TedboyCooks classes are usually conducted twice a year during school holidays and at the year’s end. Each class holds a maximum of 15 children.
Tang shares, “We inform parents not to expect mastery from a single class but it’s more of introducing cooking and food education at a younger age.”
To develop new classes for the TedboyCooks programme, the team works with their R&D chef to figure out which classes would be fun, not too easy yet safe to do.
Tang says, “We don’t allow the children to touch the oven so we bring them to the kitchen to bake. Ted is always the reference... as he enjoys pizza, spaghetti and sushi, these classes got developed!”
TedboyCooks is but their latest venture. After moving their original base from Bangsar to a main kitchen in PJ’s Section 51a, Tedboy now produces centrally and delivers to its seven outlets on a daily basis.
Having recently obtained HACCP certification for food safety and looking at halal certification by year end, the company aims to supply to other businesses as the next part of their expansion.
Tang says, “We’ve also embarked on online delivery with a website revamp last October. For now online sales is still a small percentage compared to our retail store but we foresee this to improve as more people get familiar with our next day delivery.
“What sells very well on this channel are our catering boxes of mini bites, perfect for those meetings and gatherings.”
Over the years, customer expectations change, especially with the latest trends. But fads come and go. Tang says, “Development of new products is a long process. Usually we start from customer feedback and work from there.
“We are not trendy, always behind the trends, but I would like Tedboy to be a staple, to stand the test of time, rather than be a trendy café bakery as there’s always a better, more appealing, more unique concept out there.”
Instead, Tedboy’s philosophy is to factor consumer feedback into their products and even their distribution channels. Tang explains, “Customers have so many options these days that they don’t need to travel so far just to come to us. Hence we developed our online stores to reach them.
“We also noticed most Malaysians still prefer local taste hence our new products tend to focus on locally sourced ingredients rather than imported ingredients.”
Some of these products with a local flavour include charcoal bread loaves, red bean buns and salted caramel pumpkin cakes. There are even savoury dishes such as ayam percik rice and steamed bao with duck or chicken. The latter will be taught as part of TedboyCooks’s December edition alongside other seasonal favourites such as Christmas cookies and cupcakes, cake and fruit pops, and 1000-layer puff pastry.
Clearly, the Tedboy brand has expanded organically from the early days of its first store in Bangsar. Along the way, the team has also developed over time; some beginning at store level have taken on new responsibilities and different functions.
This spreading of wings is part of what Tang would consider a successful journey. She adds, “Other lessons we learned would be rental negotiation and knowing your landlords! If rental is too high, you are doomed.”
At the end of the day, Tedboy is a family affair at heart. Tang says, “Ted and his two siblings do frequently dine at Tedboy and they enjoy following me to work. Can’t have any better arrangement!”
Some businesses grow large and lose sight of what they stand for. Others grow up, and with every year, the heart of what they do — their why — grows stronger as everyone in the team grows together.
Venue: Tedboy Bakery @ The School Jaya One, PJ
Dates: TedboyCooks will be held on Sundays in August and December 2019
Fee: RM50 per child/class (exc. SST 6%)
Upcoming classes include chicken nuggets & burger patties (August 18) and bento box & onigiri (August 25). Seats for these classes can be booked via purchase online (https://www.tedboy.com/tedboycooksclass) or at any Tedboy outlet.