2021 was another year of significant change. Some of it was part of our “reworking work” plan, and others were a result of our ever-evolving world. Like many companies around the globe, we faced the impact of what Bloomberg amongst others named “The Great Resignation”. But as always, we choose to embrace change with optimism and positivity, and celebrate the journey of every Food Newser, wherever it takes them! With the many twists and turns on dining restrictions this year, we feasted less than we usually would, together. And if I had but one remorse, it would be the lack of bonding time with both the team and our industry friends. But those wistful thoughts quickly faded away when I took stock of the many milestones and adventures we enjoyed together, despite what was yet another testing year.
As the year draws to a close, here’s a flashback of our best moments in 2021. I hope this sharing keeps you inspired for the year ahead, and as Shasha says, Food News will always bring Good News!
#1 We revamped work to focus on Communications, Campaigns and Content
As multi-talented as the team is, bringing our best work to the daily grind means knowing what every team member is great at. With that in mind, we went through a deep reset, beginning with the acknowledgement of core strengths and expertise within our petite agency. We then aligned those strengths to what our industry partners’ needs were, and voila – Shasha now leads the Communications team, with PR as a core capability. Ivy (me!) leads the Campaigns arm, putting her passion and hunger for creativity to best use; and Priyanka (guess who?), our new Content Manager will be working closely with Art Director Nikko, to bring to life delicious stories in all formats, shapes and sizes.
#2 We were appointed creative lead agency for True Aussie Beef & Lamb
Without a doubt, this was the most memorable pitch experience in the last decade of Food News’ history. We go into every pitch, knowing we will put our best on the table. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. But this was an ultra-sweet one for the team. The entire process took six weeks, three proposal amendments and two rounds of interviews. We out-pitched four reputable agencies to claim the win as underdogs. Today, Food News is the Creative Lead Agency for True Aussie Beef & Lamb across six countries — Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. We may be small, but our appetite sure is mighty!
#3 We completed our first (soon to be launched) cookbook
Another milestone unlocked by our Content team. While we are not at liberty to share more details until the book’s official launch in Q1 2022, readers can expect creative recipes championing homegrown produce by 50 Best-awarded and well-loved chefs, and gorgeous photography from a renowned food photographer.
#4 We unveiled 9 venues and a luxury wellness resort
While navigating the uncertainties of dining and drinking restrictions, the team redesigned the way we engaged with media and influencers, and successfully launched eight new F&B concepts and the city’s first luxury wellness resort – Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore, with access to two championship golf courses.
Some of the new F&B concepts include Chuan by Nutmeg & Clove, a Chinese tea-inspired cocktail bar by the award-winning Nutmeg & Clove; Stay Gold Flamingo, anchored by a modern classics cocktail bar, Stay Gold, and Flamingo, a mid-day coffee bar; Club Street Wine Room, the latest concept by newly-minted MICHELIN Starred chef Andrew Walsh; Canchita, a Peruvian restaurant by culinary sweethearts Daniel and Tamara Chavez; two newly revamped Food Junction outlets (there is another one on the way, so stay tuned); Moonbow by celebrated local chef Heman Tan; and Greenhouse and Legends Bar – both located within the luxury wellness resort.
#5 We launched 8 creative F&B campaigns, including 2 of our own
We put together a total of eight Campaigns this year, seeing through each one of them from ideation to launch. Whether it’s a RedMart campaign for PROMPERÚ, a food services promotion for True Aussie Beef & Lamb, or a video series for Business Sweden; we married our capabilities across creative Campaigns, strategic Communications and Content production, to deliver the most meaningful outcomes for our partners. Additionally, we also ran two Food News’ owned campaigns, including the All New Feastival — organised in collaboration with our dear friends at Chope — designed to help restaurants and bars drive online orders during F&B closures in July; and most recently Singapore Cocktail Festival, which just wrapped up its 7th edition in December.
#6 We rolled out countless videos and photoshoots
Our Art Director, Nikko Pascua, deserves MVP credit for this one. A foodie at heart, Nikko is everything you need to successfully pull off an impressive one-man show (he is literally the only guy on the team). Since joining the agency four years ago, this rising star in photography has built quite a reputation for himself; shooting for our F&B partners including MICHELIN Starred restaurants Saint Pierre and CURE, the newly opened Marguerite (formerly known as Pollen) and Origin Bar, just to name a few. His video skills are dope too, churning out compelling 60s for partners such as Business Sweden and True Aussie Beef & Lamb.
#7 We are counting down to our 10th appointment by 50 Best
Food News has been the appointed agency for Asia’s 50 Best Bars since 2018. The opportunity to work with an internationally acclaimed awards body such as 50 Best (and of course their super trooper team) is a milestone that we will always rever upon. Fast forward to 2021, we have undertaken the Communications work for 4 x Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards, 1 x The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, 2 x The World’s 50 Best Bars awards and 1 x 50 Next list. Today, we are counting down to the second edition of 50 Next, which aims to inspire, empower and connect the next generation of leaders. A big shout out to the 50 Best team, for believing that great things can come in small packages.
So there you go. Our top seven milestones for the year. Looking back now, I am not sure how we did it. But looking at the team I am ending the year with – Shasha, Shirleen, Nikko, Michelle, Ariel, Joyi, Shania and Gwendolyn – I am not surprised we did.
To the new Food Newsers we will be welcoming in 2022, hang on to your appetites. You are in for a massive bite!