Words by Julia Chan
How one man turned his childhood dream into reality
Barcook Bakery started from a small kitchen in Hong Lim Complex in May 2008 as a business idea initiated by Mr Sim Lih Cherng, Mr Steven Ng and a few other co-owners. Today, this homegrown bakery has eleven outlets islandwide as well as two outlets located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Designed with different concepts, some outlets also sell cakes while others come with a sitting area to replicate a cafe setting. The bakery’s flagship store at OG Albert Complex is considered the largest standalone store which offers Cafeteria-style beverages such as Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, English Breakfast and Earl Grey Tea, as well as European bread.
This bakery is the realisation of Mr Sim, who has always loved eating bread and pastries since young. In his 20s, he dreamt of starting a cafe with a wide variety of bakes to complement beverages, and took on a job in a local bakery as an apprentice. During his apprenticeship, he fell in love with the art of baking and decided to skill up in this profession. After he graduated from the prestigious China Grain Products Research & Development Institute in Taiwan, he decided to turn his dream into reality.
Targeting an audience mainly between the age of 20s to 50s, Barcook Bakery soon found popularity in a mass market that relied on fresh bread for breakfast or tea-break. The bakery rose to fame with its signature Raisin Cream bun, an irresistible cottony-soft and flat bread filled with silky cream cheese and juicy raisins which are pre-soaked in rum. The bun was so popular that there were snaking queues right outside Barcook Bakery’s Hong Lim Complex outlet then.
Quality and freshness are the key ingredients in Barcook’s buns and cakes, which are freshly-baked and served “still warm” from the oven all day. As Barcook Bakery places the utmost importance in the selection of all ingredients, it imports its flour from Kobe, Japan to give the confectionery a premium taste and texture.
Cakes are handcrafted in-house by a dedicated team of passionate and experienced chefs. Barcook Bakery also invites experienced chefs and bakers from Taiwan and Japan for in-house training to help staff upgrade their skills and knowledge in baking.
To lead the way to become a Baker 4.0 ready for Industry 4.0, Mr Sim himself walks the talk when it comes to skills upgrading. He has attended courses and workshops in Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. In Singapore, he picked up technical skills from training organised by Creative Culinaire The School, and technological skills from an F&B Revenue Management & Data Analytics workshop.