The tale of how a boy turned his girlfriend’s sweet tooth into a business.
When Elijah Tan and Jocelyn Wong starting going out, they did what many Singaporeans like to do on dates—they went café-hopping.
Wong fancied chocolate cakes, pies and desserts, and Tan fancied Wong. But being a student with a limited budget, Tan started to think about more “sustainable” ways to satiate his new girlfriend’s sweet tooth.
With some experimentation and skills gleaned from a foundational three-month night cooking course he had taken during his National Service days, Tan baked a Nutella pie for Wong.
Fast forward four years—not only is the couple still going strong, they have set up their very own pie business, and that Nutella pie has become its most popular flavor.
Tan recalls that after seeding his initial batches of Nutella pie with taste-testers, “I started getting positive reviews for it.” He approached friends from the popular Lola’s Café who started stocking his pies, and demand for what came to be known as Elijah’s Pies grew.
Just last year, Tan and Wong took a leap of faith and moved from its online platform to a rental space at Nanyang Technological University. Tan, now 26 and a graduate in Business Management, runs Elijah’s Pies full-time, handling everything from the creation of new flavors to logistics and operations. Needless to say, a short internship he completed at Peperoni Pizzeria under the Les Amis group several years ago came in handy, especially in terms of the management aspect of a food business.
Wong, 27, who holds a day job in marketing, shores up from the other end, overseeing the branding and marketing of Elijah Pies. She crafts names for the pies, runs its Instagram account and basically, “make things look pretty.”
“For us girls, we like to eat something that’s not just yummy but Insta-worthy,” she explains.
That first pie Tan baked for her “tasted good, but didn’t look very pretty,” she recalls with a chuckle.
Besides the Nutella Pie, other flavors include whimsical palette-teasers such as Matcha Latte Pie, Salted Egg Maple Pie, Earl Grey Rose Pie and Sticky Caramel Pudding Pie.
The Sticky Caramel Pudding Pie was inspired by a traditional English dessert, sticky toffee pudding, which they once had on a plane.
“We thought the flavor was very nice, and were inspired to turn it into a pie,” says Tan. “The most challenging part is making all the components work together, as the texture for a pie is very different from that of a cake.” Elijah’s Pies’ rendition of this dessert features a cinnamon cake base layered on with vanilla pudding, blackcurrant raisins and a coating of caramel.
The couple, who met each other at cell group, agree that being business partners complicates the relationship—just a little. “Have a time out. Go eat something nice and then everyone is in a better mood to talk things through,” says Wong.
Elijah’s Pies are available at their store located at Block N2.1 Canteen A (opposite Peach Garden Restaurant), NTU, 50 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639798. All pies measure nine-inches in diameter and cost between $42 and $52. Delivery is available at $10. For orders, a week’s notice is preferred. Complimentary customization is also available. Check out Elijah Pies at www.facebook.com/elijahpies or email firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries and orders.