Driven by their mutual love for steak, City Harvest Church members and good friends Shaun Chua and Tee Lip Ywee took a bold step of faith and set up an online steak business called Right Cut.
It’s hard to resist a sizzling piece of good steak: packed with dazzling flavours, a delicate balance of meat and fat, every bite sends juices exploding in the mouth. The stumbling block for most people is that quality steaks often come at an eye-watering price.
The answer to this dilemma is Right Cut, an online store that offers different cuts of steak at affordable prices, founded by two good friends Shaun Chua, 36, and Tee Lip Ywee, 38. Both joined CHC in 2003, and are currently cell group leaders.
Right Cut offers a variety of different cuts of steak, from mainstays like ribeye and striploin to premium options like wagyu ribeye. Recently, Shaun and Lip Ywee expanded their business to popular e-commerce platform Shopee, providing a convenient way for their customers to purchase their products.
BEEFING UP BUSINESS
The duo started their business in the second half of 2021, during the Covid pandemic when it was difficult for people to gather at their favourite restaurants.
“This idea was really sparked off by the struggles that arose during the pandemic, especially when it came to going out together to eat and fellowship,” explains Lip Ywee.
“One thing that we both love is steak, and you know quality steak is something that doesn’t come cheap at restaurants,” says Shaun. “Hence, we started thinking about how we can get good, yet affordable steak at home.”
To provide their customers with the best quality steak possible, Right Cut procures its meats from Australia. “It happened that one of my School of Theology (CHC’s Bible school) friends has an army mate whose family owns a steak abattoir in Perth, and they approached us to help them import steak directly into Singapore,” Lip Ywee relates.
This helps to speed up the importing process—Right Cut’s steaks are so fresh, they arrive by air freight within five days of slaughter. This is much faster than the usual three to four-week timeframe that other merchants have, where the meats are kept in cold storage while being transported by sea to Singapore.
While Shaun and Lip Ywee had a good source, starting a business during the pandemic was certainly not an easy feat. One of the biggest challenges they faced was finding a unique selling point that helped them stand out from the crowd of competitors.
“We struggled because we are a really small company, so we had to compete with the big boys. Many people are already selling steak online—what gives us a right to play in the same field?” Shaun shares.
Besides sourcing for the right meat, Lip Ywee and Shaun spent a lot of time analysing what consumers liked, then tweaking the product to see how well it worked. They eventually came up with an idea that made Right Cut unique: convenience.
Right Cut’s steaks come in ready-to-cook packs which allows one to put together a meal within five minutes. Each piece is cooked sous-vide (a temperature-control cooking technique that vacuum-seals the meat cuts in a bag), hence ensuring that all the steak cuts have the perfect consistency and flavour. With that, all that is left to do is to pan fry the meat for 45 seconds on each side.
Each set also comes with the “Right Cut Pack”, which contains salt and pepper for seasoning, butter to baste the steak, as well as a choice of sauce pack—black pepper, red wine, or mushroom.
Shaun points out, “You do not even need to go get your own ingredients; you just open the packaging, fry the steak, use the condiment packets provided and you are done!”
WITH HELP FROM GOD & FRIENDS
Shaun and Lip Ywee have had to juggle the Right Cut business with their personal commitments and jobs. Shaun works in the telecommunications industry, while Lip Ywee runs his family business specialising in wholesale and distribution. Time management is essential, or Shaun and Lip Wee risk being overwhelmed by their many commitments.
“Shaun and I each lead cell groups, so we have to balance our ministry, work, families, and RightCut,” describes Lip Ywee. “Thus, it’s really through God’s grace that we manage to balance all our commitments and still remain good friends, no matter whether when business is up or down.”
The duo share that God has brought them support through caring and helpful friends, and other contacts that have “appeared” at the right time. Shaun’s cell group provided much input and feedback, being eager to help him on his business journey. The name “Right Cut” came from one of his cell group members.
They also received help from a qualified TikTok strategist manager, who helped design the brand’s logo. They found themselves surrounded by different “advisors”, including friends residing in Australia who reached out with encouragement and ideas, all of which helped guide the duo along.
This supernatural provision could only be from God. Says Lip Ywee, “When we felt that we could not think of any more ideas, support and suggestions would somehow start coming in from Christians and non-Christians alike. With this kind of encouragement, we just feel like God has never forsaken or left us.”
LIFE IS LIKE COOKING STEAK
“Cooking steak might seem very difficult, but all you have to do is to make sure that your pan is very hot before putting the steak in,” explains Shaun. “Let your steak sear for around 45 seconds, then just flip it once instead of constantly flipping it. Then take it out to rest.”
Preparing steak might seem daunting for beginner cooks, but Lip Ywee believes that the key to success—whether it is cooking steak or living life—is persistence and having a never-say-die attitude.
“What I would say is just don’t give up,” he says. “Some days may be good, some days may be bad. If your steak tastes horrible, just try again. What goes for cooking also goes for business, ministry and life.”
Fancy a steak dinner after reading this story? Visit Right Cut’s website to order, and also follow them on Instagram for the latest news and very useful tips on how to maximise your at-home steak experience.