Growing up, food has always taken centre stage. I have always loved eating succulent and greasy beef rendang, sambal ayam and all kinds of similarly delicious, decadent meals. As I get older, however, it concerns me that these delicious mouthwatering foods have extra calories and fats which I’m trying my best to shed.
It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Jackie Leong, the owner of Ours Eatery, that I realised I could still have the best of both worlds. Can you imagine that, with a little innovation, Ours Eatery has created a traditional Beef Rendang that tastes amazing and has less calories and fat?!
Eating healthy without compromise
Entering the eatery on a Thursday evening, I was warmly greeted by Jackie and her staff. The 2-month old eatery located at City Mall Damansara had an industrial vibe with an open kitchen concept where customers can gaze at what is being roasted in their massive oven.
Jackie, one of the founders of Ours Eatery, graciously sat down with me and shared the story behind Ours Eatery and why it is important for you to eat healthy but still enjoy life.
Creating Ours community
Ours Eatery is all about honest food and clean-eating. Jackie and her friends came up with the idea when they talked to people and realized the impact food had in people’s lives. She loves how people’s eyes sparkled whenever they talk about food and wanted to continue seeing those delighted smiles. With a dream of starting a food business where she could share her passion and an idea of building a clean-eating food community, Ours Eatery was born.
Ours Eatery strives to make clean-eating affordable. She knows that healthy is often thought to be a luxury especially considering the high prices of organic produce. Jackie stresses that she wants a community where healthy-eating is not only for alternative days but is a lifestyle.
Apart from building a healthy-eating community, she wants to alter the idea that health food is bland. Ours Eatery takes comfort food but substitutes the ingredients and methods to achieve the same classic taste with a lot less calories.
Healthy food that is actually really good!
“At Ours, we want to introduce those traditional foods with a healthy twist. For example, our beef rendang, we do not have any kerisik and instead of using coconut milk, we opted for fresh milk whereby the texture and taste maintains the same but with the calories much more reduced.”
Ours Eatery makes unhealthy food healthy without compromising flavour. This is achieved by finding alternative ingredients, cooking fresh, using good oil and cutting down on the usage of sodium to avoid water retention. Fine sugar has been completely eliminated from the Ours kitchen and they instead use brown sugar, honey, dates and molasses in their desserts. Yummy! While these replacement ingredients are more expensive, it is important to Jackie that the community have access to good food at an affordable price.
People being “able to consume good food and have access to it easily” is a big part of what Ours Eatery is all about.
Ours is a saucy place
Feeling saucy? Well, there’s sauce options galore at Ours eatery. A total of 11 types of sauces are available here with every single one made in-house. Varieties range from Tomato salsa to a creamy butter sauce that will leave you begging for more.
Instead of white rice, Ours Eatery uses brown rice, cauliflower rice, couscous and quinoa rice. Nothing here is deep fried. Everything is oven- roasted as that process helps retain higher nutrient levels.
Desserts are also baked and is made up of ingredients that are healthy and clean for your body to consume.
Ingredients Sourced Locally
Ingredients used in their menu are from local vendors and farmer’s markets. Ours Eatery tries to keep it local and only uses imported ingredients if they are not produced locally or if it somehow contributes to a superior flavour. Their Earl Grey cookies, for example, uses an imported brand as only certain brands of Earl Grey tea could achieve the optimal delectable taste.
The Women behind Ours Eatery
Jackie, a financial PR consultant cum business owner and the Ours Eatery designated baker, started from a humble beginnings. She believes that in order to have a successful career, you need to have a great team.
“I have my financial team who help me handle all the corporate clients and I have my kitchen crew which is helping me out with the food business.”
She jokes that without her team and their teamwork, she would be dying because she leads a hectic and crazy life. She is grateful to have a great time while still having a support system to help her achieve her dreams.
“Everyone can have passion and dreams but how do one translate it into something spectacular and achievable? My team compliments me in a way that I have guided them as to ease up my time to which I have limited amount of.”
A Part-time juggler
When asked how she juggles all three careers as a PR consultant, business owner and a baker, she claims that it is not easy. Her time is limited and her brain works 24/7 without stop. Technology is a vital to her life. Her phone is her best friend, says Jackie. Apart from instructing and delegating jobs, she also reviews work on her phone and professes that if her phone break down, she would as well.
It is also in part due to her on-the-go environment, that she wanted to create an eatery which caters to on-the-go people like her.
Clean food needs a proper introduction
Jackie confesses to being two sizes bigger and a bit plump before she ventured into healthy-eating. She started healthy-eating due to a massive amount of research into what clean-eating really meant and was shocked to find out that eating only salads was not considered a balance diet as is often preached.
“We want to provide a healthier alternative so that our body consumes nutrients which adds value to our body and doesn’t not harm it”
To begin a healthy-eating journey, she advises a slow introduction so that your body is able to adapt. After you’ve eaten a certain type of food for years, it is almost too extreme a shock for the body to handle. So, if fried chicken is your standard, start by just cutting down the amount you intake in a week, rather than going cold turkey. By gradually lessening the amount of fried chicken you consume, your body will be able to adapt successfully to the cleaning process.
A healthy start
Drastically changing your eating habits cannot happen overnight. A good start is to just cut down on unhealthy foods, use clean oil in cooking and reduce your sugar and sodium intake. Slowly introducing healthier and more nutrient rich meals into your diet will change the you feel and even the way you look! A lack nutrients in your body can often result in a pallid skin tone. Having enough nutrients, on the other hand, will make you glow.
“You need to have glow in yourself and the glow could come eternally and by eating clean food, drink a lot of water and by practicing a healthy lifestyle.”
People love Ours
Ours Eatery is only 2 months old but the response has been great!
Regulars consistently come just to take-away their desserts. People also expressed how much they enjoy the food at Ours, taking particular note of how fresh the food is.
“When they told me they could taste the freshness of the food, that is the most amazing part for me as an owner of a healthy-eating joint. When customers say they love it, it is the most rewarding part for me as the customers won’t be lying to you about your food. To hear such positive feedback is the cherry on top for me.”
Research into healthy food
Upon hearing her stories on healthy-eating, I couldn’t help but wonder how she came up with healthy recipes that are actually delicious. An extensive amount of research put into finding the perfect recipe seems to be the key.
Recipes are all developed in-house. Origins of a recipe are researched before testing on the recipe itself is done to figure out ingredient substitutions. A finalized recipe could take up to a month to roll out as it needs to be perfect before being introduced to customers. All ingredients used in Ours recipes are in line with their philosophy of producing food that is fresh and honest.
“You want your body to sayang you then sayang them and put good things in them.”
Jackie confess that like any other food business, she has had problems with staffing. Yet, she is also thankful for having staff now who are hardworking and always helpful. Interviewing properly is key to discerning a future staffers their intention and whether he or she are serious about the job.
Locals are employed at Ours whenever possible as Jackie wants to help them grow. Being involved in giving opportunities to women’s aid organizations, Ours Eatery has also provided positions to survivors and former victims.
Advice for future healthy food business owners
Be very focused and know what your target audience wants rather than make assumptions, Jackie advises future business owners. Being honest is also key, particularly when setting up a clean-eating food business. Starting up take a lot of money and it is not cheap to run.
Being true to your customers as they are consuming your food is important and hence it is imperative for you to be honest.
Final words of wisdom
“We are what we eat,” says Jackie. A healthy diet doesn’t mean being deprived of eating good and delicious food. Eating healthy can be good when you know how to substitute ingredients.
Well, at Ours Eatery, your tastebuds will definitely not suffer from bland food and instead be delighted with how delicious good and healthy food can be.
Note to fellow readers :
Ours eatery is offering 5% discount to Butterkicap readers when they flashed out Butterkicap’s Facebook or Instagram page to the cashier ( So flash away ).
1) 5% off on naked bowl and wrap (a la carte) order only.
2) Offer valid for dine in only and in a single receipt.
3) The offer is valid all day long and start on 10th of July 2017 onwards.
Ours Eatery :
A: Lot G-12, Ground Floor, City Mall Damansara, Damansara Town Centre, 50490, Federal Territory Of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
T: 03-2856 0809