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Former Mediacorp actress Ann Kok opens JB castella cake shop

SINGAPORE – Former Mediacorp actress Ann Kok is riding on the castella cake trend and has opened a shop selling the popular Japanese sponge cake in Johor Bahru.

SINGAPORE – Former Mediacorp actress Ann Kok is riding on the castella cake trend and has opened a shop selling the popular Japanese sponge cake in Johor Bahru.

The specialty cake shop, which opened on Sep 13 is a business venture with four Malaysian friends, and she has also roped in fellow actor Thomas Ong to be a brand ambassador because “he likes to eat a lot”.

Harmony Bakery is Kok’s second business venture. The 44 year-old previously co-owned retail shop BFF Zakka, which sold bags and accessories, with actress Jesseca Liu before it closed in 2014 “when the rental contract was up”.

Kok said her friends in Malaysia were looking to start a castella cake shop and approached her to be a brand ambassador. “But in the end, I became one of the shareholders,” she told TODAY.

As a child, Kok shared, castella cakes had been part of her childhood. “I used to eat them when I was very young. My mum used to bake them.” And that taste for it has stuck with her. She said she still prefers “sponge cake compared to many other cakes that are heavier”.

To avoid having customers queue for their cakes, the shop in Johor Baru allows customers to order their cakes for collection at a later in the day.

“We don’t like the idea of people (queuing),” said Kok, so customers from Singapore, for example, can head to the store to order in the morning and pick it up in the evening before heading back. Response, so far, has been “very good”.

Currently, the shop offers two flavours: original at RM15 (S$4.80) and cheese at RM19 (S$6.10).

Her business partner Ian Kwong, 35, said there are plans to bring Harmony Bakery to Singapore and is “targeting to open by this year”.

Kok, who last starred in 2016 Toggle original series Trapped Minds, may soon also learn to bake the cakes herself. “I’m actually learning halfway,” she said.

Although most of her time would be spent managing the shop, Ann said that she will not stop acting. “I’ll still be acting. I hope production will come and look for me,” she quipped.

Harmony Bakery is located at G-44 KSL City Mall,No 33 Jalan Seladang, Taman Abad, and opens from 10am to 9.45pm daily.

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