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10 Food Companies You Didn't Know Were Founded by Women

10 Food Companies You Didn't Know Were Founded by Women


Historically, big companies have usually been founded by — and run by — men. Here are 10 food-related companies that you might not realize were founded by women.

10 Food Companies You Didn't Know Were Founded by Women (Slideshow)

The origin stories of food brands and companies are all unique and fascinating. More products than you may realize weren’t simply cooked up in a kitchen — instead, they were synthesized in a lab or created by a food chemist in a factory. To actually create a product or found a company, then build it into a household name, is a monumental task. For the people on this list, that achievement is made even more monumental because of the fact that high-level management tends to be a men’s club.

Although many food products and companies are named after women, you’d be surprised by how few were actually invented or founded by them. Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Dash never actually existed, obviously. Little Debbie, Sara Lee, and Wendy’s were named after the (male) founders’ daughters. Marie Callender’s was founded by Marie’s son, Don.

In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for female entrepreneurs to launch their own food-related businesses. There’s still a glass ceiling, but if any investors honestly choose not to invest in a company simply because it’s founded by a woman, they have far greater issues than poor business sense.

So read on to learn about 10 women who blazed a trail for all the female entrepreneurs who followed in their footsteps.


In 1937, Margaret Rudkin started baking her own bread for her son, Mark, who was allergic to a lot of commercially processed foods. This healthier bread proved to be such a hit with Rudkin’s friends and family that she began selling it commercially under the name of her family’s property in Norwalk, Connecticut: Pepperidge Farm. Then, on a trip to Europe in the 1950s, Rudkin discovered delicate European-style cookies and purchased the rights to sell them in the United States. She named them Milanos, after the city in which she discovered them.


Legend has it that the world’s most famous soy sauce company was founded by a woman named Shige Maki back in the 1600s. After she and her son were forced from their home following her husband's death in battle, they settled in the village of Noda and spent the next 15 years cultivating rice and learning the craft of making shoyu, or soy sauce. She refined the production process and began to sell it to locals, starting the company known today as Kikkoman. As the website says, “behind every bottle of Kikkoman, there's a Kikko-woman.”


14 Things You Didn't Know About Alton Brown

Host Alton Brown, as seen on Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, Season 1.

Photo by: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Jeremiah Alley, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Most fans believe Alton Brown's a walking food dictionary (and he is). He's the ultimate commentator on Iron Chef America, he's a mentor and judge on Food Network Star and no one will ever forget Good Eats. But there's still so much to learn about this pillar of Food Network. FN Dish caught up with Alton on the set of his newest show, Cutthroat Kitchen, where he chatted about survival techniques for future competitors and even a couple things you may not know about the man who so many admire and look up to.

1. When Alton was younger, he always thought he would end up directing movies, which is what he trained for. "Only I got sidestepped into commercials for a long time."

2. Alton spends a lot of time flying airplanes.

3. Alton plays multiple instruments including the guitar. "I always travel with a guitar when I'm on the road." He also sings with his trio on his live tour.

4. Going along with music: Alton almost always listens to music while he cooks. The playlist depends on the day. "I'm anywhere from opera to Led Zeppelin — and everywhere in between. My daughter is 14 and listens to a lot of pop stuff, so I tend to gravitate way, far away from whatever she's listening to. I have music on in the kitchen all the time. The last 10 things I cooked were probably to mid-'70s Elton John," Alton shared with FN Dish.

5. Alton is terrified of calf's liver. "I've tried it and I can't make it edible. I don't like anyone else's either — and mine is just worse," Alton adds.

6. "While I like eating artichokes, I hate cooking them. It's so much work. Who decided we should even eat that?"

8. Alton has a lot of glasses. "When you have to wear them every day, you tend to switch them up."

9. Alton's bow tie collection: "I have 200 bow ties at home. I inherited most of them. When an art school professor retired, he sent me his collection, which was 145 bow ties that he collected over a 30-year period."

10. What's the most-memorable item Alton's received from a fan? "Just last year someone gave me a homemade ceramic dog treat jar made to look like my corgi, Sparky. And darn if it doesn't look just like him."


11 Things You Didn't Know About Krispy Kreme

Donuts continue to be re-invented with crazy toppings and even expensive fillings, but is there anything better than sinking your teeth into a classic glazed? Krispy Kreme has been getting that right since the 30s, and showing up with a box of their famous donuts is guaranteed to win you friends anywhere. Read up on the secret behind that sinful glaze and channel your inner Homer Simpson&mdashthe chain's history will make you say "Mmm . donuts!"

1. Krispy Kreme has been making donuts for almost 80 years

Vernon Rudolph founded Krispy Kreme on July 13, 1937 in Winston-Salem, NC. He rented a building in Old Salem to make donuts by the dozen and initially he sold them to local grocery stores, but the demand soon led him to sell his sweets directly to customers on the sidewalk through a window.

2. The Original Glazed are the top sellers

Since the beginning, customers have been lured to Krispy Kreme shops by the smell of the original, no-frills donuts. The yeasty dough goes through the company's proprietary air-pressurized extruder and gets formed into perfect rings, which then proof for about 30 minutes. They're fried in vegetable shortening before passing beneath a waterfall of warm sugar glaze&mdasha process that Rudolph's engineers invented back in the 60s. Before that, they were hand-glazed in a galvanized wash tub!

3. The recipe is a Southern secret

Vernon Rudolph is said to have bought the special donut recipe from a New Orleans French chef, and now it's locked away in the company vault at the Winston-Salem plant. There's been plenty of speculation about the ingredients, but according to historians, the historic recipe likely consisted of cream of fluffed egg whites, mashed potatoes, sugar, shortening, skim milk and flour. What's really in them? The world may never know.

4. The donuts taste best at a very specific temperature

After frying, Krispy Kreme donuts are bathed in a cascade of glaze that's 120 degrees F. The glaze cools and sets as the donuts make their way to the end of the assembly line, where they're boxed by shop employees. It's at this very moment that the treats are prime for eating, which is where the Hot Light comes in. Starting in 1992, shops began turning on neon "Hot Donuts Now" signs to alert customers that fresh donuts are available for purchase. Now, you can even download the Hot Light App to get push notifications.

5. Krispy Kreme is big on coffee, too

What goes better with an airy donut than a hot cup of joe? The chain has been serving coffee in its signature green cups for decades, but now iced coffee and new coffee drinks are on offer as well. You can even brew Krispy Kreme Signature Coffee Blends at home, or pop Krispy Kreme K-Cups into your Keurig on the way to work.

6. The lines can get insane

Any time the chain opens a new location, people line up around the block to be one of the first customers through the door. Starting at 3pm the night before the grand opening, the first 100 guests can register for a chance to win free donuts for the entire year&mdashthat's one free dozen each month. The very first person in line gets one free dozen every WEEK for a year! Talk about a sugar high.

7. You can participate in the Krispy Kreme Challenge

NC State University hold an annual race requiring competitors to run 5 miles through Raleigh and consume 12 donuts (2,400 calories) along the way, all within 1 hour. The silly race is run by students, the proceeds benefit the North Carolina Children's Hospital.

8. There are limited-time flavors and shapes

If there's a holiday or special occasion coming up, there's probably a donut for that! The chain releases limited-edition treats celebrating everything from Easter to baseball season to Talk Like a Pirate Day, as well as new flavors such as the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Donut. As reported by Brand Eating, you can even get glittery Rainbow Gloss Donuts in a range of colorful, flavored icings at South Korea stores.

9. Krispy Kreme is in the Guinness Book of World Records

The world's largest box of donuts is a Krispy Kreme box measuring over 19- by 13-inches and weighing in at 297 pounds, 10 ounces. The Kuwait Food Co. Americana built the massive box (an exact replica of the ones used in stores) in 2009, filling it with 2,700 Krispy Kreme donuts.

10. Krispy Kreme is tied to race car driving

If you've ever wondered why the Krispy Kreme logo can be seen on professional race car tracks, it's because the company sponsors some top-notch drivers. Currently the brand is the primary sponsor of Gray Gaulding. We hear donuts make you drive fast!

11. There are tons of chances to get free donuts

Throughout the year, the chain offers tons of promotions that allow customers to snag free sweets, whether to celebrate National Superhero Day or the #DayOfTheDozens. Pay attention so you don't miss out!


Mobile phone, 1973

Although it sure didn&rsquot look mobile, the first cell phone was invented in 1973 by Motorola. How exactly was this day marked? Martin Cooper, a senior engineer at the company, called rival telecommunications company Bell Laboratories to tell them he was speaking through a mobile phone.

The phone, which was a prototype of the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, is nothing like the smartphone you own today. It weighed nearly two and a half pounds, was over a foot in length, offered 30 minutes of talk-time and took 10 hours to charge. Worst of all, it didn't even connect to wifi.


Look Back at the Top 20 Pioneer Woman Recipes of 2020

It&rsquos almost time to say goodbye to 2020 for good.

This has certainly been a difficult year for everyone. But through all the tough times, people connected over one thing: Food! They tested sourdough starters, attempted homemade cinnamon rolls, and made batches and batches of banana bread.

While you probably didn&rsquot expect any banana treats from The Pioneer Woman (we all know how Ree feels about that 😂), you did make a ton of her delicious dishes. But which were the most popular Pioneer Woman recipes of 2020? You're about to find out!

Of course there&rsquos a ton of classic comfort food that came out on top, as well as some Drummond family favorites, like Ladd&rsquos beloved chocolate pie. There's also soup and pasta and pot pie, too. Heck, there's even a salad! You guys are wild.

Join us for a countdown of what you were all cooking during these trying times. And, while you&rsquore at it, let us know your absolute favorite in the comments!


4. Velvet Peanut Butter

Velvet has been a long-time classic since 1937. Though it went off the shelves in 1984, it returned in 2009 to the sheer delight of many. Rich and creamy, it is nostalgic for many Michigan residents (my mom included). It can be found in various grocery stores within the state, and it's now available for purchase on Amazon. If you're a peanut butter lover like me, give this one a try —10% of their annual profit goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, so there's really no better way to get your fill of this nut butter than with Velvet.


6. The Long Branch Saloon of “Gunsmoke” fame really did exist in Dodge City𠅊nd still does. Sort of.

Anyone who watched the television show “Gunsmoke” growing up is well acquainted with Miss Kitty’s Long Branch Saloon of Dodge City, Kansas. What viewers may not have realized is that the Long Branch really did exist. No one knows exactly what year it was established, but the original saloon burned down in the great Front Street fire of 1885. The saloon was later resurrected and now serves as a tourist attraction featuring a reproduction bar with live entertainment. According to the Boot Hill Museum, the original Long Branch Saloon served milk, tea, lemonade, sarsaparilla, alcohol and beer. Marshal Matt Dillon and Festus sporting milk mustaches? Now there’s a storyline.


Top 10 Foods of the Maya World

We may not realize it, but many of our favorite foods—from guacamole to tamales to chocolate—were discovered, developed, and refined centuries ago in the Maya world. Here are a few of our favorites.—By Michael Shapiro

Chocolate
Cacao is endemic to the lands of the Maya, who were the first to take the seeds of the fruit and roast them to make hot chocolate. The ancient Maya didn’t make candy bars, nor did they add sugar and milk to the cacao. Instead they took their chocolate as a ceremonial elixir and a savory mood enhancer. For the Maya, cacao was a sacred gift of the gods, and cacao beans were used as currency. Ek Chuah, the Maya god of merchants and trade, was also the patron of the cacao crop. When the Spanish invaded Maya lands in the 1500s, they adopted the beverage, adding sugar and milk to make it sweet and creamy. To learn more about cacao and taste chocolate, visit the Ecomuseo del Cacao in the Puuc region of Yucatán, www.ecomuseodelcacao.com.

Avocados and Guacamole
The avocado, originating in southern Mexico and Guatemala, is loved for its rich taste and creamy texture and was a treasured crop of the ancient Maya. Even today a person from Antigua Guatemala is called a panza verde, or green belly, because of the region's reliance on avocados in hard times.Combined with chilis, garlic, cilantro, onions, and lime or lemon, avocados become guacamole, a sumptuous appetizer. Don’t expect to find lots of Hass avocados in the Maya world—there are many other varieties, most of which are bigger.In 1917, Wilson Popenoe, a California Avocado Association explorer, reported why Guatemalan avocados are best: “The flesh is of a deeper yellow color, smoother, more buttery [in] texture, and richer [in] flavor than any varieties yet known in the United States.”

Poc Chuc
This distinctly Yucatecan dish dates to the days before refrigeration, when meat was preserved with salt. Slow-cooked pork is combined with sour orange juice and vinegar to temper the saltiness of the meat. The orange juice refreshes the salted pork and gives it a tangy flavor—“sour orange” is a variety of orange the juice hasn’t gone sour. The dish is topped with onions sauteed with coriander and a bit of sugar.Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, which serves Yucatecan specialties, says his favorite restaurant in Yucatán is Restaurante El Príncipe Tutul-Xiu, in Maní: “They make the best poc chuc on Earth!”

Michelada
Southern Mexicans like to add some spice to their food—and their beer. A michelada (or chelada in some parts) infuses cerveza with lime, coarse salt, pepper, and shots of Worcestershire and/or Tabasco sauce, served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass. Some versions also include soy sauce or Maggi seasoning. It sounds odd, but it’s refreshing and well suited to a hot day—or a rough morning.If the spices sound a bit much, try a simple version, which blends just lime juice and salt with a light beer, like Corona or Tecate. It’s so popular that Miller and Budweiser have created their own versions of michelada, but of course there’s nothing like the real thing.

Corn Tortillas
Handmade Guatemalan tortillas provide an elemental satisfaction. In outdoor markets, you can hear a rhythmic clapping as women pat them into shape, then cook them on a comal, a big wood-fired iron or clay pan that looks like a Caribbean steel drum. These tortillas are only three or four inches across but thicker than what North Americans are accustomed to.The Maya creation myth says people were made of masa (corn dough), and this remains the essential element of the indigenous Maya diet. Hot off the comal, tortillas are immensely satisfying, an ideal accompaniment to Guatemalan black beans, a perfect base for a layer of guacamole.

Traditional Breakfast
Simple foods are often the best. The typical Maya desayuno includes scrambled eggs, a side of black beans, fried plantains (akin to bananas but larger, with more complex flavor), a bit of queso blanco (white cheese), and a cup of rich coffee made from local beans. It’s all accompanied by a cloth-lined basket of warm yellow corn tortillas. After an all-night flight to Guatemala, I head straight to Antigua Guatemala’s Posada de Don Rodrigo and enjoy a morning feast in the hotel’s leafy courtyard, as a marimba band plays.

Coffee
Seeing where your coffee comes from is an eye-opening experience. The typical coffee plantation tour includes a visit to fields (and often an explanation about the virtues of shade-grown coffee), continues to areas where the beans are dried and processed, and ends with a cup of café. Finca Filadelfia, with views of distant volcanoes, offers tours near Antigua Guatemala. If you want more kick than a cup of joe offers, cap off your day with a ride on their zip line. Near Quetzaltenango, in Guatemala’s western highlands, an organic coffee and macadamia co-op farm called Comunidad Nueva Alianza is well worth visiting.

Two Refreshers: Jamaica and Horchata
At cantinas throughout the Maya world you’ll see big glass jugs with aguas frescas. The bright red drink is agua de jamaica, known simply as jamaica, (pronounced ha-MY-ka) made from hibiscus flower calyxes, water, and sugar. It’s high in vitamin C and an ideal way to temper the summer swelter. Another popular refresco in the Yucatán Peninsula and beyond is horchata, a blend of rice milk, ground almonds, cinnamon, and sugar. Some varieties have chufa (tiger nut), vanilla, or barley. The result is almost like a milkshake but not as thick or rich. A horchata complements spicy food.


12 Brands You Didn’t Know Were Actually Malaysian

Life is full of surprises. One minute you’re taking a snoozer, then your evil 4-year-old nephew chooses to fly like he’s in Neverland ON TOP OF your belly. One day you think the hot barrista from that hipster café has the hots for you because you caught her winking non-stop over your coffee, then you find out it’s just the pinkeye.

Just when you think you’ve maxed out your quota of surprises a full-grown person can handle in a year, you find out that San Francisco Coffee is not from San Francisco after all. Say vaaaat? Sorry bro but it’s true that your fancy foreign kopi is actually an original Malaysian brand…… Surprise.

Here are 12 brands you might have probably thought were from some exotic faraway land but in truth are from good ol’ Malaysia.

1. Lewré

Everyone knows Jimmy Choo is Malaysian but maybe you wouldn’t have guessed outright that Lewré is Malaysian… (maybe coz it’s missing a Choo or Tan or Wong?) Lewré was actually created by a Lew – Datuk Lewré Lew. Since it was launched in 1997, the brand has become much sought after by celebs and royalty. And now his designs are all over the world.

Dato Lewré Lew looks Malaysian enough. Image from Malaysian Digest

Here’s an interesting tidbit – Jimmy Choo is his mentor! “I am very lucky that my sifu, Datuk Jimmy generously shared his knowledge and contacts with me. Working with him has brought me to another level and has given me a better understanding about how a brand is built,” he remarked. Whenever he’s in London he spends time at Choo’s studio to sharpen his craft.

“ Shoes are very important for everyone, in particular ladies’ high heels. I had no idea until I put in the effort to learn more about feet. Shoes are so important as they hold your feet and carry you everywhere.” – Datuk Lewré Lew, The Star

2. San Francisco Coffee

Just the thing for crappy mornings. Image from My Deal

Are we 110% sure about this? Why not ask Google Maps. Oh mystical and mighty Google Maps – *sprinkles magic dust around* – is San Francisco Coffee from San Francisco at all?

From Frisco, your nearest San Francisco Coffee cafe is… 17 hours and 30 minutes away?! Screen cap from Google Maps

Yep that about answers our question. Thank you mystical and magical Google Maps.

But wait here’s a story most of you probably don’t know. There was once an American who lived in San Francisco for a time. He loved it so much there that when he decided to set up a café business in Malaysia in 1997, he named it San Francisco Coffee. It began as a single café and understood absolutely how important it is for every morning beast to get their fix before they start breathing fire over everybody.

The coffee establishment is now owned by Lyndarahim Ventures Sdn. Bhd. under Datuk Abdul Rahim Zin. It has grown to over 33 outlets within the Klang Valley, Marketing Manager Nik Azwaa told CILISOS.

3. BONIA (and Sembonia and Carlo Rino)

Hmmm why would anyone guess Bonia is probably like from Italy? Hmmm could be the Italiano-sounding names of its flagship and sister labels: BONIA, Pizza, Sembonia, Pasta, Carlo Rino, Aglio Olio, Super Mario, etc. Or maybe it’s just Italian inspired.

BONIA, The Italian Inspiration. Screencap from facebook.com

But in truth the brand is from spoiler: Malaysia Malaysia.

BONIA Corporation Berhad was founded in 1974 by Group Executive Chairman S.S. Chiang. In 1977 he visited the Leather Trade Fair in Bologna, Italy where he was inspired by the artwork of 16 th century sculptor, Giambologna.

Depictions of ham sap, otherwise known as art. Giambologna’s ‘Architettura’. Image from Wikimedia

From the men’s AW14/15 collection. Image from Bonia’s Facebook page

Additionally, the Group holds the license to distribute these other brands – Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, Austin Reed, Valentino Rudy, Jeep, The Savile Row Company, Braun Buffel, Pierre Cardin, Bruno Magli, Enrico Coveri, Renoma Café Gallery and Renoma.

4. The Manhattan FISH MARKET

Show of hands and wave, how many of you would have guessed The Manhattan FISH MARKET is from Manhattan? You just embarrassed yourself in public if you are reading this in public la.

Though the restaurant was inspired by the famous 180-year-old Fulton Fish Market, its founders (and best buds) George Ang and Dr. Jeffrey Goh are super proud of their Malaysian identity. “ When we opened The Manhattan Fish Market in Singapore, there was no escaping the cynicism and derisiveness but we managed to deflect the negativity once the disbelievers saw how our outlet reeled in the crowd night after night,” said Jeffrey. Suck it Singi.

Guys, you might want to turn on Safe Search for this next pic.

Grilled Flaming Lobster Platter. Image from The Manhattan FISH MARKET

Meanwhile there was a dispute between the restaurant and Fish & Co. which you can read more about here. To demonstrate to you in seafood form what the fight (did not) looked like…

“People are always surprised when they discover The Manhattan Fish Market is a Malaysian brand. What amazes them more is how well we have performed within such a short span of time,” George Ang, The Star

5. 1901 Hot Dog

La-la-la-la-la-la not listeniiiiiing.

Don’t be in denial la. We know with a name like 1901 Hot Dog, customers would conjure up images of late 19 th century America (before it became Murica), men in top hats and ladies carrying parasols…. HAD they stuck with their old logo. Remember this logo?

1901 Hot Dog’s old logo. Image from buddyfication.

But NINETEEN O One Sdn. Bhd. had a complete makeover in 2007 because the company had big plans to expand to a halal market in the Middle East and other Asian countries. Some pretty hot-doggity changes were made to outlets, positioning, products, logo and target market.

And so we got this logo now.

1901 Hot Dog’s new logo. Image from Franchise Malaysia.

For you nostalgic few who find it hard to accept change – yes even to the point of mourning a retired logo – let’s just say that 1901’s founders thought long and hard before saying good-bye to their iconic little dude in the suit and straw hat. Read what Co-founder Zakir Jaafar had to say about it.

Let’s backtrack a bit to the history of 1901. Zakir and Tengku Rozidar Tengku Zainol Abidin initiated their chain in 1997 and named it 1901 based on the story of how the ‘hot dog’ came about. In 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds, vendors were hawking hot dogs, shouting “They’re red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” New York Journal sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan drew a cartoon of barking dachshund sausages in warm rolls, but not knowing how to spell ‘dachshund’ he wrote ‘hot dog’. So the hot dog was born.

6. Gardenia

So you thought Gardenia was an American brand? Well the recipe and the face behind it may have been, but here’s how it went.

In 1969, Horatio ‘Sye’ Slocumm from Atlanta, US, travelled to East Malaysia, sent by the International Executive Service Corporation (IESC) to start a bakery. Gardenia Food Industries was established in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah by its founder Datuk Wong Tze Fatt with Slocumm’s bakery knowhow and Jim Humphries’ creamery experience. Until today, ‘Uncle Slocumm’s orignal recipe’ is still carried on the labels of its bread, Gardenia Bakeries KL’s Marcomm Department told CILISOS. Even the one in Singapore, which is a completely separate business entity.

How NOT to use a slice of Gardenia bread. Image from Eric Adamshick on Flickr.

Did you guys know you can go on a FREE factory tour? The Bread Time Story Tour shows you how all the treats and ends with some refreshment as well. Ha, ha, your eyes are probably perking up right now!

7. Fipper

Fipper’s Comfort range. Image from Fipper

Harrr? Fipper as in Feel The Rubber? Yes the very one.

We thought it might have hailed from the same places that produced Roxy, Havaianas, iPANEMA or some other sunkissed country like that. Ermm, OK la Malaysia is sunkissed but we sorta had California on our minds.

Jack Lim founded the brand in 2008. The slippers are priced at only RM13 to RM23 a pair and made of Thai rubber hence the little elephant logo. They can be found at a lot of places including petrol stations, hotels and convenience stores so in case the pair you’re wearing breaks, you can easily pick on up at these places.

Also you can use it to slap someone annoying or experiment with it for the buttered toast phenomenon to see whether it lands sole or strap-side down.

8. Beryl’s

The Camior range is from Beryl’s! Image from Beryl’s Chocolate

Beryl. What a sweet, classic name for a baby girl. To us it’s a feminine name of Sanskrit origin which means clear or pale precious stone. To geologists, beryl is a mineral composed of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate with the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3). So uhmm, if your name is Beryl and you’re looking for a cool alternative to sign your initials, you can go with Be3!

Beryl’s Chocolate and Confectionary was established in 1995. Crafted using cocoa beans from Ghana, it has over 70 types of chocolates including durian and chilli flavours. In fact the durian flavour has a bigger fanbase in Taiwan than in Malaysia itself!

Image from Beryl’s Chocolate on Facebook

If you’ve always wished you could be Charlie Bucket and take a trip around a chocolate factory, now you can. Beryl’s will give you a grand tour if you ask really nicely (ie. call to make an appointment). They can organise the tour in English, Malay, Mandarin or Cantonse.

9. Vochelle

Because once is not enough when it comes to chocolate, we have another Malaysian chocolate brand to share with you.

Image from Maestro Swiss Group

In old-skool block bars or covernut dragee form, Vochelle seeks to promote locally-made chocolates to the world. Vochelle is distributed by the Maestro Swiss Group which isn’t from Switzerland at all. And they proudly profess their Malaysian roots (under ‘Company Values’. Kalau under ‘Company Values’, pastilah benar).

Incidentally Maestro Swiss also manufactures Vico which everyone surely recognises as Malaysian.

All routes lead back to good old Malaysia. Map from Maestro Swiss Group

10. OGAWA

‘Ogawa’, meaning ‘stream’ in Japanese was used to create the brand’s concept of ‘starting from a river source and emerging at the end mighty as the ocean’. Wah, can write Chinese romantic fiction with this title. First you might think that the brand originated from Japan (abuden). Summore got Canto-star endorsing it leh…

Wong Lee Keong and Lim Poh Khian (Malaysians) built the brand in 1996 (Malaysia) so today, we (Malaysians) have this to thank them for.

Ahhhhhhhhhh. Smart Aire Plus 3D Zero Gravity Massage Chair. Image from OGAWA

How to make full use of your OGAWA massage chair? Let’s take a cue from Joey and Chandler.

11. British India

Image from EshiQa Honey Savannah Ranjan on Coroflot

WHAT?! No way! With a name like British India, you might have been forgiven if you had thought the brand was from either:

But the brand, presented as “an era of racism, oppression, injustice and nice outfits,” by Yasmin Ahmad – for an advertising campaign duh, not out of spite – is absolutely Malaysian.

Wrong occasion but right expression (and hand gesture) for the advertising campaign that Yasmin created for British India. Read it below. Image from uhcseas on Flickr

Yasmin worked on the tongue-in-cheek tagline for her good friend Pat Liew who is the founder of the fashion label. Read about how her hard work has paid off all these years here. In one of her anecdotes, Pat detailed difficult times too like in 2009 when Suria KLCC wanted to relocate the outlet to a less fabulous location. Fighting hard to keep her place but settling it very amicably, Pat managed to stay put in her prime location.

“It’s not just about having prime space for international brands, but also to showcase ‘Made in Malaysia’. I am Malaysian,” she expressed in The Star’s article. You tell it, Pat!

12. BUFORI

It’s the BUFORI GENEVA! Ermagerd… even for someone who knows zilch about cars. Image from BUFORI

OMG just look at those hot rods! It would have been more believable if someone told you the car drove right out of a 1930s gangster movie rather than out of…………… Kepong. BUFORI cars inspired by 1930s American coupes are hand-crafted in Kepong, KL! According to the brand, “THIS is one of the few places in the world where skilled craftsmen with a tradition of painstaking handwork can be found in great number.” *Snaps imaginary suspenders against chest proudly*

Originally, it was started by 3 Australian Lebanese brothers – Anthony, George and Gerry Khouri – in Australia. But in 1998 they moved full production to Kepong under Bufori Motor Car Company (M) Sdn. Bhd. So yes, that’s full operations moved HERE and craftsmenship from the good people of Malaysia. BUFORI stands for

B eautiful
U nique
F untastic
O riginal
R omantic
I rresistible

To get your hands on one of these show-offable cars there’s no such thing as a waiting list. From placing your order until final shipping you’ll have to wait about 4 to 6 months but it makes the day you get to take it home all the sweeter we’re sure. Here’s a review on the BUFORI La JOYA (La JOYA = ‘The Jewel’ in Spanish).

Wazzup with this obsession for international brands?

Yeah why? Why are Malaysians so obsessed with things that had to cross borders, oceans, mountains, streams, meadows, longkangs to be sold over here?

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations confirmed this stating that instead of buying cheaper in-house brands, consumers opt for branded items that are usually more expensive.

But all those brands mentioned above could totally trump the perception that overseas is better any day and at probably half the price to boot. Malaysians are capable of producing global standard stuff. Just look at the Khouri brothers who chose to operate BUFORI in Malaysia because of the talent here. And what about Cheong Choon Ng, Malaysian-born creator of the Rainbow Loom who, according to The Mirror, is worth GBP80 million (RM420 million) today!

In spite of all this, there are some elements that point to a changing tide. CEOs, bosses and top guns like Pat Liew who’s very proud of bringing her Malaysian brand, British India to an international market. And buddies George Ang and Jeffrey Goh who pwned the Singaporeans when their first Manhattan FISH MARKET on the island was a hit. Even Datuk Jimmy Choo declared his pride of being a Malaysian. He explained that while it was important to promote international brands, it was equally important for local designers to be given adequate support.

So 3 cheers for us. Hip-hip-hurrah. Pats on the back. Pop the champagne. Kthnxbai.


10 things you (probably) didn't know about Tunnock's

There are several essential things most people in Scotland (and elsewhere) are likely to add to their list of things they'd need to survive on a desert island, but we are guessing that more than a few would have Tunnock's Teacakes or Caramel Wafers written down in the top 5.

Few things made visiting an elderly relative's better than the obligatory offering of some form of Tunnock's treats, be it the luxurious Teacake, the delicious Wafer or on the odd occasion the mildly exotic Snowball.

In fact, most Scots would probably have 'do a Tunnock's factory tour' on their list of 'Scottish things to do before you die'.

It's the one ice breaker guaranteed to bring any Scottish people in a room together: "What's your favourite Tunnock's - the Teacake, the Caramel Wafer, the Caramel Log or the Snowball?"

Almost as iconic as Irn Bru, smoked salmon, haggis or whisky, here are 10 things you (probably) didn't know about one of Scotland's best love confectionery companies:

1. The company was formed by Thomas Tunnock as Tunnock's in 1890, when he purchased a baker's shop in Lorne Place, Uddingston.

Thomas Tunnock with his son Archie. Picture: TSPL

The company grew from these humble beginnings into a successful private baking company before striking it rich with their confectionery line.

In a recent interview with the Telegraph, Boyd Tunnock, Thomas' grandson said: "Between the wars, my father [Archie] was the biggest private caterer in the Glasgow area. I have all his daybooks from 1933 to 1942 – we take them to exhibitions and someone will say, 'Your father did my granny’s wedding,' so we’ll look it up and there it is."

Originally bought for just £80, The company now makes 80 tonnes of caramel each week – 1.5 tonnes an hour.

Caramel is poured out of bubbling cauldron. Picture: TSPL

They buy in around 25 tonnes of coconut a month and around 15 tonnes of cocoa butter each week.

With these ingredients they make between ten and 12 million biscuits and cakes each week, including around 5 million wafers (referenced on the wafer packaging) and 3 million tea cakes.

2. Tunnock's sells in more than 40 countries and is extremely popular in the Middle East

The Tunnock's Boy. Picture: Wikimedia

The Uddingston-based biscuit company ships to more than 40 countries worldwide and is very popular in the Middle East, with Iraq and Kuwait, making up around 20 per cent of its total exports.

The family baker recently revealed that Yemen had taken delivery of 300,000 Caramel Wafers in the last 12 months alone.

Caramel Wafers are also a big hit in Kuwait, where they are known as 'boy biscuits’ after the face of the Tunnock's boy (who has never been named) on the box.

The first products exported by the company were Caramel Logs to Newfoundland, Canada in 1957, while Trinidad loves Caramel Wafers and Wafer Creams and even the Faroe Islands are reported to eat around 125,000 Caramel Wafers a year.

All this success and the company still only has one export sales manager and he apparently doesn’t travel abroad.

3. Boyd Tunnock, inventor of the Teacake has a very special Tunnock's notebook

Boyd Tunnock with staff on the caramel wafers production line. Picture: TSPL

Boyd Tunnock, the inventor of the Teacake, carries a very special notebook in which he has written down all that he needs to know about the family company. The notebook's contents, which includes all the latest sales figures and company statistics, also has the recipes for his signature creations and ideas for future recipes.

Apparently, he even keeps a small circle in the notebook, drawn onto the inside cover, with which he measures the baked biscuit bases for the Teacakes to ensure they are just the right size.

4. The giant Tunnock's Teacakes from the Commonwealth games opening ceremony were put up for auction

The Tunnock's dancers at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Picture: TSPL

That's right, you could have bought and owned one of these amazing pieces of memorabilia. We wish we had, just so we could have been as cool as the guy in the bottom right.

The giant Teacakes were sold as exclusive, limited-edition mementos and even came complete with hologram and letter of authenticity.

Tunnock's was such a hit at the Opening Ceremony that Waitrose revealed that in the weeks following the performance sales of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes soared by 62 per cent!

In fact, the company even reported this year that they made a whopping 15 million rise in tea cakes sold since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

5. Tunnock's have featured on T-shirts, been the inspiration for wedding cakes and have even had some of their products miniaturised for doll's houses

The Tea Cake company’s clothing collection includes t-shirts, hooded sweaters and beanie hats.

The Tunnock's T(ea) Shirt with the caramel wafer logo. Picture: Tunnock's

They have also sold cufflinks with caramel wafer logos and a Tunnock’s Rubik’s Cube.

Tunnock's products have even been miniaturised and sold as doll house furniture.

Dolls house maker Sheena Hinks holds her miniature Tea cakes and Irn Bru creations. Picture: TSPL

They have even served as inspiration for a wedding cake, with Mathew Watt, 37, and wife Siobhan, 34, going a bit further than the average couple with their love for the Teacake.

The couple spent £395 on this super-sized chocolate sponge wedding cake, topped with red and silver icing to recreate the famous wrapper.

The Tunnock's themed wedding cake. Picture: TSPL

Mr Watt, an interior designer, told the Scotsman: “On the day, the cake actually got more attention than we did, but that wasn’t a bad thing. We were very happy with it.”

And they are not the only ones to share their love of Tunnock's on their wedding day, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is said to have commissioned Tunnock's to make her wedding cake.

6. There's been an art exhibition dedicated to the company

Tunnocks exhibition at the Glasgow Print Studio. Assistant Olivia Bliss moves the artworks around. Picture: Robert Perry

In 2010, the Glasgow Print Studio held an art exhibition, Tunnocked, in which artists honoured the humble Teacake as well as its cousins, the Caramel Wafer and the Snowball.

Among the 40 different pieces of art inspired by the delicious products created by Tunnock's, was one Caramel Wafer which had been placed behind glass for emergencies, so essential was it to artist Harry Magee.

7. Tunnock's products have many celebrity fans, including several world famous pop stars

Chris Martin, the Coldplay singer, has said of his favourite treats: "You can’t choose between the Caramel Wafer and the Tea Cake – they’re like Lennon and McCartney, you can’t separate them."

While Howard Donald, of Take That fame, was delighted after fans from Manchester bought him a Tunnock's Teacake birthday cake which was presented to him on stage in Glasgow.

Singer Amy MacDonald even suggested she'd have loved to have been one of the dancers inside a giant Tunnock's at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

8. Alex Salmond once greeted Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch with a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer and a cup of tea

The First Minister admires a Tunnock's Teacake for a photshoot at the Uddingston factory. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Alex Salmond apparently offered a Caramel Wafer and a cup of tea to Rupert Murdoch while he was entertaining the boss of News International at Bute House.

Alex Salmond reassured MSPs during the subsequent FMQs when he was questioned about the visit, that there was no fancy stuff involved. “There were no oysters. All you get at Bute House is a cup of tea and a Tunnock's caramel wafer.”

We are sure MrMurdoch was more than happy to accept the offering!

9. Tunnock's once took on the tax man over the classification of their snowballs, and won!

Workers pack Teacakes at the Tunnock's factory.
Picture: Robert Perry

Tunnock's, teamed up with rival Lee's, to challenge a ruling that saw them pay tax on their snowballs, placing them under “standard-rated confectionery”, which classified them as a biscuit.

Judges Anne Scott and Peter Sheppard, from the First-Tier Tax Tribunal, tested a plate of treats including Jaffa cakes, Bakewell tarts and meringues – all classified as cakes for tax purposes – as they made their decision.

Ms Scott then said: “A snowball looks like a cake. It is not out of place on a plate full of cakes. A snowball has the mouth feel of a cake.”She added: “Although by no means everyone considers a snowball to be a cake, we find that these facts mean that a snowball has sufficient characteristics to be characterised as a cake. For all these reasons, the appeals succeed.”

Tunnock’s received a rebate of just over £800k after both companies won their appeals.

10.The company is so successful that Boyd Tunnock is now on the Sunday Times rich list

With a net worth of £75 million pounds - the minimum needed to make the cut in Scotland - Boyd Tunnock is now on the Sunday Times Rich list.

11. Even Squirrels apparently love Tunnock's Teacakes

A squirrel enjoys a Tunnock's Teacake taken from a bin in Glasgow's Kelvingrove park. Picture: Mike McGurk

This cheeky chappy was spotted enjoying a Teacake in Kelvingrove park one afternoon.