Creating Social Impact
& Delivering Memorable Experiences

Join Us in Making A Positive Difference in Singapore Today!

About Food Playground

Food Playground is a hands-on cooking school offering cultural cooking classes and corporate team building workshops since 2012. We operate out of a pre-war heritage shophouse in the heart of Singapore's Chinatown, and have a unique social mission of providing flexi-work employment opportunities for stay-at-home mothers and active seniors who have limited avenues to return to the workforce. Being a social enterprise, we empower these women through structured training in facilitation and public speaking to develop them into confident culinary instructors and event facilitators. We invite you to join us in this meaningful cause while meeting your objectives of having an unforgettable cooking experience with us.

Our signature Cultural Cooking Class offers a cultural immersion experience for travellers and expatriates to learn more about Singapore’s food heritage, while our customized team-building programmes help organizations bond and achieve various corporate objectives like assimilating new team members, breaking down silos, enhancing creativity and learning.

We believe that food forms an important part of culture and part of the joys of traveling is to be able to appreciate local food from a local's perspective. We want visitors to our cooking school to walk away not only knowing more about the Singapore food culture and heritage but also with more motivation and "courage" to try out local cuisine.

Food Playground is consistently ranked the #1 Cooking School in Singapore on Tripadvisor, and is featured and recommended in Lonely Planet Singapore guidebook. Our flagship Cultural Cooking Class programme is the recipient of the 'Best Learning & Travel Experience' at the 2013 Singapore Tourism Awards. Our commitment to go the extra mile for our customers has also been publicly recognized when we were awarded the prestigious 'Singapore Service Excellence Medallion' in 2015. Our dedication to employee well-being is also the main reason why Food Playground was recently awarded GOLD for Excellence in Work-Life Balance at the 2017 HR Excellence Awards.

Our Team

Daniel Tan Profile Photo

Daniel
[ Founder ]

Daniel is passionate about creating social impact and championing the underdogs. He quit his corporate career in the travel industry to start Food Playground in 2012, and has never looked back since.

The inspiration to set up Food Playground came from Daniel's adventure travels across South America and Southeast Asia in 2011. He had the opportunity to learn how to cook Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian and a variety of Latin American cuisine during his travels, and discovered that cooking classes enabled him to dive deep into a country’s local culture by connecting with locals and appreciating the stories behind local heritage food.

Through Food Playground, Daniel has inspired many stay-at-home mothers to return to the workforce by providing them with flexi-work arrangements and opportunities to regain their confidence and discover their hidden talents. The unfortunate reality is that many stay-at-home mothers and active seniors face overwhelming obstacles in finding meaningful work because of their need for flexi-work arrangements. Daniel firmly believes that this group of women has so much to offer and contribute, which is why every single employee in Food Playground is either a stay-at-home mother or an active senior.

Helen Profile Photo

Helen
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Helen began her casual cooking affair about 25 years ago. From the humble beginnings of cooking simple meals for friends, her interest and love for cooking gradually grew. Largely inspired by both her Teochew mum and Peranakan mother-in-law, Helen subsequently grew her repertoire to include dishes unique to the South-East Asian cuisine. Growing from strength to strength, she has mastered peranakan and local chinese recipes ranging from kueh ko swee, pineapple tarts and kueh lapis to mee siam, meat dumplings, laksa and local favourites like bak-kwa, steamed pumpkin cakes and meat dumplings. She is well versed in numerous dishes from both western and local cuisines, many of which were brought down by through family traditions.

For leisure, Helen enjoys spending time with her family and friends over a meal. As an instructor, Helen hopes to impart her love for cooking to everyone she meets. 

Lesley Profile Photo

Lesley
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Growing up with grandmothers who were  excellent cooks, Lesley has always been drawn to the kitchen. Having a mum  who’s an avid baker helped ignite a love for baking. Lesley’s 10 years stint in  neighbouring Malaysia gave her the luxury of time to develop her passion in  cooking and hone her craft.

Lesley had been a stay-at-home mum for 16  years until she joined the team in December 2013. Food Playground is truly a haven  for her to return to work in a familiar environment, i.e. the kitchen. The best part of the job is that she gets to engage in her favourite activity: cooking.  

Mary Profile Photo

Mary
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Mary's love for cooking was triggered at a tender age by her mother's deep-rooted Teochew culinary traditions. Besides perfecting her craft in traditional Teochew favourites, Mary enjoys cross-cultural food exploration, often trying out new dishes that feature influences from various countries. Past experiences in sales and organising MICE travels has given Mary an edge to inject fun and meaningful culinary experiences to every class she conducts at Food Playground. Going forward, Mary aspires to become a prominent Singapore Ambassador through sharing Singapore's food heritage and culture with visitors from around the world.

Lois Profile Photo

Lois
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Born in Singapore to Chinese parents, one of Lois' fondest childhood memories is helping her mum make Chinese Hokkien dishes like Ngoh Hiang for Lunar New Year celebrations.After 12 years working in corporate travel services, Lois got married and moved to Europe with her husband. It was then that she began experiencing seasonal local produce and improvising Asian recipes to satisfy her innate cravings. At the same time, Lois started her own food diary in Facebook, so as to share her cooking experiences with family and friends back home. Being a typical Singaporean, Lois loves to talk about food and share recipes, hence working with her fellow team-mates and every participant who walks into the cooking studio, has been a great joy.

Sara Profile Photo

Sara
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Born as the eldest child of a humble single-parent family, Sara helmed the domestic chores of taking care of her siblings and took on the duty of cooking all meals for them. Her love for her family fuelled her passion to replicate the delectable restaurant dishes which they could then not afford in her own kitchen, as a way of showering her love for the siblings. The love for the culinary journey grew when she married into a true-blue Peranakan family where her grandmother-in-law spared no efforts to introduce and share with her the authentic Perankan recipes, much to Sara's delight. She became the undisputed cook for the family for all special occasions and festivities.

However as life took an unexpected turn, a tragic incident occurred. Sara's son, Max collapsed during his weekly soccer game, and passed away just a few days short of turning 21. Sara's world crashed, just like any mother would. Despite such devastation, Sara believed in staying strong for Max. She joined Food Playground to honour her love for her Number 1 Fan with the motivation to spread love and passion through cooking.Sara hopes her cooking can warm many children's heart, just like how it did for her son who proudly called her his 'MasterChef'.

Yih Yin Profile Photo

Yih Yin
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Growing up in a traditional Hakka Chinese family, Yih Yin’s mum would sometimes rope her in to help with simple kitchen chores, but she was largely encouraged to stay out of the kitchen and focus on studies. It was only when she became a mum herself that she started to appreciate the importance of home-cooked meals and the sweat and toil that goes into preparing healthy and wholesome, yet delicious meals for the family. When Yih Yin moved into her first home after marriage, this home came with an oven, a kitchen appliance her family home didn’t have, and she discovered a whole new world of culinary adventures with an oven! Now a mother of three young children, Yih Yin likes to meddle around in the kitchen and experiment with recipes to prepare wholesome and healthy dishes for her family.

Yih Yin was a Business Process Analyst in the IT industry before switching to sales eight years ago. Recently, she left this position to pursue her interests in home and wellness. She chanced upon Food Playground and thought it’d be a great avenue for her to pursue her interest in cooking and interaction with people from different walks of life. She aims to bring fun and laughter to participants through cooking and eating and to encourage them that if Yih Yin can cook, so can they!

Teresa Profile Photo

Teresa
[ Culinary Instructor ]

Teresa's interest in cooking was sparked by her mum when she was a kid. Inspired by her mum, Teresa's favourite dishes that she learnt from her mum include ondeh ondeh,egg tarts and mee koon kueh.

After her marriage, Teresa had the opportunity to hone her cooking skills further from her Teochew mother-in-law who was also a passionate cook. In recent years, Teresa found a new love in baking, and now enjoys making breads and buns to share with her friends.

Teresa will always remember her mum's favourite words that "food always bring people together".

Join Our Team

Unlike other culinary schools in Singapore, we have a meaningful social mission that underlies the way we operate at Food Playground. We provide dignified employment for stay-at-home mothers and active seniors who can contribute to our team, either as cooking instructors, kitchen helpers, or simply a member of our administrative team. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience that stay-at-home mothers and senior citizens have in our society, but in many instances there are limited avenues to engage these talents and integrate them back into society.

Our team of culinary instructors and facilitators absolutely love our friendly flexi-work arrangements and the opportunity to pursue their passion in the work they do, rather than merely working for a pay check. In fact, Food Playground is the only cooking school in Singapore to be awarded GOLD for Excellence in Work-Life Balance at the 2017 HR Excellence Awards, which speaks volume of our strong focus on employee well-being.

Here's your opportunity to join our fun-loving family. We are currently on the lookout for stay-at-home mothers and active seniors who are passionate about cooking to join us in the following positions: 

Culinary Instructor Thumbnail

Culinary Instructor, 
Cultural Cooking 
(Flexi-Work)

Responsibilities:
1) Organize and conduct hands-on cultural cooking class according to roster
2) In charge of all the food preparation before and after the class
3) Guide participants on all aspects of the cooking process during the workshop
4) Share useful foodie tips to participants to help them dive deep into our food culture
5) Conduct ice-breaker games and other activities if necessary

Requirements:
1) Loves to cook and proud of her culinary skills in either Peranakan cuisine or Asian food
2) Loves all aspects of cooking including food preparation
3) Able to multi-task very well i.e. cook and talk at the same time
4) Enjoy meeting people (especially tourists) and sharing her own personal stories with others
5) Is a self-professed foodie and loves to go grocery shopping or visit the wet market
6) Available to work on Monday-Saturday mornings 

Working Hours:
7:30am - 1:30pm (Mondays-Fridays: 6 hours per session)
2-3 days a week (flexi-work arrangement)

Culinary Facilitator Thumbnail

Culinary Facilitator, 
Team-Building
(Flexi-Work)

Responsibilities:
1) Organize and conduct hands-on cooking team-building workshops
2) Conduct briefings and debriefings before and after each team-building workshop
3) Guide participants on all aspects of the cooking process during the workshop
4) Work closely with other instructors to ensure all food preparation is done before each workshop
5) Conduct ice-breaker games and other team-building activities if necessary

Requirements:
1) Well versed in baking and cooking techniques
2) Loves all aspects of cooking including food preparation
3) Able to multi-task very well i.e. cook and talk at the same time
4) Confident of speaking in public, especially in front of groups of 10 and above
5) Available to work on weekday afternoons AND weekday evenings

Working Hours:
12:00pm - 6:30pm, or 3:30pm - 10pm (Mondays-Fridays: 6.5 hours per session)
2-3 days a week (flexi-work arrangement)

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Digital Content Writers
(Freelance)

We are looking for freelance content writers to research and write highly engaging content to be used on our website and social media platforms. These stories will cover the latest trends in food, tourism, culture and things to do in Singapore etc. If you have excellent writing and/or editing skills and a passion for digital media, this is the perfect position for you.

Requirements: 
1) Strong writing skills & excellent command of English, both written and oral
2) Knowledge of SEO, experience in digital media and copywriting
3) Journalism experience will be an advantage.

If these qualities describe you well, we love to hear from you today. Please get in touch with Daniel at enquiries@foodplayground.com.sg

What The Media Says

Do you know that our hands-on cooking programmes have been extensively featured and recommended in Singapore's mainstream media and regional travel publications? Click on below articles to find out what the media have to say about our programmes: 

Business Times Logo

Play With Your Food

"It's more than just learning how to cook. It's spending time to cook with your colleagues and like-minded people. Everyone will be engaged and have a meaningful time..." 

TTG Mice Logo

TTG Great Cook Out: 
A Case Study

"The kitchen represents a microcosm of the working world, with deadlines, decision-making and collaboration necessary to succeed...”

Straits Times Logo

Cooking classes with a social mission

"The classes are designed to fulfil a greater purpose - getting to know Singapore better through learning about its food culture, or promoting team-building - not just to teach people how to cook."

Chicago Booth Magazine Logo

A life-changing year of travel inspired Daniel Tan to start a social enterprise with sizzle

"Cooking-class students get to hear authentic stories about Singapore’s rich food history directly from sources who have grown up enjoying and creating the cuisine..."

Singapore Logo

Getting a taste of multicultural Singapore through its food

"Social enterprise Food Playground introduces foreign guests to Singapore’s culinary tradition through cooking classes conducted by stay-at-home mothers and seniors...."

MIX Logo

Food For Thought

"Food Playground offers groups the chance to cook their way to a Singaporean cultural connection..."

Our Awards & Accolades

Singapore Tourism Awards Logo

Singapore Tourism Awards
2013

Our signature Cultural Cooking Class is the winner of ‘Best Learning & Travel Experience’ from the 2013 Singapore Tourism Awards.

Singapore Service Medallion Logo

Singapore Service Excellence Medallion
2015

We have been awarded the prestigious ‘Singapore Service Excellence Medallion’ for pushing the boundaries to deliver highest levels of customer satisfaction and organisational service excellence.

Tripadvisor Awards Logo

Tripadvisor
Certificate of Excellence
2017

We are a proud recipent of the 2017 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently achieving glowing traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past years.

Food Trekking Awards Logo

World Food Travel Food Trekking Awards
2018

We are awarded runner-up for the Best Cooking School/Class at the 2018 Food Trekking Awards, organized by The World Food Travel Association to recognize excellence in food and beverage experiences for travelers.