Singapore – Former Mediacorp DJ Daniel Ong will be opening a steakhouse in mid-April. It’s a “product of necessity” due to the lack of income caused by the Twelve Cupcakes case, he said.
Back in 2020, Mr Ong closed all three outlets of his restaurant, Rookery, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 45-year-old is making a comeback to the food and beverage industry by opening a steakhouse called Dan’s Steaks.
Mr Ong told 8 Days that opening a steakhouse was a “product of necessity” as he had no income after the Twelve Cupcakes incident.
Twelve Cupcakes is a homegrown confectionary chain founded in 2011 by Mr Ong and his then-wife and former model Jaime Teo Chai-lin, 43.
Between 2013 and 2014, a total of seven foreign workers employed at Twelve Cupcakes were underpaid.
In 2016, Mr Ong and Ms Teo sold the company to Kolkata-based Dhunseri Group for S$2.5 million.
On Feb 4, Ms Teo pleaded guilty to 10 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and was fined S$65,000 on Tuesday (March 9).
Twelve Cupcakes’ current owner was also fined S$119,500 on Jan 12 for underpaying seven of its foreign employees in 2017 and 2018. One of them received only about half the declared salary at times.
The court heard on March 9 that the balance of salary totalling S$98,900 from the time the couple owned the company remains unpaid.
Mr Ong told 8 Days, “Because of the Twelve Cupcakes incident, I lost all my income from my renovation business. Clients pulled out, and I basically had no income. I was forced to rethink my life and how I’m gonna put food on the table for my family, and one thing I can do is cook. So Dan’s Steaks itself is a product of necessity and a product of people egging me on and giving me encouragement.”
Mr Ong was also charged with 24 counts under the Act last year. His case is pending. Dan’s Steaks began as a home-based business in May 2020 during the circuit breaker period. He sold steaks, honey balsamic tomatoes, garlic cheese pasta, mashed potatoes, and garlic confit, according to its Instagram page.
However, as more people began to dine out when Phase 2 started, Mr Ong announced that he would be closing the business on Sep 30, 2020.
In an Instagram post on Jan 30, Mr Ong announced that they’ve been working hard on an upcoming steakhouse that would feature “a new menu, new sides, new cocktail and drinks menu”. It will be located in Serangoon Gardens, with Mr Ong at the helm of operations, the report noted./TISG
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