Name: Yuan Oeij
Date of birth: 26 February 1969
Occupation: Chairman, The Privé Group
How he got started: Oeij started off in the Finance industry after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. However, his keen interest in food saw him taking the plunge and pursuing his passion when he was in his 30s. In 1985, he started a salad shop project (much like Salad Stop and the likes), but quickly realised the market was not quite ready for it at that time. He then decided to offer 'Chef for' Hire services whist pondering his next move. When the opportunity came up to takeover a failed restaurant off River Valley Road, he jumped right in and opened his first restaurant — Brown Sugar. A year later, he managed to secure a large waterfront space on Singapore's only private island at Keppel Bay and the very first Privé outlet was born.
Notable achievements: Managing to grow The Privé Group organically (the company has received no additional investments since 2009), from one location in Keppel Bay to more than 10 outlets within a decade. Oeij is also a 2010 honouree for the Spirit of Enterprise Awards.
Something you might not have known about him: During his National Service days, he had ambitions of being a photographer, but the Singapore upbringing got the better of him and he went down the conventional educational route. The reason he went into the F&B business started with his dreams of becoming a chef. His desire for work-life balance prevailed and he ended up being a restaurateur. Today, he is only a chef at home and still takes many of the food photographs used in The Privé Group.
A quote he lives by: "Be kind."
Read more about The Prive Group and Yuan Oeij here.