If you’re a white collar worker who’s struggling to strike a balance between indulgence and health, you could possibly find a friend in Alexis Bauduin of YOLO. One glance at this charismatic man, and you wouldn’t think that at one point in his life he was feeling burnt out from being unable to feed his body right due to his socially demanding career. The success of YOLO was definitely not something that occurred overnight, but a rewarding result of his commitment and passion for helping others find a wholesome and nutritious spot that serves mouth-watering food. YOLO’s menu is broken down into a few categories, based on what you feel your diet needs are, complete with calorie count labels – for those who are sticklers for details! Meet the man behind this fierce up-and-coming health establishment that’s bound to get you returning for more.
What inspired your establishment?
I was a white collar individual travelling constantly, eating out a lot with clients and just felt that it was so difficult to control my diet. Although I was always on the lookout for healthy places, the choices available were just not for me. I felt that eating something healthy and tasty was not possible. I wanted to create a product that would healthy options approachable, enticing, but also a lot more fun than what was out there. As I started to look into it from a business point of view, I realised that the healthy concept was just not relatable to the mass market. That was how YOLO was born – as a product that serves all the dishes that you love, made healthy and presented into different menus offering different benefits to help you #eatyourgoals!
What was the biggest challenge you have had to overcome professionally?
Nothing can compare to having your own business. I was an Asia Pacific Director inside the LVMH group, went through the toughest job application on The Apprentice Asia and worked for Tony Fernandes, but nothing challenges you more than running your own business. When you choose the F&B industry, especially in Singapore, execution will always be the toughest part of the job. What we do is so controlled that it demanded so much time, preparation and efforts to get right!
What do you believe to be the secret ingredient to a restaurant’s success?
I have been in touch with the F&B industry for a really long time and of course everybody will tell you that if you sell tasty food, you will succeed. There’s some truth to that but it also has its obstacles. What is super important is the environment and ambience of your place, because this is what takes a business to the next level. This comes through your staff, the design, music – it all comes together to create a vibe, and if you get it right, coupled with the right energy and great tasting food, you will kill it!
What common misconceptions do people hold about your job? What’s true, what is not?
I think people don’t realise how tough this business is. It is a lot of constant hard work, as you always have to make sure you stay consistent and relevant!
What is the funniest thing you have read about yourself in the media?
That I am from Morocco. I’m from Monaco, not Morocco!
Singaporean influencers have been incremental in adopting early to a variety of social media platforms. Apart from your website, your brand is also shown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. How important do you think these platforms are in getting your message across?
As a brand, you need to communicate with your audience, and majority of the audience is on social media. When it comes to the food and beverage (F&B) industry, it’s even more important since what we do is very visual. So it’s super important to not only put your message across, but also to interact with your clients as they are your ambassadors and post about you!
What is your favourite food in Singapore?
Nothing beats a good Chilli Crab! It’s my biggest weakness.
Your biggest culinary sin?
I just love desserts too much; I have such a sweet tooth! My favourite dessert is apple crumble! But the YOLO cookies are right up there too!
History typically plays an intrinsic role in the cuisines a nation eats – how has this affected Singaporean food and/or its food scene in general?
I feel that Singapore has historically had a culture of constant change due to the young age of the country. That being said, Singaporeans are extremely proud of their food culture – it’s one of the main talking points in everyday conversation. My whole approach to this shift in clean eating has incorporated this national pride. As you will notice, many of my meals are variations of Asian dishes, promoting popular local favourites with a healthy twist. Examples of this are our healthy-inspired Chicken Rice and Cauliflower Fried Rice. It’s all about allowing people to change their thinking while remaining at least partially in their comfort zone.
A must-try recipe for lazy week night?
At night, you should try to go low-carb! But doesn’t mean you cannot go for tasty food. Our Cauliflower Fried Rice does the trick! It is our signature dish and a great carb replacement meal as we use shredded cauliflower instead of rice. It’s tasty, healthy and low in calories at only 290 calories!
Which are your 5 favourite places to enjoy good food globally?
STK in Las Vegas has awesome steak, while Mr & Ms Bund in Shanghai is recommended for an amazing French fusion experience. Café Gratitude in Los Angeles is a must for great healthy food, Yoshi in Monaco is tops for amazing Japanese food and La Bodega Negra for a great Mexican food and a killer atmosphere!
Which latest trend restaurant do we have to try?
YOLO, of course!
Do any of your friends or family members influence you in your decision when it comes to what you serve in the restaurant?
I took one of the dishes that my mum used to make for us when we were kids. It’s the lamb shoulder in lentil stew. We had to tweak it a bit to make it extra healthy, but we still managed to get all the same good old flavours!
What was the funniest / most surprising / best / most gruesome food delivery experience you have had so far?
I did make a delivery one time where the customer asked me if I had change for a $1,000 note. He was dead serious about it too.
Which traits and characteristics of service, based on your own experiences, matter most in premium food delivery?
When it comes to delivery, the basics are what really matter. First, make sure the ordering experience is simple and convenient. Second, make sure you respect the delivery timing, which is usually a bit of a struggle out there! Last, but not least, make sure the food is still warm. Of course it will help if the delivery person is nice and has a great attitude, but I feel the customer will be mostly concerned about the first three factors.
Complete the sentence: On Saturdays, I am most likely to…
Eat out and relax! We are closed on Sundays so this is the one time in the week when I get to sleep late and wake up late!
What is your biggest dream for the future, and how are you hoping to achieve it?
I want to improve how people eat and raise the awareness that healthy eating can be really tasty, enjoyable and fun – all at the same time!
Finally, share your very own signature dish and its recipe with us!
I just love cauliflower rice, so I have so many variations to it. It is just so simple to make. Cut cauliflower into smaller pieces, put that in a blender till it’s very crumbly. Then I just add some chicken, veggies like capsicum, eggs, onions and a bit of tamari sauce to cook it. It’s easy and delicious, and best of all, low carb! I would say it’s a great dish to eat without the guilt!
Bauduin is determined to shift the mind set of all of us that healthy food doesn’t equate to scrimping on flavour, and with YOLO he’s definitely made an outstanding first impression. With the health scene in Singapore picking up, YOLO’s Asian-inspired menu is only looking to grow and include so many more of our local favourites – without worrying about our waistlines!
Wani’s writing has always spoken on her behalf far more than the spoken word. Her emotional relationship with food is almost as intense as her crazy love for HIIT workouts. Having had experience writing about all things lifestyle, Wani now embarks on her freelance journey on foodpanda Magazine.