The Golden Gardenia Era 1960-2004

Founding Asia’s Gardenia Breads Brand

US styled Sliced Sandwich Bread Loaf was first introduced to S.E. Asia in 1966 by Wong Tze-Fatt and retailed as an in-store brand in his Tong-Hing Supermarket at 55 Gaya Street, Kota-Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

In 1967 Borneo Airways who were Tze-Fatt’s airline-customer at Sabah Malaysia’s Kota-Kinabalu International Airport (previously British North Borneo Jesselton Airport) specified Sandwiches to be provided by Gardenia In-Flight Kitchen and served as in-flight meals on board their commercial local routes within British North Borneo.

At the time Tze-Fatt’s Tong-Hing Supermarket’s in-store bakery could not cope with the quality and quantity demands of a growing Gardenia In-Flight Kitchen business; and so to meet his contractual obligations, Tze-Fatt approached the Trade Consul at the U.S Embassy in Singapore to find a U.S Master Baker with a view to start-up a modern Gardenia Brand bakery production line in Kota-Kinabalu.

In 1971 Tze-Fatt engaged Mr Sye Slocum of Birmingham Alabama USA on a 3 year contract as Master Baker to start-up Kota-Kinabalu’s first modern Gardenia Brand bakery. Sye Slocum and Tze-Fatt setup the founding quality, values, principles, recipes and processes for the bakery operations of production marketing and branding of Gardenia Breads.

By the end of 1971 Sye Slocum had trained Gardenia Bakery’s first set of bakers and set-up the first Gardenia Bakery Plant at the back of Tong-Hing Supermarket 55 Gaya Street, Kota-Kinabalu, Sabah. During his 3 years contract Sye Slocum adapted his Uncle Slocum’s “Original” Recipe for a continental North American style enriched Sliced Sandwich Bread to cope with the demands of baking in Sabah’s difficult working environment. (In 1974 Sye Slocum finally retired with over 60 years experience and commitment to his career in the North American baking-industry and returned home to the United States).

In 1974, Gardenia In-Flight Catering Services was invited by Royal Brunei Airlines to extend its in-flight and in-airport catering services provider operations to Negara Brunei Darussalam International Airport at Bandar Seri Begawan.

In 1975 Tze-Fatt incorporated Gardenia Food Industries Pty Ltd (GFI) in both East Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam; and GFI (Brunei) bakery wholesale bread production and distribution began operations in Berakas town to support GFI in-flight and in-airport catering services operations at Brunei Darussalam International Airport. (In 1990 GFI bakery operations was relocated from Berakas to Gadong (Yong Siong-Hai building); and in 2006 GFI bakery operations moved into its present modern bakery plant at Beribi Light Industries Complex).

In 1978 Tze-Fatt incorporated Gardenia International (S) Pte Ltd in Singapore and the company set-up Gardenia Brand in-store bakery business at Bukit-Timah Shopping Mall along the Bukit-Timah Road operating alongside Gardenia’s Happy-Kappy Ice-Cream Parlour and Wishbone Coffeehouse.

1981 Tze-Fatt re-engaged Sye Slocum on a three year contract to setup and relocate Gardenia Bakery operations from Bukit-Timah Plaza to a new bakery plant constructed at Pandan-Loop, Singapore and begin the wholesale distribution of Gardenia Uncle Slocum Loaf bread to supermarkets, convenience stores and food retail shops throughout Singapore.

In 1983 Tze-Fatt incorporated Gardenia International Pte Ltd to develop the Gardenia Brand and Bakery Franchise throughout S.E. Asia. In that same year Olive Investment Pte Ltd was incorporated and a joint venture formed with QAF Holdings (S) Pte Ltd for the corporate business management of Gardenia Foods (S) Pte Ltd.

In 1984 Tze-Fatt sold his remaining shares in Gardenia Foods Pte Ltd (S) to QAF (S) Pte Ltd. In that same year Gardenia International Pte Ltd (S) incorporated ts subsidiary Gardenia Foods (M) Sdn Bhd to develop the Gardenia Brand for the West Malaysia market.

In 1990 certain Gardenia franchise territories and bakery operations including Gardenia Foods Sdn Bhd bakery franchise for West Malaysia were delineated and “devolved” to QAF (S) PLC while Tze-Fatt’s Tong Hing Holdings Pty Ltd maintained ownership of the Gardenia Brand & Bakeries in East Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

In 2004 Tze-Fatt’s Tong-Hing Holdings and its subsidiary Gardenia Food Industries Sdn Bhd was acquired by the JWPK Holdings group of companies.

From its early beginnings in Kota-Kinabalu Sabah, Malaysia and Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam; Gardenia Brand’s franchised bakeries are now represented throughout South East Asia and the Far East. The Gardenia franchisees are enjoined in a common heritage committed to quality baking and in keeping the finest Gardenia original recipe and employing the best marketing practices for the distribution of Gardenia Brand continental sandwich & variety breads.