Brewing the Juice Behind Christy’s Inspirational Food Journey

Written by Ng Ka Wai, Oh Jia En Natalie
Photography by Alfredo Ryelcius

If you love a good slice of toast, Christy does it best. Having discovered her passion in creating delectable, yummy bakes for people during the summer of 2018, Christy Chua, a third-year Communication Studies student, now heads a thriving bakery business called Toast Tribe. On top of that, she has also recently launched The Slow Press, an independent food magazine.

This concoction started from the quirky pantry pop-ups that Christy organised for her friends and neighbours while she was still staying on campus in 2018. It was fairly simple yet heartwarming, as the smell of good o’ scrambled eggs invited neighbours to indulge in the shared camaraderie between toast lovers.

To Christy, making toast for her friends is like giving someone a warm hug – it is something to be shared and appreciated. Preparing toast might sound fairly simple, but behind the scenes, a lot of thought and love goes into every slice made. Toast is simple yet versatile and enjoyable in many ways – a slice can be the fuel to start one’s day right, or a touch of gooey sweetness to return home to after a long day.

The Start of Something New: Toast Tribe’s first baby steps

After a series of on-off toast parties, Christy observed how friendships were established among a sea of strangers. She noted how serendipitous connections like these were hard to come by nowadays. Armed with a personal vision to connect strangers through her food, Christy kickstarted Toast Tribe. She believes in making one’s own food from scratch – procuring quality ingredients as well as devoting time to make batches of bread and cookies.

Toast Tribe celebrates its first anniversary with a pop-up held at Apartment Coffee. Photo credit: Christy Chua

In one year, Christy’s Toast Tribe has grown tremendously with four physical pop-up events being held and over 150 slices of toasts sold. When asked about the source of her gastronomic creations, she heartily quipped:

Inspiration can be born from anywhere; from the most random sketches to the craziest food inventions, tried and tested!

For instance, when Christy picked up the art of kombucha-making and lacto-fermentation last November, she quickly realised that fermented bakes were a big hit. Hence, she decided to take a bold risk and whip up eight boxes of lacto-fermented blueberry galettes for her November pop-up.

Some of Toast Tribe’s delectable treats were Christy’s own serendipitous creations. Photo credit: Christy Chua

The Slow Press

Along with Toast Tribe, Christy also developed a strong passion for food writing and graphic design through her own newsletter initiative, The Slow Press. The Slow Press saw its beginnings when Christy took up writing as a “quarantine project” and decided to branch into food journalism where she penned simple toast recipes and documented her food journey.

Managing a publication single-handedly is hard, as Christy found herself struggling to find the time to complete the first issue. Slowly, she started scouting for interested members from her school cohort group and circle of friends. Today, The Slow Press is a joint collaboration between writers, editors, illustrators and photographers.

The Slow Press today is a cosy team of creators with a shared passion for food. Photo credit: Christy Chua

When asked about the primary focus of The Slow Press, Christy shared with us that it is the authenticity of Singapore’s food scene that the newsletter hopes to showcase. The team wants to make food and the joys of preparation and consumption more relatable to the layman. Additionally, they hope to introduce elevated cuisines that are not commonly accessible as well as uncover unique food stories that stemmed from humble beginnings and steadfast legacies.

With a focus on long-form journalism and in-depth food reporting, the first volume that was launched in February 2021 covers a range of topics from food styling, vermicomposting, food and cultural heritage stories, as well as personal interviews with Bunkerbunker and Ah Mah’s Legacy about authentic kueh making.

Christy’s legacy in Toast Tribe and The Slow Press is indeed awe-inspiring and has encouraged some of her friends to start their own newsletters as well! From her sharing, we are equally inspired by her fearlessness to try new things and challenge boundaries to pursue what she loves – food. If anything, her passion venture can be succinctly encapsulated in the following quote which she lives by:

To be present with the food made with love.

Christy has been featured as part of our Humans of NTU series, where we spotlight NTU undergraduates and their passion projects. From environmental startups to dating services, these individuals truly bring out the diversity and innovation of the NTU spirit. Check the rest of them out on our website!