The Story Of Joey Gan, founder of GSH Conserves
This week, we spoke to Joey Gan of GSH Conserves to uncover the mystery behind the quirky brand name, why he gave up climbing trees for a living to 'jam' instead and his most valuable startup lesson to date.

How about a little introduction of yourself and tell us what you do ?
I am the founder of GSH Conserves , and I am a jam maker. Through my locally made jams, I want to show people that it is possible to be have well-made jam from fruits that grow in our region. Through this I would like to elevate the status of Singapore-made food and to increase people's knowledge and respect for how food gets onto our plates.

We hear you climb trees for a living before GSH Conserves, what's that about ?
That's the romantic version of the story! I was working in the National Parks Board, looking after Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I do get to climb trees for research purposes at times, but most of my time is spent carrying out operational and administrative duties.

So why crafted jams ?
Jams offer a way for us to celebrate the greatness of fruits and produce. The jam we make uses only fruits that grow in our region and we source supplies as close to Singapore as possible. This is intentional as I believe that eating local when possible is better for the earth as it incurs less food miles and is better for local and regional economies as well.

What exactly does GSH stand for ?
These are the initials of my dialect name, Gan Soon Hock. Many of you can relate to 'soon hock' or 'marbled goby' as the local fish we eat during wedding dinners.

You have very interesting choice of flavours and fruits in your crafted jams, how do you come up with such recipes ?
My wife Priscilla and I usually research online and combine what we have gathered with experiments in the kitchen. Sometimes we get crazy ideas and the next thing you know, we're trying out recipes to see if it works. She is my source of culinary creativity and has been influential in my interest in food and cooking.

Favourite place in Singapore for inspiration ?
Anywhere with good coffee! And the nature reserves! Both are my places of choice where I go to recharge and to plan ahead.


Starting out in Singapore definitely isn't as easy as it seems, what's the most valuable lesson you have learnt to date ?
It is not always possible to be prepared for everything and I have learnt that it is important to be flexible enough to deal with unexpected situations. Having good contacts who are also local business people also helps as these folks have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. 


What do you do on your free time now (apart from 'jamming') ?
I try to get out to exercise and bring Lucy the dog out to play ball. I enjoy a good beer or two(or three!) with my good mates as well.

[Photo credits : GSH Conserves, Studio Ensemble, Tyrwhitt General Company]
February 05, 2014 — The General Co
Tags: The Story Of