SINGAPORE (Dec 27):  In the course of the year, we brought you stories of inspiring individuals who are doing things their way. We recap five of them.

Sweet success
Famed for her whimsical confectionery and desserts, pastry chef Janice Wong is also an artist, an entrepreneur and the face of her fastgrowing empire of all things edible. Soft-spoken yet eloquent, the 35-year-old chef-owner of 2am:dessertbar clearly has no trouble holding her own in the male-dominated culinary world, with numerous awards to show for it. Her talent is not limited to sweets, either. Each of Wong’s intricately crafted, multi-coloured bites such as crispy-skinned Chilli Crab Radish Puff topped with a dollop of glistening caviar and Chicken Chilli Oil Dumplings laced with viola petals and purple potato chips represent her interpretation of a conventional dim sum dish.

Chef with a mission
Massimo Bottura became the world’s best chef by playfully reimagining Italian food. His restaurant Osteria Francescana has twice topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and garnered three Michelin stars. As he takes his creative cuisine to new shores, he is also firing up a global effort to tackle food waste and build more inclusive communities. Appalled by the fact that about a third, or 1.3 billion tonnes, of food is wasted each year, Bottura teamed up with Italian NGO Caritas Ambrosiana during Expo 2015 in Milan to turn unused food ingredients from the expo’s stands into meals.

Breaking barriers
When staring down the barrel of a 50th birthday, most people start planning a big party or embark on a bucket list trip. Singapore expatriate Munir Nanji opted for a personal challenge instead. The managing director for multinational business Asia-Pacific at Citibank Singapore signed up for a 250km multi-day race in New Zealand and in lieu of presents, canvassed friends and family to donate money to a charity in Kenya, his birthplace. “I wanted to push myself to do something different and I wanted to give back,” says Nanji, who had never run long distance before, not even a 10km race.

Time to act
Rolex’s Perpetual Planet campaign draws businesses, scientists, governments and communities together to bring about positive change. Underwater photographer and Rolex Testimonee David Doubilet is doing that one picture at a time. The 73-year-old believes that photography has the power to educate, honour, humiliate, illuminate and influence change. Exploring the world’s waters, he has photographed in the depths of the southwest Pacific, New Zealand and Scotland, as well as freshwater ecosystems such as Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Canada’s St Lawrence River. His photographs feature stingrays, sponges and sleeping sharks in the Caribbean, as well as shipwrecks at Pearl Harbor.

A path less trodden
What started out as Nana Au-Chua’s personal initiative has led her to spearhead Singapore’s largest used-shoe collection drive on behalf of US non-profit organisation Soles4Souls. A prominent face in Singapore’s social scene, her interest was instantly piqued when she first learnt that Soles4Souls was collecting new and gently-used shoes to fund its organisation’s micro-enterprise programme, which provides a constant supply of donated footwear to small retail business owners in developing nations. It was not long before she found herself emailing Soles4Souls’ CEO, Buddy Teaster, to find out how she could personally contribute.