As head pastry chef at Baker & Cook, Nicholas counts himself lucky to have been given many opportunities (see next page for his trip to San Francisco, US, to learn to bake bread). The Malaysia-born initially came over to Singapore to enroll in an arts school, but decided to take up the culinary arts instead. Since young, Nicholas has had a fondness for cream cakes and sausage rolls, and continues enjoying churning out sweet treats at Baker & Cook.
What’s the most challenging part about your job?
When I joined Baker & Cook three years back, I came from a hotel background where we used to buy our tart shells. So, when I started at B&C, even simple things like shaping tart shells and icing cakes were a challenge to me! It was then I realised how important the basics are when it comes to pastry-making.
What’s the best piece of advice Dean has given you?
As a leader, I’m very soft, and sometimes people take this for granted. I remember during a talk I had with Dean once, he actually sat me down and drew a sailing boat on the whiteboard in his office with a marker pen. He reminded me that I’m the guy who stands in the middle of the ship and directs the sailors on the direction to go. He taught me to be an assertive leader and to believe in myself.
Your favourite pastry on the menu at Baker & Cook?
Raspberry tart. I like tangy things. The tart shell has a good texture, and some crunch. The frangipane almond filling is a little sweet, and the crust is nice and buttery. It’s a winning combination.