In a workplace as big as Resorts World Sentosa, you can find jobs of every kind imaginable. This week, we get our hands dirty and try our hands at being a pastry chef.
I’m no stranger to desserts – I love my New York Cheesecake and Tiramisu. For me, being a pastry chef is a natural progression if I ever decide to stop writing. Who wouldn’t want whip cream and mascarpone cheese as colleagues?
So when I was assigned to master the art of creating carrot cupcakes, under the tutelage of award-winning Chef Kenny Kong no less, I was ready to tender my resignation.
But when I heard from my shi fu for the day that his team of 12 pastry chefs and two bakers has to handle orders from almost the entire Resort, I promptly shredded my letter. The orders for cupcakes alone amount to at least 1,000 every day.
Luckily for me, I was given a simple and fuss-free recipe for the carrot cupcake, which is a new creation by Chef Kenny and a healthier take on American cupcakes. He said: “This version is healthier as we replace butter with vegetable oil, sugar with brown sugar and walnuts.”
The other pastry chefs only could look on with envy while I had the easiest tasks: pour everything into the kitchen aid, which did most, if not all the work for me. First, pour the eggs, brown sugar and grated carrot into the kitchen aid. Mix well. Next, mix all the powder (cinnamon powder, baking powder, flour) with the first batch of ingredients.
Five minutes later, pour the vegetable oil slowly as oil doesn’t blend too well with eggs. Finally, add walnuts and whisk by hand. The end product must be smooth and shiny, like a baby’s butt smeared with baby oil. For a smoother texture, allow the batter to sit for a day before baking it.
Back in the kitchen, we popped the cupcakes into the oven, cranked the heat up to 190oC and, voila, my creations were ready after 45 minutes.
Next, the finishing touch. As I squeezed the layer of cream cheese, Chef Kenny said: “Not bad. You can work part time here.” You know this is a ‘but’ story when the veteran of 30 years hurriedly swapped my babies with his own before my colleague could snap some pictures. At that instance, I swear, you could hear my heart shatter. Downtrodden, I could barely make it through the final step: the ‘carrot’, made from fondant.
The demands of the pastry team call for some of the most hardworking and creative chefs in the Resort. It’s not the most glamorous job around but Chef Kenny said: “They have the opportunity to do a lot of creative work and learning is a daily process. You will continue to learn new things up till the day you retire.” As for me, I learnt that I’m better off with pen and paper than cheese and cream.
Brown sugar, 550gm
Grated carrot, 450gm
Cinnamon powder, 5gm
Cake flour, 320gm
Baking powder, 10gm
Vegetable oil, 450gm
Dine for a cause at Fish & Crab Shack on 7 Nov. The waterfront bistro will double its dinner proceeds to charity if 120 diners show up. Book your seats here.