Pastry Chef Loh Mee Foong with her HAPA Award
Executive Chef Antoine Rodriguez tells me that she makes a "simple yet excellent creme caramel" -- I have to agree, after trying this at Latest Recipe just last week. Perfect wobbly texture.
I managed to meet up with this talented pastry chef two weeks ago and spoke to her about her culinary background, inspirations and her recent win at the HAPA Awards.
Baby Sumo (BS) : Congrats Mee Foong! How do you feel about your recent win in the HAPA Awards?
Mee Foong (MF): This is my first time participating in the HAPA awards, so I was definitely nervous. My mentor Chef Antoine thought I was ready and put my name in for the "Artistic Chef - Pastry" category. I was very surprised and delighted when my name was called out during the regional award ceremony in Singapore recently. I am grateful to receive this acknowledgement as one of Asia's top 5 pastry chefs alongside so many other talented pastry chefs. I will continue to do my best and create unique, visually expressive and tempting desserts.
BS: Have you always wanted to be a pastry chef?
MF: I trained at the prestigious Syuen Hotel & Catering Institute Malaysia Diploma in Chinese Culinary Art Program -- not in pastry arts, but in Chinese dim sum. A friend told me to reconsider a career change since dim sum masters have to be at work by 5am! I did and I've never looked back. Being a pastry chef is very rewarding.
A trio of desserts at Favola
BS: What is your favorite ingredient to work with?
MF: Chocolate as it is very versatile. You can create interesting showpieces, pralines or chocolate desserts.
BS: Do you have a signature dessert that we should try in Le Meridien KL?
MF: Yes, try the Rich hot Chocolate Cake, served with chocolate sauce and stracciatella ice-cream at Prime or warm chocolate pudding served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce at Favola.
One of her signature desserts, rich hot chocolate cake at Prime
BS: We've tried the rich hot chocolate cake during one of our visits to Prime and it's certainly good. At LMKL, what does your pastry technique / style lean towards?
MF: It varies -- I am constantly whipping up innovative creations with influences from both east and west. For Latest Recipe's desserts, I have more room to experiment and you would often find modern French desserts there.
Carrot walnut cake at Latest Recipe
BS: What's your favorite kitchen tool?
MF: I have a mini angled spatula which I use for almost everything. A lot of the pastries that I work with are very small, so this tool is the perfect size for handling pastries.
BS: Throughout your career as a pastry chef, who is the most inspiring chef you have worked with?
MF: Definitely Chef Antoine! He has been very supportive and encouraging, and has given me lots of opportunity to shine in Le Meridien KL.
Homemade blueberry yoghurt ice cream cake with blueberry coulis at Prime
Pastry Chef Mee Foong has kindly shared a recipe with me, which I am going to share with you all. This peach yoghurt cranberry cake is an eggless cake, hence is suitable for vegetarians. Will post a photo once I've attempted to make this, maybe for New Year's Eve :)
150g peach yoghurt
100g canned peaches, sliced
100g dried cranberries
220g cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, add in peach yoghurt and mix well.
2. Fold in sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, canned peaches and creanberries, mix well.
3. Pour mixture into a greased mould or cake ring, bake in preheated oven 180°C for 40 mins or until cooked.