S UG AR RU SH

甜蜜轰 炸

Jet Asia Pacific - - Jetfeast - Text by Joyce Yip

Chef Janice Wong has mid-length hair hastily tied into a ponytail; plumped, naturally rosy cheeks that still retained a bit of baby fat; petite, she is soft-spoken and polite yet stern. But, no mistake, she is the Janice Wong – the mastermind behind 2am:dessertbar and its team of 40 chefs in Singapore (most of them burly men) and one of the few pioneers in the region to marry food with art in colossal installations such as a Ferrari sculpture, a four-metre chocolate wall for Fendi, a replica of the New York skyline in chocolate for Tiffany & Co., a collection of 29 art pieces across 27 metres for the Singapore Affordable Art Fair; and for her own cookbook launch in 2011, an edifice of isomalt coral, lychee gelée wall hangings, an intricate bread chandelier as well as a ceiling of nori-marshmallow stalactites.

With a profound portfolio and equally extraordinary clients under her belt, Wong takes a major leap out of her comfort zone in Holland Village and into a full-service restaurant in Hong Kong (opened mid-march) and an eponymous dessertbar in Tokyo (set for April); but for the young chef, it still drills down to the basics of toying with the right ingredients.

“Desserts have ages: I want people to come back and eat it; so the long-term gain always comes from ingredients and flavour because that’s what the memory remembers the most, then comes texture, temperature and, last, the aesthetics,” she said. “It really is a blank canvas every day.”

A graduate from the kitchens of Thomas Keller, Grant Archatz, chocolatier Oriol Balaguer and French pastry chef Pierre

大厨黄慧娴将中等长度的头发扎成一个蓬松的马尾辫,自然红润的脸颊还保留了一点点婴儿肥,她的个子小,说话轻声细语、有礼貌却很有威严。没错,她就是大名鼎鼎的Janice Wong,2am:dessertbar的幕后创作人,也是其在新加坡的40人厨师团队(大部分是身材魁梧的男子汉)的老板,更是将食物与大型艺术装置融合的区内少数先驱者之一。她的代表作品包括法拉利雕塑、为芬迪制作的一幅四米高的巧克力墙、用巧克力为蒂芙尼公司复制出纽约的天际线、为新加坡买得起艺博会制作的长达27米的29件艺术品、以及2011年为宣传她推出的食谱而制作的麦芽糖珊瑚群、荔枝果冻墙壁挂饰、一盞精致的面包吊灯、以及紫菜棉花糖钟乳石天花板。

凭借她的辉煌履历,以及同样来头不少的客户,黄慧娴毅然离开她熟悉的新加坡荷兰村,在香港开设一家提供全方位服务的餐厅(三月中旬开业),以及在东京开设同名的甜点吧(定于四月开业)。但这位年轻的厨师仍在努力钻研使用正确的食材进行创新的基础知识。

“甜品已经有很长的历史:我希望吸引客人回头来吃,所以食材和味道才是长远留住客人的关键,因为味道的记忆是最长久的,其次是质地、温度,最后是美感。”她说:“每一天都是一幅新的空白画布。”

师承自美国名厨Thomas Keller及Grant Archatz、西班牙巧克力达人Oriol Balaguer、以及法国糕点名师Pierre Hermé,黄慧娴突破饮食传统,于九年前开设她的甜点吧2am:dessertbar。一如其名, 2am:dessertbar是一家让客人可以从傍晚到凌晨两点坐下来享受甜点和饮料的餐厅。这一革命性的概念,让她几乎是一夜成名。她在2013年和2014年分别获San Pellegrino Asia Top 50颁发“亚洲最佳糕点师傅”荣誉,目前每个月平均制作八个定制艺术甜点,还有无数私人晚宴的邀请,而她最新的海外项目,是她突破的唯一出路。

她说:“一切在于提升整体水平:你只可以进步,做一些跨文化的事情可以带来源源不断的新灵感。”的确,她最新的发明名单上出现的叉烧果仁跳跳糖就是最好的证明。

为延伸她制作可用来品尝、体验和欣赏的食物的理念,她在香港的第一

Hermé, Wong took a leap out of the box with 2am:dessertbar nine years ago amidst a very traditional culinary scene. This revolutionary concept of a sit-down restaurant serving desserts and drinks and opens only from late afternoon to – as the name dictates – 2 a.m. skyrocketed her almost immediately to fame. So after she was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef by the San Pellegrino Asia Top 50 in 2013 and 2014 and now averaging eight bespoke art creations each month alongside private dinner requests on the side, her latest projects overseas are, she said, her only way up.

“It’s about elevating the whole standard: you can only go up, and doing something cross culture can bring in loads of new ideas,” she said. True, considering BBQ pork praline poprocks is on her list of latest inventions.

Extending her philosophy of making food that can be tasted, experienced and appreciated, her first full-service restaurant in Hong Kong, Cobo House by 2am:dessertbar, features its own mineral-rich Okinawa sea sand rooftop garden, from which the menu’s organic herbs and edible plants are grown, as well as a designated dessertbar table to bring the sweets to life right in front of the customer. Of course, aside from her classics like Tsujirihei Green Tea Tart (a soft, emerald-coloured pastry enveloped in a crumbled shell) and the Cassis Plum (a robin egg — shaped delicacy filled with elderflower yoghurt foam, Choya Granita and yuzu pearls), she’ll also be fusing the savoury and sweet together with inventions like the aforementioned porkinspired candies as well as Tapioca Crackers (which are crispy sheets of porous grey flakes whimsically clipped on a mini-cloths rack above a saucer of anchovies foam).

The Janice Wong outlet in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on the other hand, will offer a close-up experience of dessert making and plating at the dessert bar, which will serve eight to 10 plated offerings themed around being “fun and theatrical”, such as the Chiyuki apple tart and other seasonal fruit – inspired desserts.

“The idea is to create and not recreate: it’s an idea that takes a lot of leadership with an equal amount of risk; and it’s also about sharing everything with the team and not holding anything back so they can learn and be inspired,” said Wong, who calls herself a half-artist-half-chef. “If I become a pastry chef who repeats cakes and macaroons, I’ll just be like anyone else. What’s the difference? But I am also not 100% an artist because not only is pastry the medium, but it’s also that one thing that keeps me grounded rather than getting lost in my own world.”

家全方位服务餐厅Cobo House by 2am:dessertbar设有屋顶花园,以矿物质丰富的冲绳海砂种植有机香草和食用植物,用到餐厅的菜式之中。餐厅还有特别设计的甜品吧台,客人可以坐在桌前近距离欣赏甜点师即席制作甜品。当然,除了她的招牌甜点Tsujirihei Green Tea Tart(一款流心抹茶暖挞)和Cassis Plum(外形像知更鸟蛋,里面注入满满的接骨木花酸奶泡沫、Choya梅酒冰沙和柚子珍珠)外,她还精心研制出一系列融合咸甜味道的新作品,比如之前提到的叉烧跳跳糖、以及Tapioca Crackers(配上鯷鱼泡沫的西米脆饼)。

另一方面,黄慧娴在东京都新宿区的甜品吧将提供近距离的甜点制作和伴碟体验,围绕“有趣和戏剧性”的主题,提供八至十款甜点选择,比如Chiyuki苹果馅饼,和其他以时令水果制作的甜点。

“一切在于创造,而不是重新创造。这个想法很前卫,也很冒险。这个想法也在于跟团队毫无保留地分享一切,让他们能够学习并得到启发。”自称是半个艺术家半个厨师的黄慧娴说:“如果我成为一名只是重复做蛋糕和法式杏仁饼的糕点师,我跟其他人有什么分别?但我也不是百分之百的艺术家,因为糕点不仅是我的表现工具,也是让我不会迷失方向的基石。”

Top: Yuzu-inspired dessert

Cobo House by 2am:dessert bar

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