A life-changing decision to study cooking brought about a career in some of Australia’s top kitchens for this pasty chef who is ‘not a sweets person’.

Iwasn’t book smart, I was really rebellious and wasn’t the kind of person that would go to school and finish my exams,” says pastry chef Amanda Yong. Despite having no burning ambition to become a chef, Yong bowed to her parents’ wishes and, at 17, started studying at the At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy in Singapore where she was living at the time.

“I’d always liked cooking and my parents wanted me to have a diploma in something – anything really,” she says. “I just thought I’d go along with it, see how it was, but it changed my life. I met a lot of people and I grew and I found something I really enjoyed. And, as I continue this journey, I just get more and more interested and passionate about pastry.”

Yong went on to work at Perth restaurant­s Rockpool, Wildflower and Measure dessert bar before opening her own place, Callover Cafe, in William Street in 2018. Ironically, she claims that she is “not a sweets person”. “When I go to a restaurant, I’ll get whoever I’m with to order dessert and I’ll try a bit because I want to know how it’s made.”

So, what is it that she likes about making desserts? “It’s the small details and the way you can transform ingredient­s. You can compress it or add liquid nitrogen or whatever and every time it may turn out differentl­y. You can do it every day and do it exactly the same, but there is one day when it doesn’t turn out right and that’s so frustratin­g. But at the same time, I like to figure out why. I think that’s because my personalit­y is very logical.

Future plans include opening a new dessert bar within the next few months.

“I’m thinking about more wholesome desserts that are very dainty, very light ... things that you just want to keep on eating. I just want to do something on my own, and hey, you only live once, right?”

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