A leading pastry chef points out Singapore’s sweet spots
Awarded as Asia’s Best Pastry Chef for the second time in a row, Chef Janice Wong reigns in the world of desserts from the rich culinary hub of Singapore. The imaginative, inventive chef has worked at restaurants Alinea and Per Se, and apprenticed with luminaries Thomas Keller and Grant Chatz, Oriol Balaguer and Pierre Herme prior to opening 2am:dessertbar, a haven of masterfully created edibles. Her brainchild has also extended with catering venue 2am:experience, as well as the non-profit 2am:lab, designed to serve and equip aspiring chefs. Here, we get to know a little more about chef Janice and her sweetly carved path to dessert making, while picking her mind about the Singapore she calls home.
K: What ultimately made you decide to go into desserts?
J: It was during my studies in Australia that I ventured into many farm trips, and realized I wanted to change my career and pursue my true passion. I have a very sweet tooth and simply cannot live without desserts, so I embarked on my pastry and desserts journey, eventually starting 2am:dessert bar in 2007 with a focus on creating sophisticated well-balanced desserts.
K: What’s keeping you busy these days?
J: I have recently launched a new savory menu at 2am:dessertbar. Currently, I am preparing for my new sweets shop, which will further add to the desserts scene here in Singapore.
K: What’s a perfect day in Singapore like for you?
J: My perfect day in Singapore would be to start with yoga before enjoying my work creating desserts, indulging in painting, and finally unwinding at home with a gin and tonic amidst the sound of crickets at night.
Chef Janice’s Picks
- I like hawkers and food centers for their variety of local street food. My favorite one is Hong Lim Market & Food Centre. I love the Chicken Curry Noodles at Heng Kee Curry Chicken Noodle – it is a childhood favorite.
- For breakfast, my favorite spot would be Ghim Moh Hawker Centre for Singapore-style steamed radish cake and fried carrot cake.
- Haji Lane and Arab Street are good places to explore with a plethora of quirky little shops and cafes. They are great for both locals and tourists alike, offering unique clothing and souvenirs to take home.
- Don’t leave without visiting the ‘green spots’ in Singapore. Soak in the sun and explore the lush spaces at spots like Portsdown Road, Dempsey Road and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
- I like enjoying afternoon tea with friends at my bar, 2am:dessertbar, since I am there most of the time. We usually opt for the afternoon tea set comprising of both sweet and savory nibbles. An option with champagne is also available.
- I would recommend bringing home a taste of Singapore by getting kaya (a local coconut and egg custard) and bak kwa (thin slices of sweet barbequed pork) at the airport.