IT has always been the dream of 28-year-old pastry chef Chrystal Wong to operate her own business. So in 2008 she decided to take a huge risk by opening a small home-based bakery called Patisserie Extraordinaire in Edgewater, Portmore. This risk paid off as she not only supplies gourmet cakes, pastries and desserts to corporate and celebrity clientele, but her Lychee cheesecakes are now a staple on the dessert menus of Loshusan and John R Wong supermarkets. Though her focus has now shifted to themed sculpted cakes, her favourite gourmet desserts are her cheesecakes with fresh fruit toppings. "I prefer using fresh fruit toppings rather than an icing design on the finished product. Not only is it a healthier option, but I also believe it gives a more unique finish," she explained. She went on to explain: "Though I have a vast variety of dessert options, my mango cheesecakes rank amongst the most frequently ordered desserts by my clientele."
Wong credits her love for the culinary arts to her mother Joy, whom she has watched cooking for as long as she can remember. "I have always loved being in the kitchen and I used to bake with my mother. I also have two cousins — who are both successful pastry chefs — who have been my inspiration to continue to pursue my love for the culinary arts," she proudly stated. With this goal in mind, she made the decision to take the first step in making her dream a reality, by completing a four-year joint degree programme in Culinary Management at the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology as well as a pastry course at L'Epicurienne in Toulouse, France. While in France, she took the opportunity to utilise her newly acquired French pastry training at the Grand Hotel L'Opéra where she baked for a few months.
The future seems bright for the young entrepreneur who makes it her duty to challenge herself daily by making each creation unique and better than the last time she baked it. It is also a part of her five-year plan to expand her business by opening a pastry shop so that more orders can be facilitated and customers will not have to have all desserts done to order. "I believe my creations stand out because my designs are always unique and made with love. I also incorporate fresh ingredients — fruits that are in season tend to be the main ingredients in my fruit carvings or cakes/ pastries with fruit toppings" she said.
Currently pastry chef Chrystal Wong, takes orders via email or telephone calls only and delivers orders to clients.
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