Food Stories

Pastries and purpose with Shawn Pang

Pastries and purpose with Shawn Pang

We recently had the pleasure of sharing our handmade ceramic dinnerware with pastry chef, Shawn Pang, who shared more about his baking journey with us. 

What started out as a hobby when he was 14 flourished into a lifelong passion and now career, when he enrolled himself into pastry school two years back. "I was in my late twenties when the realisation 'it’s now or never' dawned on me. Through pastry school and the various apprenticeships, I got the opportunity to work with incredibly talented chefs as well as receive mentorship and guidance from outstanding instructors and peers. I
t was honestly a very humbling experience to have started from the lowest of ranks in the kitchen, and this led to a deeper realisation of how much growth awaits!"

Image credits: A Brief Respite

Right now, I am focusing on my newly launched project — A Brief Respite, an online artisanal pastry store with a hint of lifestyle elements. I’ve always wanted my craft to mean something, so that it could go beyond just being a food offering. A Brief Respite therefore became a space where I could marry my love for pastries with a deeper sense of purpose.

 A sneak peek of A Brief Respite's Christmas bakes featured on the Satay Oval Platter and Talay Wave Rim Plate. (Image credits: @shawnpangg)

I love exploring different ways of constructing a dessert — from tweaking recipes, thinking about flavour pairings, to the final design and execution. While it can be an extremely tiring process (not to mention disappointing at times as well, as I don’t always have an eventual product to show), I get a great deal of satisfaction and sense of achievement when the final product is up to standard. It also helps that the people around me are always encouraging with their feedback or critiques.

The most challenging part of what I do is trying to balance various aspects of passion, business, and accessibility. I’d love to incorporate more fine details or elements into my desserts. However, these may be costly in terms of dollars and time spent, and I don’t want to charge exorbitant prices as I’d like my desserts to be accessible to more people. With all these considerations, it is important for me to find a “right” formula that ticks these boxes, which can be both tricky and difficult.

Plated on the versatile Lanna Free-Form Pasta Bowl is 'Noir', a Dark Chocolate Orange Timut Pepper Mousse cake that will be launched in the upcoming Christmas menu. Also a personal favourite of Shawn's. (Image credits: @shawnpangg)

I’ve to say I am particularly charmed by KRA’s Lanna collection, the dynamic bronze glaze has such a bold character, yet carries an elegance. I love the fluidity of its free-form shape, but most charming is how the glaze is able to accentuate dishes.