Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The fabulous baker boys

Alex Lim (left) and Kenny Peck with a cake made especially for R.AGE, the youth section of 'The Star'. - Photos CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

Alex Lim (left) and Kenny Peck with a cake made especially for R.AGE, the youth section of 'The Star'. - Photos CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

Alex Lim and Kenny Peck can create everything from the classy to the wacky at their patisserie, Forêt Blanc.

YOU DON’T have to fly all the way to Paris to satisfy your sophisticated sweet tooth anymore – Alex Lim, 23, and Kenny Peck, 25, have made it possible for you to savour some decadent French desserts right here in Malaysia.

About nine months ago, the duo launched Forêt Blanc, a patisserie in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, and business has been booming. It has been both a blessing and a curse for the entrepreneurial bakers, because the two of them do all the work.

“It’s a real struggle when there are many orders to process in one go,” said Lim.

“We’ve had to sacrifice all our free time,” added Peck. “We work weekends and sometimes up until 4-5am. There are even times when we don’t sleep at all.”

The lack of extra hands is not the only reason the boys are overworked. Peck spends most of his days working as a full-time auditor at Ernst and Young.

“I’m actually very passionate about design,” he confessed. “But my parents felt like there was no future in the art industry, so they insisted I pursue something more conventional. Hence, accounting.”

It wasn’t until he met Lim did he realise he could combine his love for pastries with his love for structural designs.

Lim, on the other hand, has a degree in culinary arts. After doing various internships, he realised that working under another chef in a large prestigious kitchen would not be nearly as fulfilling as building a name for himself on his own.

“When you’re working in a hotel, you have fewer responsibilities. It’s not like being your own boss. Everything is there for you, so working life is much easier,” he surmised.

“But when you’re working for other people and you’re not well paid, you feel the pain because you’ve had to work through many long hours. It’s actually quite difficult to build a name for yourself in the hotel industry.”

The bakers at work.

Forêt Blanc (which is French for “white forest”, a combination of both their Chinese surnames) specialises in entremets – delicate and elegant desserts that are meant to suit any occasion while being aesthetically pleasing.

To compliment his selection of entremets, the patisserie also makes macarons. What the masses probably find most appealing, however, are the beautifully decorated cakes with crazy sculptures and figurines.

Although their desserts may come across as a little pricey to most people, Lim says it’s because of the amount of effort and detail put into their creations.

Three cake designs by the Foret Blanc duo.

“As you can see (from the pictures), I try my best to be very neat with the construction of my desserts, so people can see they’re not paying for the glitz and glam of the brand, but for the craftsmanship.”

Their clientele ranges from close friends with one-off orders to popular cafes and dining establishments. According to Peck, all their publicity has been purely from word-of-mouth.

“When we started our business, we were trying to find suppliers for things like our cake boxes and other stuff and coincidentally, some of the suppliers knew of companies who were looking for our kind of products.

“We are actually quite blessed in the sense that they (the customers) found us – we didn’t have to go knocking on doors.”

Tags / Keywords: Youth , foret blanc , alex lim , get personal , kenny peck


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