Janice Wong’s mushroom garden is unlike any other. A playground made of coffee dirt, foie gras, mushrooms and crispy thin bread with a coffee cloud on top, it is no less than art. It’s also merely one among the award-winning pastry chef’s spectacular and delectable creations.
In the city to conduct a masterclass on desserts and launch a new flavour for Magnum, Wong’s creations are inspired by her early years. “I grew up with a lot of freedom to choose what I wanted to eat. All my creations, thus, are a result of ingredients from my memory bank,” says the Singapore-based Wong, who trained in pastry-making at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and is now known for her artistic desserts. She also won the title of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef by San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best for two consecutive years, 2013 and 2014.
This, however, isn’t Wong’s first trip to India. When she visited three years ago, she fell in love with the spices, the chaos and the energy of the country. Currently on her second trip to the country, Wong wants to take back cinnamon for use in her creations to pair it with chocolate in her dishes.
Having spent a lot of time on a farm in Australia and experiencing the freshest of produce, Wong calls herself a “curator of ingredients”. This acts as her inspiration at 2 am:dessertbar in Singapore, which she launched in 2007.
The possibilities with edible art, believes Wong, are endless. And she reiterates this through her creations. Take for instance what she prepared for the launch of her book, Perfection in Imperfection, in 2012. The launch was held at a local warehouse filled with many edible art installations made of marshmallow icicles, edible moss and sugar crystal corals and rocks.
To promote this “art form”, Wong has set up 2 am: lab, a not-for-profit venture, where chefs and artists can experiment with food. “I wanted to create a space dedicated for research with a focus on progressive desserts,” says Wong about the Tokyo-based project.