Blog

26
September

Nicholas Ang – Artist of the Year – Asia

chef_nicholas_bigNicholas Ang
The White Ombre
206 Toa Payoh North #01-1209
Singapore, Singapore, 310206, Singapore
www.thewhiteombre.com
www.facebook.com/thewhiteombre
@thewhiteombre

How long have you been a cake artist or sugar artist? Since 2008, About 9 Years

Bio: I first picked up baking when I was studying at the University Of New South Wales in Sydney in 2003. Back then, it wasn’t popular for homes in Singapore to have ovens, so when I realized that my rented apartment had an oven, I didn’t know what to do with it. After serving as an extra cabinet for a semester, I decided to clean it out during the holidays to try baking something to bring to a friend’s house party. My first cake was a New York cheesecake following a recipe from the Internet and with a $20 hand mixer from the supermarket. It didn’t take long before I was the go-to-guy for all sorts of cakes and pastries amongst my friends. In my free time I was baking and experimenting in my small apartment. To earn extra pocket money, I started selling cakes to friends and even to one of the cafes down the road.

After graduating in digital media and working a couple of years in Singapore as a graphic designer, I realized that my true passion was in baking, and while it was a scary decision, I decided to drop everything and signed up at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Canada, graduating a year later with a diploma in patisserie, and also clinched the coveted top prize in a Christmas gingerbread house competition, beating renowned hotels, patisseries and other well-known culinary school teams on my own, despite not having any experience with gingerbread houses or even fondant at the time. The cherry on the cake was being specially requested by Canada’s then Prime Minister Stephen Harper to build a gingerbread house for him!

Back in Singapore, I started working for other cake shops to gain experience and learn the ropes. Le Cordon Bleu was a good school but they didn’t teach much about cake decorating. All of that was self-taught through trial and error. Together with my wife Tricia, we led the chef team at Cake Over Heels for three years prior to setting up The White Ombré together in 2014. Our creations have been featured numerous times in local and international magazines and newspapers, and our edible works of art have graced the tables of celebrities and countless guests.

In 2012, I placed third in the 3-D cakes category in Threadcakes annual competition. At The Food and Hotel Asia 2014 Expo I won a Silver medal in the Freestyle Wedding Cakes category and a Gold medal in the 2-hour Dress The Cake competition.

Many cake decorators have their specialty, whether it’s sugar flowers, piping, sculpting, etc., but I don’t. In all these years, I believe I’ve done them all, from old-fashioned royal icing piping, isomalt and chocolate sculptures, to the latest wafer paper flowers and gravity-defying cakes. If there’s something I’ve never tried before, I will always try to find an opportunity to give it a go. I am not only well versed in cake decorating, I am also a seasoned pastry chef. My signature Earl Grey Strawberry Shortcake has been listed as one of the Top 5 in Singapore. At The White Ombre, we do all sorts of customized orders, from dainty character macaroons to cookies, cake pops, elaborate dessert table settings, and mega corporate projects costing thousands of dollars. I also regularly conduct baking and decorating classes at my studio in Singapore as well as overseas and love nothing more than meeting and sharing knowledge with fellow decorators.

Have you developed or created any special techniques or methods? I recently developed a technique to transfer edible printed images and text straight onto fondant or other surfaces even if the surface is curved: http://cakesdecor.com/entries/3549-transfer-printed-images-directly-onto-fondant-and-other-surfaces.

How do you deal with people who copy your original ideas? I believe that a good chef is someone who constantly innovates. I’m not particularly concerned with imitators as I will always be a step ahead of them.

 

  • Commissioned by the Lee Kong Chian School Of Medicine. This order was only finalized about a week prior and we had to do all the field work (photography, site measurements, planning etc) within a very short time frame. The actual cake was baked and assembled in the last 3 days and makes creative use of edible icing images to capture some details of the colonial architecture. The entire cake is free standing with no interior supports.
  • Warrior Elf cake. This was one of my favorite projects from the past year and was made for a popular local radio DJ’s birthday since he loves all things fantasy. The idea stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend several weeks before about how boys don’t have barbie doll cakes.

 

What else would you like to share with us? Thank you for having a category to highlight Asian talents. I believe we have a lot of talented decorators and chefs in this part of the world that do not get as much recognition as our American and European counterparts.

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