Chef Chat, Part 1: Candace Chang of Dolce Delights On Learning Pastry in Hong Kong
This is the first of a two-part chef chat series. Part 2 will run in this same space on Friday.
When you drive by Dolce Delights in The Mix Midtown complex, the storefront belies what awaits you inside. With soaring high ceilings, a well-appointed, modern space with design-driven furniture and shiny, washed concrete floors, Dolce Delights holds a glowing pastry shelf of jewel-colored dessert creations so tempting, you'll be hard-pressed to stop at ordering just one.
We sat down with pastry chef and owner Candace Chang to talk about her road to becoming a pastry chef and owner of her own shop in just two years.
EOW: Tell me a bit about yourself.
CC: Well, I was born in the U.S. I moved to Hong Kong when I was young, stayed there until high school, then went to school in New Jersey. I went to college at Baylor for fashion merchandising. So after I left Baylor, I took a few jobs but it wasn't exactly what I imagined; it wasn't something I could imagine doing for the rest of my life. So I was a little lost, kind of didn't know what to do, and my parents encouraged me, and said, "Why don't you do something you enjoy right; you're young, you don't have a lot of baggage, so go ahead and do something you like." And I've always loved cooking, always loved cooking -- love to eat, love to travel.
EOW: Did you get this love from Hong Kong? Because Hong Kong-ese eat well.
CC: Yeah, we're spoiled. We like our food. My parents love to travel, so we just try everything.
EOW: When you say your parents travel, tell me some of the places they've taken you foodwise.
CC: Well, of course, we go around Asia a lot: Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam. The craziest place I've been, to me, is Kenya, Africa. I was 12 years old, and my parents took us to Kenya for Chinese New Year. We tried weird food over there, like ostrich.
EOW: What's ostrich like, do you remember?
CC: A little gamey. It was just a piece of meat. But they had this plantain or potato-type side dish that I enjoyed.
EOW: Did your parents travel for pleasure or work?
CC: For pleasure. In Hong Kong, the school schedule is different. You have shorter summer vacation, but you have more small holidays throughout the year -- two weeks for Chinese New Year, two weeks for Easter, two weeks for Christmas -- so whenever we have holidays, we'd travel around the area. This was when we were younger. We moved to the U.S. when I was in high school, so we traveled less then.