Chef Chat, Part 2: Candace Chang of Dolce Delights Makes Cakes the Way She Likes Them
This is the second of a two-part chef chat series. Read Part 1, which ran in this same space yesterday.
Two years ago, Candace Chang left the world of fashion merchandising to pursue a lifelong passion: baking. During Part 1 of our chat from yesterday, we learned that Chang took private lessons with a master pastry chef in Hong Kong instead of going to culinary school proper. Today, Chang tells us some of the trials and tribulations of being both baker and business owner.
EOW: So...baking. Most people go to work for somebody. What made you decide to open up your own space?
CC: I think because what I'm doing is so different. The cakes I'm making, they're not the same as what's out there. I don't see many shops that sell the same thing, and I wanted to do something that's more unique. I can be very stubborn when it comes to my cake. I like it the way it is, and that's the only way I'm going to do it. So, if somebody says it needs to be more sweet, or it needs more sugar, I'm going to say no.
CC: My parents helped. I call my dad the "Big Boss." He's the boss behind everything. Both my parents grew up in the restaurant business. My grandfather owned Chinese restaurants in New York, and my mom's side also. So they're both interested in the restaurant business even though they're not doing that anymore. So when I became a baker, they really wanted me to have my own shop. And they were like, "We know all the details, what you need to do to have a shop." They helped me a lot -- how to deal with vendors, how to hire, how to run the shop...
EOW: That's really great. Not that many people have that luxury. It doesn't look that big from the outside, but it's a nice-sized space.
CC: Yes, I've been very lucky. This space is a lot bigger than I was looking for originally. I was only looking for a 600-800-square-foot space in the beginning, but it was very hard to find.
EOW: How big is this space?
CC: It's about 1,300-1,400 square feet. So far, the size has been pretty good, but lately I feel like the kitchen's getting smaller and smaller...
EOW: You're still pretty hands-on, then.
CC: Yes, I try to be. In the beginning, I wasn't. I didn't have the time because I was trying to get everything organized, what with where to buy supplies and running the business. For example, I actually didn't drink coffee at the beginning, but people said, "If you have a dessert shop, you have to have coffee." So I was like, "Okay, fine." And I went to learn. I worked with my vendor and my supplier, and asked them, "Okay, what's good coffee? How is good coffee supposed to taste? How do you make an espresso? How do you make a latte?"