Janice Wong is a native Singaporean who was voted Asia’s Best Pastry Chef in 2013 and 2014 at the prestigious San Pellegrino Asia Top 50, as well as Pastry Chef of the Year in 2011, 2013 and 2015 by the World Gourmet Summit. She additionally studied economics and finance in Melbourne, Australia, and Singapore.
Impressed by Melbourne’s culinary offerings during her time studying there, Wong had a change of heart and enrolled in pastry program at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. In 2007, she opened “2am: dessertbar,” in Singapore. In November 2014, when she was back in Singapore, she launched her eponymous sweet concept, Janice Wong.
Recently, Wong shared with the Times some of her pastry ideas, as well as elements of her new restaurant called Janice Wong MGM, which will open soon in MGM Cotai. The restaurant is a modern pastry shop offering a full sweet experience in terms of cakes, eclairs, mochis, tarts, ice creams, crepes, chocolates and confectioneries, and plated desserts.
Macau Daily Times (MDT) – What attracted you to Macau?
Janice Wong (JW): I think for me was really the idea that in Macau there are a lot of new openings for hotels. They always incorporate a sweet shop inside each of these hotels, but not really focusing on all the architecture, design, fashion, everything in one place. […]
MDT – Tell us something about the Janice Wong brand.
JW – The Janice Wong brand is something very unique; you do not really experience it unless you go there. […] Marrying four disciplines, which is art, pastry, fashion and design… if you marry all of that, you will see a new Janice Wong brand, which was launched in 2014. I think this is what Macau kind of lacks in a way.
MDT – What would you like your customers to remember about Janice Wong’s food?
JW – I never focus so much on the aesthetics. It’s always the flavor or the experience, because that’s what you remember most. I think if you remember it being very pretty, but you taste it and it’s bad then the experience is very different. I think, for us, it’s very important to actually focus on both flavor and also the experience.
MDT – What are your expectations for Janice Wong MGM?
JW – I think in the beginning it’s going to be extremely crowded and great and a lot of bustle and energy, but you know the main thing is I also want that to be an inspiration for the rest of the world. This is really the first in the world; you would never see a concept store built in with an 8-meter chocolate fountain, or 7.3-meter chocolate fountain […] All in all, for me it’s really impressive to really keep moving.
MDT – You studied economics and finance in Australia. What made you turn to pastries?
JW – I think again, experiences. I think it was really the love of cooking for other people – but giving people the experience of just having a really nice dessert and wine, so it’s not just only sweets. I think when you eat it, there is a story to hear […] then it becomes like a whole new thing. […] I thought I could make a change in the world, so I wanted to inspire pastry shops, in the past, in the future, to say: ‘Oh, it’s not just about cakes and macron, it’s so much more than that.’
MDT – Why did you choose MGM?
JW – I think the vision has a lot of good synergy. MGM has always been a very forward thinker. You can see when it opens with the new design everything is going to be digital. It’s just a beautiful space, it hasn’t got a lot of stuff going on, like in other places. It’s quite minimalist, and we are very forward thinking, so the synergy has to be right to have a similar experience. I think the space they have designed for the Janice Wong brand is just breathtaking, really, really beautiful. […] You can’t have that experience anywhere, even the Singapore market is not really ready for that yet.