Thursday, 12 March 2015

A chat with Bernard Chu and Yen Yee @ T By LuxBite

Gastrology bloggers visited T by LuxBite courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
More than just an ordinary retail cake store, LuxBite is a fun, interactive workshop where people can go to embrace and indulge in the sweeter things in life. LuxBite founders and flavour-makers Bernard Chu and Yen Yee employ their artistic ingenuity to craft a diverse range of desserts that push the boundaries with great success.
Over the years, each of our visits to LuxBite have been greated with macarons that are assembled with care and attention; the immense pride with which LuxBite produces its macarons is evident from not only the appearance of each macaron but also in texture and taste. Luxbite’s exhibit a clear passion, patience and most importantly, precision.  
Bernard and Yen have recently opened up a new concept in the CBD, T By Luxbite. We chat to them about how having a Malaysian background has influenced their work in the kitchen, what makes them tick and their new venture T By Luxbite.
How has your Malaysian background influenced you?

Our philosophy has always been to incorporate French techniques with South East Asian flavours.
Growing up in Malaysia (Asia’s cultural melting pot) has meant being exposed to many different interesting flavours. It is these flavours that evoke our childhood memories and the very flavours we seek to share with our customers. An example of this is our kaya toast macaron which features the classic Malaysian kaya (Malaysian coconut egg jam).
Do you use a lot of Malaysian/ Asian ingredients?

We push the boundaries and want Melbournians to know there is more to Asian dessert flavours than black sesame and green tea! We were on the forefront with Yuzu years ago (which is now common place in Melbourne). Other flavours we have brought to the front include bamboo charcoal which again is becoming more common place. While of course, the flavours do not have to be of Asian origin or inspired by Asian ingredients to get our creative juices flowing, we certainly love incorporating these. Sometimes, it even goes beyond flavour it’s a cultural/ way of life thing like our scrumptious Emoji and Kuma tarts - Cute desserts, which are very Japanese/Asian inspired.
What is your process of creating a new dessert?

The concept comes first and then the look and then the flavour. Inspiration comes from everywhere. From our dessert chefs to our natural surrounds. The next step then is to make an idea which seems impossible, possible. This includes consulting each other and creating. For example, we had an apple tart with autumn leaves, inspired by the leaves we would see falling down during the autumn.

How often would a new dessert come on the scene at LuxBite or T By Luxbite?

It’s hard to say but probably around 5-6 weeks per recipe/product as it really is a process filled with trial and error. It also depends on the holiday seasons and celebrations. It is pertinent to be organised. For example, Mothers Day recipes are already under way and Chinese New Year dessert recipes had to be finalised back in Christmas. That’s how we stay on top of things so the new dessert creations are also influenced by the seasons and celebrations.

What is your favourite Malaysian ingredient?

We love using pandan, coconut, kaya as well as Kopiko and Ribena (not quite Malaysian but definitely something Malaysian kids and ourselves grew up with!).
Your sweet temptations include the extraordinarily famous “Lolly Bag Cake” as seen on Master Chef Australia, made from seven layers of succulent flavours, including banana lolly jaconde, freckles crunch, mandarin jaffa ganache, musk mallow, more banana lolly jaconde, spearmint leaf buttercream and is topped with a redskins glaze. It was one of the craziest desserts Australia has seen! What other crazy desserts have you been making?

We've had some really interesting creations over the years including recently, Chinese New Year inspired creations such as our Bakkwa (i.e. 肉干) macaron as well as Gai Chai Peng (i.e. 鸡仔餅 also known as Little Chicken biscuit) macaron.

Have any Malaysian influencers inspired you? Any non-Malaysian influencers?

In terms of Malaysian influencers, Cheong Liew comes to mind. One of South Australia's most well-known chefs, Cheong Liew leverages from his Malaysian background to utilise an amalgamation of Malay, Indian, Chinese and English cultures and cuisines in his cooking.

In terms of non-Malaysian influencers there are many. Various people from the industry as well as European legends such as Pierre Herme have influenced our methods. We also love to read and share our thoughts, ideas and recipes with others in the industy which in turn inspires us.
What is T By Luxbite?

T stands for tarts. It is Luxbite’s new confectionery concept: a store dedicated entirely to the wonder that is the tart.

How does T By Luxbite fit into the Luxbite concept in South Yarra?

Luxbite isn't just one thing. We are a concept, a collaborator and truth be told, a little bit crazy. Starting with our South Yarra café and patisserie, the LuxBite concept has expanded to include dessert festivals and product collaborations with brands like Wondersnack, Mörk Chocolate and N2 extreme gelato. T By LuxBite is the latest piece of the puzzle to join our family, a city-based traiteur where you can pick up tarts, macarons and other take home treats in a snap. So look out for future concepts by Luxbite.
Hottest tart flavour which is available in store at T By Luxbite at the moment?

We love our Kalamansi tart which is made from jackfruit, longan, chilli salt, kalamansi curd, meringue, kaffir lime and serbet. This was inspired by our travels to Thailand.

Any exciting events we should be keeping our eyes peeled for?

We’ve got Sugar Hit coming up in April. Details will be available soon but keep yourself posted on and We love collaborations as it is an opportunity to create something new and exciting with others as passionate as we are. And when we say “collaboration”, we mean it! You’re always going to be trying a never seen before new dessert from us at these collaboration events, including Sugar Hit.
T By LuxBite’s range of tarts and macarons is truly amazing. The macarons on offer range from the more classic flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut, to modern twists such as Heilala Vanilla Crème Brulee and Bamboo Oolong Tea but it doesn’t stop there. LuxBite push things to the next level with flavour sensations such as Ribena Lemonade and Kaya Toast.

We also spotted one of our favourite LuxBite creations in store, the Endless Love Macaron Cake which is inspired by Pierre Herme’s Ispahan. A dessert which features lychee ganache, rose cream, lychee, fresh raspberries, rose & lychee macarons it is a must-have. The combination of perfectly soft yet chewy rose and lychee shells, the decadent lychee ganache and rose cream filling is a marriage made in heaven;  truly superlative in every sense.
From left: Mango gelato tartBrulee gelato tart 

We couldn't resist devouring these 2 "Bye bye summer time tarts" before we left. A collaboration with N2, these tarts incorporate N2's luxurious nitrogen gelato. The Brulee gelato tart boasted a beautiful passionfruit caramel, whipped passionfruit curd, toasted coconut and N2 pandan gelato and topped with sugar crackling. We loved the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness in the tart. The Mango gelato tart on the other hand was a refreshing creation of whipped lemon curd, chewy coconut jelly, N2 mango gelato and was finished with coconut and sesame crumble. YUM!
It was an absolute pleasure to hear from these passionate creators. T By LuxBite is an exciting addition to Melbourne's CBD with speciality tarts and macarons that push the boundaries in the most miraculous manner. The flavour combinations are interesting, complex but most importantly they work.

Location: 517 Flinders Lane  Melbourne
Phone: 03 9629 9662
Cuisine: Desserts

T By LuxBite on Urbanspoon

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