Wong Yuan Jiunn, John (Chef John), Pastry Chef of Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
KUALA LUMPUR, AUGUST 2015 – With a formal education background in computer studies and IT, it is not surprising that Chef John’s career and repertoire in the industry was built on great passion and sheer determination. Inspired by his manager at his first desk job who was starting up his own business based on his personal interest, John then decided to make a career out of his hobby – baking and cooking.
Having a penchant for culinary arts ever since he was a boy, Chef John had always been actively pursuing this passion of his in his spare time. Taking it to the next level, he then obtained a professional certificate in the trade from The Chef Professional Baking House in March 2006 and started out as a Pastry Commis at an international chain hotel in Kuala Lumpur in the same year. His career then took flight as he moved on to become Pastry Chef De Partie and then Pastry Junior Sous Chef at other esteemed establishments where he mastered the trade before he joined Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur as its head Pastry Chef in March 2015.
“It is surprising how far I have come since my IT days. I owe it all to great mentors who have selflessly taught me tips and trick of the trade and have been graciously giving me opportunities to progress,” enthused the Kuala Lumpur born lad currently leading a team of 10 at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
John’s buoyant journey throughout the pastry scene has also established him as a force to be reckoned with in the industry as his work has always gained recognition from highly regarded bodies during numerous esteemed international events such as the 4th Chocolate Cake and Showpieces Competition in 2010, the International Association of Gastronomy for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs 2013 event, and the Food and Hotel Malaysia (FHM) Culinary Challenge 2013 in the Platted Dessert category for outstanding participation to name a few.
With forward thinking and a fun-loving creative side, John has artfully added modern twists to traditional recipes, bringing out bolder and more sophisticated versions of the dessert and inherently making them his very own signature.
All for rich flavours and refined textures, one may find John’s favourite dessert recipes contain these ingredients – chocolates, cheese or nuts. “Chocolate is my all-time favourites while cheese is the magic ingredient creating the smooth and creamy texture. I always believe that taste sensations have all the power of triggering memories, and theses distinct flavours are best at bringing back fond memories,” explained John.
Armed with the delicate art of French pastries and desserts, Chef John brings a variety of sinful sweet treats to the table. “Everybody likes sweet things, a chef is only as good as his last plate of the day, and when you see your last customer love your food, it’s all worth it. That’s what we do this for, we want to make people happy and feel good,” exclaimed John as he shared his passion.
“You have to be innovative and willing to continue learning even after you’re developed as a pastry chef,” he continued. “Nowadays, a lot of people get to where they are and become comfortable with what they’re doing without learning new things. In order for a pastry chef to achieve success, they have to modernise the classical items. It will always be about the cutting-edge stuff,” he concluded as he emphasised the importance for keeping up with times and technological advancement, even in the culinary scene.